Fermentation Friday – August 2008 is upon us. Bunz at The Panhandle Beer Snob and Redneck Brewery is hosting and here is the theme:
What, in the opinion of others, is the best beer you have ever made and why?
Here is Mike’s contribution:
I am a firm believer in brewing only a couple style repeatedly until you get it right. The problem for many homebrewers (myself included) is that the vast variety of malts, hops, and yeast available to us makes it hard to just pick one or two styles and spend an entire year only brewing those two beers. However, sacrifice has it rewards and this brings me to my best beer ever.
After brewing several different styles of English and American ales a few times, I was finally got tired of feeling like the beer was GOOD but not GREAT. So I decided to focus on one style only and keep it real simple. The style I chose was Ordinary Bitter. I love English Malt characters and I like the mild fruitiness of a good English yeast. Not being a hop head, this beer style seemed well balance for my tastes. Also with a low starting gravity 1.032-1.040 that keeps the ingredient list relative cheap for brewing multiple times.
Long story short, I learned a lot about hitting mash temp consistently, collecting the same wort volume, and extract potential each time. I also fine tuned the timing of primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, and keg conditioning. I had a real well-oiled machine going to Ordinary Bitter. After about 6 batches of good beer, it finally happened. I went the kegerator to draw off a pint of a new keg…batch 7. It was bready, biscuity with a mild sweetness. The color was perfect. The clarity was crystal. The EKG hops I had used were perfectly balanced between flavor and bitterness. I had finally brew the perfect Ordinary Bitter and it was far from ordinary.
My Ordinary Bitter recipe is one of my “go to” recipes. When I don’t know what to brew, that’s what I make. It’s my preferred everyday beer for sure. Consistency and sacrifice of variety truly has paid off. Now when ever I want to brew my best, I just dust off that one recipe and I know, like magic, the techniques and the art of brewing just come together to always make that Perfect Brew.
Here is John’s contribution:
I have to say my best beer in the opinion of others was my most recently brewed beer, an APA. Although judged as ‘not to style’ in competition, I did get a nice note of “this is a wonderful beer” from one of the more seasoned judges.
Mike, my homebrewing mentor and my partner in blogging, also wrote me an email after tasting the APA – stating it was my best in his opinion.
I agreed. I took my time in preparing this brew. I think you can make really great beer if you take your time. I didn’t feel rushed for the most part, which has been an issue in my brewing past.
Since it was my most recent beer, I had more brewing experience brewing this one than any other beer I have brewed. I hope that I continue to learn and improve with every beer I brew. I think that’s sorta the goal for me. Learn and do. Do and Do better.