Fermentation Friday was started by Adam over at Beer Bits 2, and it’s a chance for all homebrew bloggers to sound off on a singular theme at a set date – the last Friday of each month (check out Adam’s post explaining the origins).
This month Fermentation Friday is being hosted by Bunz at The Panhandle Beer Snob and Redneck Brewery, and he has asked us to answer the following question: What, in the opinion of others, is the best beer you have ever made and why?
Thanks to Bunz for hosting, and make sure to check out his roundup post to see everyone’s responses!
This is an interesting question for me, because there are not a lot of people out there who have sampled my beers. None of my friends are huge beer drinkers, and those that have tried my brews did so very early in my brewing career – I fear I may have scared them off. So, the only consistent audience I have had is my girlfriend and her parents.
Now, I think my skills are starting to plateau. My equipment is pretty much where I want it, and I’ve gotten much better at dialing in my system and hitting my numbers. I have the procedures down, and am much more comfortable with all aspects of the brewing process. This means my beers are reaching a consistent level of quality. In other words, I’ve got all the big stuff down – now it’s time to start working on refining the small details of brewing and try to reach the next level.
How does all this relate to the question at hand? Well, if I had to pick the one beer that had the best reception, both in my own opinion and the opinion of others, it would have to be the beer I recently made where everything “clicked” and turned out exactly as I had planned. That beer was my Sunset Wheat Clone recipe that I brewed back in June of this year.
This beer turned out wonderfully – the finished product had all the great characteristics of a refreshing summer wheat. The mouthfeel was smooth with a touch of wheat creaminess (which I attribute to the protein rest I did during the mash). The flavor held a slight hint of lactic sourness, but it was balanced perfectly by the light hop bitterness and hint of boysenberry sweetness. The alcohol content was low enough to enjoy a few in the summer heat, but high enough to not taste like a light beer. The Kölsch yeast I used provided a nice, clean, crisp flavor.
The summer wheat got rave reviews from all who tasted it, and I have already been forced to promise several repeats. While I am proud of the brewing execution and how all my planning and hard work paid off, the style itself probably had a lot to do with the good reviews. The beer was the perfect bridge brew, light enough to be inviting to non-beer drinkers, but with enough complexity to appeal to us beer snobs as well.
It thrills me that I feel in control of my brewing now, and that other people can enjoy the results. Hopefully, their favorite of my beers will be whichever one is in their glass at the moment!