The lady squeezes Dad has been knocking about this week. A mellow old soul, who since he stopped hating my guts I’ve started to quite like. He has a dry sense of humour, a canny insight, and despite being a posh git is less of a twat than I have previously considered him to be. I wouldn’t go as far as to say he either likes me or is happy I’m shacked up with his daughter, but he seems to have accepted that whilst he doesn’t like it, he can lump it. Why he’s knocking about our gaff I presume is related to his recent early retirement and not having much to do and willing to do the bits of DIY I’ve been wriggling out of. As those little jobs are a monkey off my back, I really ought to welcome the old dodderer.
One thing he noticed in the kitchen was my 2 gallon plastic keg of experimental homebrew that I knocked up here. When I told him what it was he seemed quite keen to try it. An unusual response to be sure. Homebrew is usually by and large rank, unless the individual doing it is a real hobbyist with all the kit to hand, and my approach in the homes of others is to avoid if possible in favour of a can of cooking. You can’t always manage it, though. However the old boy seemed keen, and as it’s more or less ready, the time had come to crack open the keg and try the beer I’ve named “In honour of Wurst”, after a true artist and gentleman.
To recap, the beer is a can of a cheap homebrew bitter kit brewed to 2 gallons rather than 5, and without the bag of granulated sugar. This recipe came about from previous experiences with homebrew kits where I figured that whatever you brewed it tasted of homebrew and bore little relation to the beer style attempted. Drinkable but an acquired taste. That a lager kit tasted like an ale kit and the only real difference was the colour of the beer. This I presumed was due to the fact that most of the fermentable sugars would be sucrose rather than maltose. I could have bought a bag of dried malt or a can of unhopped malt extract but figured as I wasn’t too sure about it, 2 gallons would be better than 5. I opted for an ale kit rather than lager figuring that it was the best chance of something drinkable, as I could not be bothered to lager the grog produced, only let it clear naturally before necking. The main lack of authenticity to the grog is that it is malt extract, I’ve sparged no wort. However malt extract is little more than concentrated wort. The point at which it was hopped (before or after concentration), whether hop extract was used (whether it was actually hopped) and the chemical changes created by concentration will affect the ingredients. However this will result in a difference, not necessarily a poorer or better beer.
So to try this beer, what’s it like? As you can see from the picture, it’s pretty dark stuff, and lively. Could only fit half a pint into a pint glass. The pint glass chosen for this occasion had to be a Fuller’s ESB one I nicked from a boozer on a trip into the city centre. They seemed to be poncing up the glassware, with a stemmed pint pot, so it had to go in the lady squeezes handbag. She’s not keen on nicking stuff from pubs, so I sneaked it in there when she bobbed to the lavatory (or powdering her nose, as she says. Do women do that, powder their nose? Why? Why not just say “off for a slash” like we do?), and got an earful half an hour later when she complained about beer dregs over her mobile phone. I’d like a phone that smelled of beer, but there is no accounting for the strange way the mind of a woman works. They are another species altogether.
The darkness understandable from a kit intended to be made to 5 gallons. There will be plenty of dark burnt malt caramels in there to create the brown colour in 5 gallons of water. It will be darker over 2. Same with the hops. The beer was bitterer than most bitters, but not so bitter as to be undrinkable. The beer was as bitter as a very bitter bitter. That’s beer writing. None of this nonsense about chocolaty notes, astringent qualities, mouth feel, spicyness. It’s either bitter or its not and if it is, it’s either bitter or very bitter. I liked it though. Packed a punch that hit you all round the mouth and in the nose.
The malt really came through as a predominate flavour. Clearly a malt extract beer, but a rich malty taste. Liked it. The soon to be father law loved it, declaring it “corking stuff”. He’s a pongy beer drinker, so if he likes it, it cannot be all bad. One thing of note. I was unsure about the ABV of the grog, and didn’t bother measuring its original gravity prior to fermentation, as I could not be arsed. I figured it would either be weak, average or strong. After a about 3 or 4 pints each of this stuff, we cleared a gallons worth slightly over half the barrel, we were fairly pissed. More pissed than either a 4 or 5% grog would get me. I’d guestimate it at around 6%. The old geezer’s quite a laugh when he’s pissed, and the agreement not to tell his missus that the reason he kipped in the spare room was I suspect the start of the manly bond of friendship. I’m glad he still doesn’t like enough to drag me to his golf club though. I’m happy with the pretence of being middle class, but there are lines you don’t cross if you want to be able to at least claim you are really working class come the revolution.