First Tastings – Irish Red Ale & Belgian Witbier

Ready To Drink
Ready To Drink

Last weekend I finally got to try the Irish Red Ale and Belgian Witbier I brewed right around the new year. They had been bottled for a couple of weeks and were finally nicely carbonated.

The Irish Red Ale

The Irish Red Ale was delicious. I had tried it the week before and it wasn’t quite finished carbing. This weekend it had hit it’s sweet spot.

Pros:

  • Taste – A nice malty and bready taste with a hint of sweetness
  • Body – Not heavy at all, I suspect this is due to the lower mash temp I used
  • Bitterness -Very low bitterness. I’m not a hop-head by any means, so this was great for me.
  • Carbonation – Had some nice carbonation and good head retention, but wasn’t overly bubbly

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First Brew of New House Beer, A Cream Ale/Saison Hybrid

Boiling Wort When It's -25C outside
Boiling Wort in the garage when It’s -25C outside.

I decided it was time that a couple of things needed to happen with my newish home brewing hobby. First, it was time to brew up a more standard type of beer as so far I’ve only brewed: a porter, a brown, two reds, and a witbier. Second, I wanted to come up with a house beer. Something that could become one of my ‘go-to’ beers that would almost always be in the brewing pipeline somewhere.

With those two things in mind, I came up with a recipe that would fit a standard cream ale profile, however, I tweaked it a bit to add a bit more of a malt taste profile and possibly some hints of peppery spice which is a bit more along the lines of a saison style of beer.

This is probably going to be a recipe I’ll brew and tweak several times over until I get just the right taste. So to accommodate that testing and refining process, on my brew-day last Saturday I made up a split-batch of beer.

First, The Recipe!

I’ll explain the split-batch in a moment…
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Converting a Freezer Into A Fermentation Chamber

Last night I finished converting a freezer into a fermentation chamber. The whole process was super easy and I’ve outlined it below if you’d like to build one yourself.

If you’re not familiar with what a fermentation chamber is, it’s basically an enclosed, insulated box (usually a fridge or freezer) where you can set and hold a specific temperature inside.

This is perfect for fermenting beer as the temperature it ferments at has a pretty dramatic effect on how well the beer ferments and how it will taste.

Getting The Parts for the Fermentation Chamber

The fermentation chamber only required three parts, a freezer, a heater, and a temperature controller that could turn the freezer or heater on and off as needed.

The Freezer

On Kijiji.ca I found a nice sized used freezer for sale by someone who would deliver it to our house. I bought the freezer for two days ago and they delivered it last night.

It was pretty clean when it arrived but I washed it down, the wiped it with some bleach solution just to make sure it was more or less sanitized.
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Happy Brew Year! I Started it With an Irish Red Ale

Happy New Year to everyone out there. My new year’s eve was pretty quiet, but it allowed me to wake up feeling rested and ready to brew up a batch of Irish Red Ale on new year’s day.

The day went awesome. I had a great time mashing and cooking.

I won’t get into the same step-by-step detail I did for the Belgian Wit I cooked up a few days earlier since the steps were all the same, but I will detail a few new things and some interesting things that happened.
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