Beer enthusiasts have always had one thing in common. We definitely have our taste. Some of us will drink anything from donkey piss to gasoline, and some of our earlier attempts might have landed on either of those two extremes. But, our taste is what we’re looking for when we’re brewing.
“Learn your taste and chase it” is what I’ve often said to new brewers who had no idea where to begin. They have so many options open to them and it’s like a new painter looking at a blank canvas with ten colors on a palette. Have patience and get ready for a beer you’ve never tasted before. Then, make adjustments with each batch until you nail it!
Ales are usually thicker and darker than other beers. Lagers are usually the opposite. Your taste can fall anywhere in between or it just may fall at either of these two extremes. So, taste around! When you find the beer you want, brew it.
To brew the thick and dark ale, a great suggestion is to start with Hugh Baird brand English Pale malt, Danstar brand Nottingham ale yeast, Danstar brand Windsor ale yeast and rolled oats. It depends on how much you are going to brew. But, one ale recipe that is outlined on Carnegie Mellon calls for the following quantities:
• 4 2/3 lbs., Hugh Baird brand English Pale malt
• 1 1/2 lbs., oats (rolled)
• 13 qts., water
• 1 pkt, Danstar brand Nottingham ale yeast
• 1 pkt, Danstar brand Windsor ale yeast
To brew a lager, start with the following ingredients:
• 3.3 pounds Northwest malt extract
• 1 pound light dry malt
• 1/2 pound Munich malt
• 2 pounds Klages malt
• 1 ounce Hallertauer hops (5.1 alpha)
• 1/4 ounce Nugget hops (11.0 alpha)
• 1 ounce Hallertauer hops (finish)
• Wyeast #2042: Danish
A basic brewing strategy calls for brewing your malt. The malt sugars are then boiled with hops. Cool and add yeast for fermentation. Of course, timing, temperatures, ingredients and quantities affect the outcome of your beer. But, you can’t screw it up if you tried. So, get in there and mix it up. You might not like the skunk you make in your first batch, and of course you could be a natural who nails it in the first try!
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