Thursday, April 22, 2010

rss taste test.

Last night we decided to taste the fruit of our efforts. And by fruit, I literally mean fruit. About six weeks ago we brewed our first stout - a raspberry slow stout (aka RSS). I'll explain more about the name in a minute.

Overall, I'd say I was impressed with the body, aroma, and taste of this one. It has some very complex flavors on the front end and a very strong hint of raspberry as an afterthought. It's pretty rich and creamy, and even has some hints of coffee and chocolate. A lot going on in this small sampler glass. With that said, it needs more time to condition in the bottle. I think the flavors still need to mellow out a bit, and the carbonation isn't quite right yet. In two weeks this brew is going to be ready to drink, share, and enjoy.

The biggest problem I have about homebrewing is the wait. Whenever we try a new recipe, I always get anxious to see how the end result will be. This is also, mind you, why I will never brew wine. Beer from start to finish is ready to enjoy in under two months. I would not have the patience or will power to wait 1-2 years to sample my wine. I'll happily leave winemaking up to the Spaniards, Chileans, and Californians.

All right, back to the name: RSS. We started this brew out from a Northern Brewer kit - Sweet Stout to be exact. It was our first time using lactose in the brewing process and (gasp) our first time using wet yeast. (I don't think I am going to ever be able to go back to dry yeast). We started the brew process and gave the yeast a good 24 hours to work its magic before pitching it into the wort. [For all you brew newbies - wort is unfermented beer. It has no alcohol content yet.]

Now here is where the problem began to arise; the problem that led to the name. I wake up in the morning after brewing expecting to see the fermentation process going full steam. Wrong. Nothing was happening, at all. This has never been the case before. I waited all afternoon - still nothing. Panic began to sink in. Was the yeast expired? Was the wort too hot when we pitched the yeast? Did we forget to add something? We decided to wait until that next morning - a good 36+ hours later before really panicking.

Next morning still nothing. I consult brew forums and posts to see if this is "normal." I am just about to head out the door to get more yeast when I see a bubble! Amen! We've never had such a slow start to our fermenting process. Hence, this is why we are calling this brew the Raspberry Slow Stout. (We infused fresh Michigan raspberries during the secondary fermentation process and added a little of extract during bottling.).

Anyway, that's the history behind this one. We'd love to hear stories from other homebrewers - leave us a comment on the blog or on our Twitter @ampmcrafts. Salud!

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