The rebel part of me has had some fun of late. After getting to know the home brew and craft beer scene over the last year, it’s apparent there’s a renaissance in the beer world. Part of all this includes a “beer style” set of guidelines that judges use when dolling out medals – I received a bronze for my blonde ale. But why stagnate?
So, to mix things up, I added some ingredients to my last two batches of my bronze-medal blonde. (Okay, I promise to stop bragging. ;-)) Batch number 37: I added coriander and orange peels to emulate a German witbeir. After a week of ageing, it’s totally delicious… I’m almost done the whole 5 gallons! I’ll add more orange peel next time to kick up the citrus a bit more. Then for batch number 38: I dry hopped it with an ounce of Cascade. For those not familiar with “dry hopping”, this is done by adding hops to fermented wort (otherwise known as beer!) a week or so before bottling. It adds HUGE flavour and aroma.
Bitterness or aroma? You can have both! Adding hops while wort boils adds bitterness, which balances the sweetness of the malt. But if you add it after boiling has ended, they add huge flavour. Add them after fermentation is done, you get a massive blast of hop flavour that has become a very popular beer style – known as an American IPA. So mine is kind of like a toned down version, being a blonde as opposed to a darker ale, characteristic of that style.
So, by not following exact recipes and beer style guidelines, I’ve actually created two of my favourite beers so far. Actually if you think about it, what cook follows a recipe to the tee? Not me!
Cheers for beers!