With all of the cleaning, boiling, cleaning, fermenting, cleaning, bottling, and settling out of the way, it was finally time to taste my first homemade beer. I allowed for one week after bottling and sitting at room temperature (approx. 70F) before popping one bottle into the refrigerator.
The tension grew as I took the bottle out of the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle opener. Would there be sufficient carbonation? That would be the first test. Pffft! Yes, we have carbonation!
A careful pour from the bottle left the remaining sediment on the bottom of the bottle. The very dark-colored beer poured nicely with a medium-sized creamy, white head. (Did I tell you that the recipe was a 'Nut Brown Ale'?) Though, the head dissipated fairly fast, it could easily be worked up again with some agitation and left some draping on the walls of the glass. Not bad, so far...I could breathe.
Next came the aroma. How would this pass the test? The aroma had a very basic roasted malt extract aroma with nothing off putting that I could detect.
Then, the all important taste. It can look good and smell good, but if it doesn't taste good, then I'd have nothing. The taste, let's see how best to describe this. I'm not disappointed, but yet I'm not thrilled. Basically, I described the taste as diluted liquid malt extract. It reminded me of the extract that I poured into boiling water, just thinner and with a bit of hops in the finish. The carbonation is sufficient to carry the beer through the mouth and complement the flavor and texture of the beer.
After two weeks in the bottle, I tried another one. My reaction was still the same as after the first week. I left a bottle with my friend, Mark, in Madison WI. I'll be anxious to get his honest opinion. Perhaps after week three or four, I'll sit down with Adam and sample another one and see how it's come along.
Three down, thirty eight more to go over the next few months. I'll be anxious to see how much the beer changes over time in the bottle and how my impression of it changes too. Net result for my first homebrew....eh, I'd give it a solid 'C'. I'm not disappointed, but I'm not impressed. The important thing, though, is that I got experience with the process and have a lot of excitement for my next attempt.