I’m drinking a glass of homebrewed, unconditioned double chocolate stout, fresh out of the bottling bucket. My tasting glasses, which I have from every batch at bottling, are more for a final rinse of the siphon than for actual drinking, though I do always drink them because I couldn’t bear to waste any precious beer (I drink my infected batches too, though it takes me a while).
It’s a rare beer that actually tastes good at bottling, and they usually offer little information about how the beer will turn out. The “green” taste has a habit of overpowering the flavour so much that it’s like listening to white noise and trying to pick out individual notes. Hop-heavy beers tend to be more drinkable at this stage, since hops can be used to mask off-flavours and imperfections, but because the flavours are still muddy and the bitterness hasn’t had a chance to mellow, it’s hard to get a clear idea about what the beer is going to taste like even after as little as a week in the bottle.
But the double chocolate stout is surprisingly drinkable. As expected, it’s very green and the bitterness is a little too aggressive, but the chocolate is present enough without being harsh, which is something I was a bit worried about. I don’t use additives often, so I’m always a bit nervous, but the best-tasting beers out of the bucket seem to be the ones with more than four ingredients (the only other beer I’ve made that was as drinkable as this one at bottling was a ginger IPA). I’m very excited to see how this turns out.
It’ll most likely be my last homebrew for the next 12 months. I thought the 1877 Pale Ale was to be my last (and quite a worthy way to go out) but May 4th was International Homebrew Day and I couldn’t resist. It was a bit last minute, so I went for an extract brew (the first time I’ve done one in a couple years) and since the reason I will be separated from by brewing equipment for a while is that I’ll be living in Australia, it’s appropriate that I incorporated the Australian homebrew popularisers Coopers into my recipe for the first time since my first ever batch.
Recipe (12 litres):
1.7 kg Coopers hopped light LME
150g Crystal 60
150g Chocolate malt
50g Roasted barley
5 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
Coopers ale yeast