St. Patrick’s DIY

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit, denizens!

Aye, tis a grand day to be Irish. Or partially Irish. Or just someone who likes to diminish an entire ethnicity down to one stereotypical pastime.

Sláinte, indeed.

Regardless of your reasons for celebrating the day, please stay safe. As for me, the sudden return of winter dictates that I shall stay within the warm, dry confines of my lair for any celebrations. That’s fine with me, because I have the perfect brew to mark the occasion.

[Loba Tangent: I also fail to spell occasion correctly 95 percent of the time I write it. I don’t know why. Thank goodness for spell check.]

Remember back during Febrewary, how I returned to my ritual of brewing my own beer on a work holiday? Well, turns out that the prep schedule was such that my White House honey porter was officially ready to crack open for consumption this past Saturday. Rather than drink it then, I decided to give it a couple extra days and celebrate today with my very own beer.

IMG_1857

Look at that beer, denizens. Even though it’s not present in this photo, this porter poured out with a fizzy accompaniment of froth that dissipated to lines of carbonation crawling up through its beautiful carnelian center. I took a backlit photo, just so you all could see this gorgeous color:

IMG_1858

Also, look at how clear it is! I’ve finally gotten the bottling correct!

To be fair, even though this is supposedly a porter, that color, the mouth feel, and the taste are all more indicative of a red ale than what I would typically attribute to a porter. I wonder if perhaps the age of the recipe lends itself to this less-than-modern-day-porter conveyance of flavors and feel. Or maybe I simply didn’t steep the malt mix long enough. Not sure.

Whatever the reason, I hesitate to praise this as a porter. I also kind of wish I’d refrigerated it before drinking because, again, it’s not really a “serve at room temperature” beer. Then again, it’s cold enough in the house that this time, “room temperature” was still nice and cool.

Beyond the points I’ve already mentioned, this porter has a beautiful bouquet. It’s wonderfully malty with a frisson of honeyed sweetness. That honey plays through into every other aspect of this beer, with a soft, smooth mouth feel and a delightful flavor that remains on the safe side of sweet without toppling over into saturation. I do wish that it had a bit more carbonation, because if you don’t drink it quickly enough (and I honestly didn’t want to drink it too quickly because it was that tasty), it does start to go a bit flat.

In other words, Irish you all could taste this beer.

Ha. I see what I did there, and I LOLed.

Seriously, I am supremely pleased with this latest homebrew adventure. Northern Brewer wins as a new supplier for my homebrew dabblings. I have their Caribou Slobber kit downstairs right now, awaiting brewing, and then there are a couple other kits that I would love to try as I get more and more confident with this new process. All that being said, I would not be averse to giving this honey porter another go once I finish tackling these new flavors.

Putting the “Brew” in Febrewary

So how could I possibly call this “Febrewary” without actually brewing some beer? I just can’t, denizens. Therefore, I give you this:

honeyporter

Seems that I’ve made a bit of a habit in recent years of spending my cold weather holidays brewing beers…a habit that I sadly didn’t continue throughout 2013 because…well, because life. That’s pretty much why.

Now, not to say that I don’t have a life this year, but I do have a bit more free time than I did last year. Plus, with about a foot of snow still on the ground and daytime highs still below freezing, I’m thinking that staying indoors on my day off isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

Plus, there’s the added bonus of recently relocating a gift card that my cousins gave me to Northern Brewer Homebrew Supply, that must have gotten lost in our recent move. When I looked through Northern Brewer’s brew kits and saw that they offered, among other tasty concoctions, a White House honey porter? I took that as a sign that my Presidents’ Day was set.

I’ve written before about my beer brewing adventures. I have to say that those previous kits can’t even compare to the simplicity of the Northern Brewer kit that I used today. In some ways, I feel like it was almost too easy…like I missed a step or didn’t have all the ingredients or forgot something or…I don’t know. It just wasn’t anywhere near as complicated as the previous kits made the process out to be.

Instead, the Northern Brewer White House honey porter kit was a breeze as well as way neater, way quicker, and way more fun. I’m not saying that the other kits were bad; on the contrary, they were the ones that got me hooked on homebrewing in the first place. However, Northern Brewer has shown that applying a little bit of creativity to a process can simplify and streamline it in ways that make everything more awesome. And who doesn’t want more awesome in their lives?

So right now, my gallon jug full of honey porter is sitting down in the dark coolness of our storage room (a storage room! Such beer-making luxury!), its little airlock in place, just waiting for the yeast to start the fermentation process. Minus the feeling that this was simply too easy, I’m very pleased with today’s brewing exercise. I was also very pleased with the Star San sanitation process I used. Again, made everything way easier.

This whole experience has revived my love for making my own beer. I guess I had forgotten how much fun it can be to create something that I love…and obviously, I love beer. Now that we have more space, including an area of the house where I can keep my brews cool and dark while they beerify themselves, I might start doing this more frequently. Hell, I might even start moving into deeper homebrew waters, beyond the relative safety of these types of one-gallon kits. However, I already have another gallon kit waiting in the wings once today’s batch has finished fermenting and I’ve bottled it. Plus, I have a little more money left on my gift card. Methinks it’s time to treat myself to some more professional brewing equipment.

Stay tuned, denizens. Bottling is only two weeks away…and then, two weeks after that? It’s Millah Time! (Only way better than actual Miller. I hope.)

OMG Update!

While testing the links in this post, I loaded Northern Brewer’s home page, only to find this: Wil Wheaton’s VandalEyes PA!

SHUT. UP!

Seriously, I wrote in my first blog post about my homebrewing adventures that Wil Wheaton was the main inspiration for my interest in this hobby in the first place. What can I say? I really am just a geek. Just like Wil.

I wish that I liked IPAs, because I would buy this kit in a heartbeat if I did, just to experience the love that he’s invested into creating his own beer. I bet it wins everything. But it’s an IPA. With an awesome name. So if that’s your bag, denizens? Give it a go, and be sure to let me know how it goes!

Also? This makes me love Northern Brewer that much more. Wil Wheaton. So much awesome.