New Year’s Beer Thoughts

Damn, it’s 2013.  Where did 2012 go?

The Innkeeper Redux

In April of last year I brewed up a batch of Northern Brewer’s Inkeeper recipe kit.  I liked the beer at the time, but Northern Brewer has mixed things up by changing the malt extract.  Now the recipe utilizes Maris Otter malt syrup.

Apparently the new malt extract syrup is supposed to provide a more “real ale” character.  I do not know what the means exactly.  To my palate there was not a lot of difference between the new recipe formulation and the older formulation using light malt extract.

Regardless, the beer turned out well:

Maris Otter Innkeeper

However, some of the beers have been highly inconsistent.  The head on this example is great but two other recent bottles have had very little carbonation and some “off” flavors.  I hope that the batch did not get contaminated during bottling.  Ugh!

Brickwarmer Red and American Amber Ale

The Brickwarmer is in bottles and my take on an American Amber Ale is almost done with its secondary fermentation.  Needless to say, I am going to be “in the beer” very soon.

The big change I made to the recipe was changing the yeast out with the American Amber Ale.  Normally, the kit uses Wyeast 1056 American Ale which is a go to yeast for any type of American-style beer.  Along with Wyeast 1272 American Ale II, the yeast provides a neutral base for a “hop forward” flavor profile.  However, I am a fan of highlighting other aspects of a beer especially the malt profile.

I decided to use Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale.  The description and reviews led me to believe that this would provide a much more “malt forward” as opposed to “hop forward.”  We shall see in about three weeks when the first bottle gets opened and poured.

What is that Malt Flavor?

The good folks over at Serious Eats have a good rundown of the flavors of malt most commonly found in craft beers.  Too often we focus on the hops in beers–yes, I am looking at you craft beer aficionados–at the expense of the malts which can provide a ton of flavor.  I need to start a Malt Forward movement in beer.

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