FIRST TIMES ARE OFTEN LEARNING EXPERIENCES, and thus it was with my first batch of home brew. Oh, well. Few lovers are Casanova on the first date.
We had a spectacular sunset over Lopez Sound on Friday night, and it was the “opening date” for my bottles of Nutty Nuthatch English Brown Ale, so Barbara and I opened the first bottle so we could step out on the deck and toast the peach-melba sky.
Well, the first bottle we opened didn’t pop when the cap flipped off. It was flat. The cap hadn’t sealed.
The next bottle opened with a pop and fizz, though, so we split the bottle into 6-ounce tasting glasses, stepped out into the fresh January air and raised our brew to the sky before taking a sip.
Hmmm. Took a bigger gulp. Hmmm. Looked at each other, and in unison dumped the rest over the deck railing. It was sour and unappetizing.
“I’ve actually had worse,” Barbara said, offering cold comfort to the brewmaster.
At least it looked good. I was proud of the bottle labels I’d created using my daughter Lilly’s artwork of a nuthatch, which also graces a sign at our Nuthatch cabin’s front door.If looking good was all that counted, this would have been boffo beer.
Not sure where I went wrong with the beer, though temperature control could have been a factor. The instructions said to let it brew in a dark place with temps ranging from 60 to 75 degrees. We don’t have spare closets in our cabin, so the best solution I could come up with was to nest the gallon brew jug deep in a bin of bath towels in a corner of the bathroom, where I kept an oil-filled radiator set to 63 degrees. But I think the beer still got too cold one frosty night.
Ah, well, mustn’t grumble, as the Brits say. I’ve already brewed a new batch, an IPA this time. And I ordered a new case of bottles with special flip-down, wire-sealing caps like you see on some European beers, to help ensure a proper seal.
Keeping fingers crossed, trying to hold my mouth right, scratching a stay and turning three times. We’ll get this right.