Tag Archives: Summer Ale

Summer Ale – Review

Summer has hit us. But after the last week in Melbourne you could be excused for thinking otherwise. Enough about the crazy weather, it’s time to review the Summer Ale.

Wow. That didn’t turn out like I thought. Even after trying the sample from bottling I wasn’t expecting this. The Summer Ale is not what I was aiming for. Wanted light, refreshing and something that could be enjoyed cold. This beer doesn’t do any of those very well. That said, this isn’t a bad beer. It’s simply a (very) different beer.

To start with there was probably too much malt. The colour is much darker than planned for, like an amber ale. The flavour reflects this as well. The wheat isn’t a strong as I thought. Not sure if that’s because there’s a really low percentage of wheat in the liquid extract I used, or the hops took over.

Summer Ale 1

Summer Ale 1 ready for drinking

The aroma is of strong stewed fruit and grapes. Yep, grapes and it comes from the Nelson Sauvin hops. Strange aroma this one the more you smell the beer the more complex it becomes. Some spice and earthy aroma comes out later, from the Belgian Saaz (aka Motueka) hops.

Fist taste is a mixture of a few things. Plenty of stewed fruit and tropical flavour. Some of the spice and grape of the aroma comes out, but not much. The spice builds a little, but the big fruit flavours drive this. The wheat base is there the whole way along and holds out quite well to the very long finish. It’s quite enjoyable.

Food matching? No idea. Something not too strong in flavour. Lightly fried meat like chicken or other bird would match this. Fish would work if not too powerful, maybe even pork. The beer has a fair bit of flavour, but could be overwhelmed by anything to spicy.

Is this beer a proper Summer Ale? No. Is this beer good? Yes. Not sure what style it is, maybe a pale ale or even an amber ale. But the fruit flavours throw it out a bit. There’s not much I can really compare this with.

This was the first time I used these two hops. Might have been better to try on a more familiar and simpler malt base to taste the flavour profile. I had issues trying to work out what was giving some of the flavours. The stewed fruit probably coming from the hops rather than the wheat/malt base. Fermentation wasn’t temperature controlled, ranging from just under 20°C to mid 20’s. With that range using US-05 yeast there shouldn’t be much flavours from yeast. The beer is a tasty one, and I’ll enjoy drinking this one. Now I need to make a proper summer ale.

-Mikey

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Bottling Summer, in the cold

Sunday was bottling day for the Summer Ale. Was a fairly straight forward affair with just me doing everything, and all done in about an hour. The best thing was that I didn’t stuff the beer by acidently oxygenating it, like I did with the Super Stout.

Summer Ale 1 bottled

Summer Ale 1 all bottled

Given there was 14 litres of beer I decided to bulk prime. First time I’ve done it since making the mistake with the Super Stout. I took my time and planned it out better. The only hiccup I had was when the end if the bottling wand feel off into one of the bottles. Learning from that time that happened, I quickly turned off the tap before losing to much. No other problems.

The sample I took had a gravity reading of 1.005 which is lower that I had hoped. But in a good way. After original reading was so low I wanted the final gravity to be under 1.010, and here we are a bit under that. Happy with the outcome.

Summer Ale 1 sample

Summer Ale 1 sample for tasting after gravity reading

There was a nice tropical and earthy flavour to the sample. The colour was a fair bit darker than I thought it would be. Both those have me thinking that I’m sure if I would call it a Summer time beer. After a couple weeks I’ll crack open one and find out.

On a side note, have found that my hydrometer has a very fine crack in it and some liquid has got in. Not sure if that was before the reading of the original gravity, final gravity or just in clean up. Needless to say, I’ll be using the spare one for next brew and buying (another) new one.

– Mikey

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Not a not, it’s nearly Summer

After a bit of a busy October I knew it was time to get back to brewing. And on Sunday last week that’s exactly what happened.

Chas came around to lend a much needed hand. Was good to be brewing again, even if it was ‘just’ an extract only brew. I was going to have another shot at doing the not-beers. I’ve been thinking about a couple options to get a better outcome than last time. But that’s for another day.

I got a request that to make a summer ale. We’re in November and summer is nearly upon us. If some of the 30° C days recently are an indication you could say summer is already here. Anyway, with the heat on it’s way, and me still not sorting out the shed for fermentation fridge, it was now or never.

I spent about a week here and there looking up info on Summer Ales. Quickly realised it’s not a style of it’s own. Sure there’s the English Summer Ale as a type, but was I was looking for war more of a feeling. Light, easy drinking, not too much alcohol, something that can be enjoyed cold… basically a drink to have on a hot day.

Summer Ale fermenting away

Summer Ale all wrapped up and fermenting away

I landed with a cross between an American Blonde Ale and English Summer Ale, with more wheat. I’m not a fan of most wheat beers, so this is a bit of a jump of faith for me. Lots of looking up recipes for all grains, partial and all extract beers. I’m pretty happy with what I chose to go with.

  • 1.5 kg of Liquid Malt Extract – Briess Bavarian Wheat, for 35 mins
  • 400 g of Dry Malt Extract – Briess Pilsen Light, for 5 mins
  • 5 g Warrior hops, for 33 mins
  • 3 g Nelson Sauvin + 3 g Belgian Saaz hops, for 13 mins
  • 3 g Nelson Sauvin + 3 g Belgian Saaz hops, at flame out
  • A bit over half a pack of dry US-05 yeast

Original gravity came in at 1.028 which was a lot lower than calculated (1.044). Maybe the calculations were based on something wrong, or maybe the measurements were out. Not sure.

Ended up with 14 litres rather than the 13 planned. So, the 15 litre fermentation vessel was very full. That wasn’t a problem at the start, after a couple days the fermentation was quite slow. But some time in the following few days (I rarely check until bottling) there was a blow out. Airlock changed and now bubbling away again. I hope there wasn’t an infection. Normally the fermentor is out of the way enough to keep it safe. Will wait and see.

Bottling next week. Should have a good idea how it turns out. Hope it ends up a bit dry otherwise going to be less than 3% alcohol. And that might make it a little too light on body.

Oh, and we finally got around to doing a review of the Pale Trial Ein beers. Expect that up within the week.

-Mikey

 

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