I generally brew my beer in the Fall; something about the season always feels right, and the thought of entering the Holiday Season with some special beers on hand makes a lot of sense to me. Fall being harvest time also seems appropriate, especially when considering complimentary flavors that might be added. Note—that does not include pumpkin.
My brew tools are pretty rudimentary and common to most home brewers: a 6-gallon clear fermenter, brew pots, plastic pails for bottling and secondary fermentation, large bottles, small bottles, an ancient capper—you name it. All this and a handful of books on brewing plus a great local supply shop, The Grape & Granary, provide me with just about everything I need.
Once in a while, however, I come across something new that piques my interest, and so it was with the BrewDemon2.5-gallon Conical Fermenter. Till now, I’ve always brewed in 5-gallon batches, but I was attracted to the idea of brewing smaller batches, which would allow for a little more frequent experimentation with recipes and new styles. I ordered mine from Amazon with some birthday gift money as well as some spare airlocks and a BrewDemon kit to make one 2.5-gallon batch of Brown Ale, which remains my go-to drink of choice.
For whatever reason, I’ve preferred the beers I’ve made with extract over the last batch I made from a kit that included dry malts and steeped grains. The latter, while good, had more of the roasted malt taste that I associate with American Brown Ales, rather than the sweet, caramel-malt “fruitiness” that typifies good English Brown Ales. My goal with the first batch here is to try and replicate my past efforts, which normally result in a fresh, rich and sessionable Brown Ale, similar to Newcastle, but better. Currently, I’m considering what modest additions I might add to this kit to ensure just a little more body and taste.
I’ll let you know how this works out. I’m also looking at what comes next—I am thinking about some type of rich Harvest Ale, a Holiday Porter, and at least one or two other styles that I can store long term. Over the last winter, I completed building a wine/beer storage cellar under the basement stairs, and it’s been waiting for some occupants. Time to get to work!