Crafting IRL: Drinking

After the brewing and the bottling, there’s the waiting, and then the drinking. After bottling a homebrew it takes about two weeks for the yeast in the bottle to carbonate the beer.

I usually try a beer around that point to see how it tastes. With stouts, it’s recommended to wait another two weeks to age a bit, and I like to have a before to compare to the after.

This beer was bottled June 12th, so it’s almost six weeks old now. The first beer I drank (around the 27th) was well carbonated but the taste wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for, it was a little too sweet and felt a little thin. Happily, the beer I’m having tonight is much better, it’s still got some sweetness to it but it’s balanced better with the bitterness and leaves a nice aftertaste in the mouth.

That’s one of the great things about bottle conditioned beers, usually if they’re a bit off you can just let the yeast work a little longer on it.

4 Comments

  1. Interesting…so at what point does the yeast finish all its work and the beer’s taste “settles” so that it won’t taste differently anymore? I assume the beer won’t go bad if the brewer did everything right, or at least it would take a long long long long long time before it does?

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      That is a pretty complicated question actually and gets into all sorts of chemistry that I understand vaguely at best, so take all of this with a huge grain of salt.

      In most instances after a few months the beer will stay as it is, so this one may change a bit but overall it’s probably finished. It has to do with the yeast switching from sugars to other compounds in the beer (I think). The way I understand it most of the flavors you want to keep come from compounds that the yeast won’t bother, so there’s no expiration date for a homebrewed beer and I’ve never had one get worse in the bottle. I have some beer left still from batches I made more than a year ago and they were fine the last time I had one.

  2. AnjinNo Gravatar says:

    So, I’m guessing that tasting the final product is your favorite part of the process? Have you been generally happy with how your beers have turned out or have you had batches you had to throw out? Any you were particularly proud of?

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      The tasting is the most enjoyable part and rewarding, especially when I’m sharing it with friends and family. I think my favorite part of the process, though, is after I’ve finished with the cleanup. Both for brewing and bottling, there’s just as much to do after as there is before, and I hate washing stuff.

      Out of the eight batches I’ve done, started in 2007, I’ve had one that I wasn’t happy with. Oddly enough that was batch seven, and the problem was I followed the directions for the recipe I got even though it deviated from my normal process. That taught me to trust myself a bit more.

      I’ve been pretty proud of all the brews I’ve done, well except for number seven, but I was the most pleased with the very first beer. I was pretty nervous and I made a lot of mistakes, plus I was very unsure about how well I would do keeping the whole process sanitary, and despite all of the it was decent and drinkable (if not great).