So curiosity got the better of me last night. I had fifteen gallons of beer in the fridge, and whether you believe our motivation or not, I was actually very curious how it would taste before it was actually ready. Jeff and I thought we'd crack a bottle from each brew just to see what was what.
First problem: I mixed the bottles up by accident, and we ended up tasting the stout expecting the red ale... If you've ever done something like poured yourself a glass of orange juice while thinking about milk or something like that, you'll understand the shock when it tasted very different than what we expected! After we sorted things out, we found the following:
Brew 1: The Red Ale
This brew is supposed to stay in the bottles in the fridge until Saturday, but we opened it the Monday before. We were pleasantly surprised! The red ale is very nice, though still has just a little sweetness to it that gives it a slight aftertaste that stays with you, which I'm sure will burn off in the next couple of days. A few more days of mellowing should put it right.
The body was amber, light and crisp. It was decently carbonated. It reminded me of Bass Ale, only a little lighter. Long story short: I'm a fan. :)
Brew 2: The Brown Ale
This brew is not supposed to open until a week from this Saturday, but we opened it Monday, a full 12 days early, so we weren't expecting to be impressed. It had an awful lot of head! The sugar that was still floating around in the bottles gave it a somewhat syrupy sweet aftertaste that never went away.
We noticed that after drinking maybe six ounces, we were extremely full... Uncomfortably so! Naturally we finished the bottles, shrugged and said "Meh." while we bloated. Finally after a belch or five we were ready to move on.
Brew 3: The Irish Stout
My expectations for this brew were low to begin with being also 12 days early, and if you'll recall from the Bottling of Brew 3, I left my priming sugar in the kitchen disolving in the pan, and it got cleaned up by accident, and I had to use powdered sugar... I wasn't sure how much to use, so I estimated an amount that looked about the same as the priming sugar that came with the kit. I've heard a couple different opinions, but generally it sounds like if powdered sugar is used, it should be slightly less than Corn sugar... Last I heard was it's 1/3 of a cup of corn sugar, or a 1/4 cup of powdered... But don't quote me on it. I'm not planning on needing to know for the future, I'll be a little more vigilant in making sure I have what I need.
Like the Brown Ale, this brew was syrupy and sweet and had a long lasting after taste. All things considered, it wasn't bad. I'm looking forward to giving it another try after it's had a chance to consume the sugar.
All in all
The point wasn't to drink beer yesterday, but we wanted to know what a beer tasted like before it was ready, and I'm glad we did. I found it interesting to experience the different flavors of the ingredients as they went through their process, and yes, I'll admit, it was nice to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from the finished product, even if it was a little un-ripe.
I did end up having a bit more of the red ale than I'd intended though, cause really, it was good... Looking forward to cracking a few more of those this Saturday! (hopefully while we brew some more!)
I also got some pretty raging heart burn last night, around 3am. I am assuming it had to do with all the active yeast and sugar and such that I'd consumed. Zantac to the rescue!