Finally, the wait is over! The IPA Brittany Cole and I set out to brew a few weeks ago is complete and we have enjoyed the fruits of our labor. I am in possession of eighteen 12 oz. bottles and two 22 oz. bottles of our Lovecraft Ale and it gladdens me to report on its quality.
When setting out on this project I maintained that it was about the journey – an experience of learning and friendship building. If in the end we had constructed a brew worthy of our mutual respect for alcohol than it would be a bonus. Basically I was afraid we would make a crummy beer so I safeguarded myself against it. This is how I live my life. Never comfortable creating, always nervous until the project is finished, be it music or martinis. But once again my fears were dashed by the presence of a knowledgeable peer. For the greatest creative endeavors are collaborative and I have great friends!
On the nose Lovecraft Ale has slight nut and honey notes. Almond skin and orange rind meet you on tasting followed by pine nut. If these elements seem abrasive or too angular I can tell you they are wonderfully smooth and refreshing with fruit on a scorching summer afternoon. It’s a well balanced yet unchallenging beer built for enjoyment.
A final note on my brewing experience with Brittany Cole: In home brewing not only is there the possibility of completely unique and charming creations, there is the guarantee of high yields of beer. I gifted my father a six-er and I still have more cold ones than I can drink in a week. And that’s saying something.
I have many fond memories of drinking beer with Brittany Cole over the past five years. These were tiny moments but they stuck with me. While seemingly everyone else was quaffing cheap, tasteless beer (a practice I still enjoy and encourage) Brittany was unique. To the many concerts and house shows we attended she brought large craft beers. And better yet, she would share! This was around the time that I was developing my own interest in quality alcohol. Still a few years away from my true love of wine and fixed drinks she helped plant a seed in my mind. Quality drinking, and more importantly, doing so to build friendships and to share knowledge has become one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
Recently I was educated in the process of beer making and again I find myself indebted to the lovely Brittany Cole. After she gifted me a guidebook, a brief brainstorming meeting, and a trip to Vegas Homebrew for supplies and some helpful advice from Steve, we were ready to brew our hop bomb of an IPA!
Here are a few photos that capture a small portion of our beer making process:
Removing the grains from the wort.
Brittany quickly cools the wort in an ice bath, preparing it for the yeast.
Brittany checks the original gravity, giving us a rough guess at final alcohol content. It's high!!!
Wort is added to carboy, then yeast. Jackson mixes it all together!
Fermentation lock in place. Carboy is resting in cool water to control temperature. Now we wait...
For now Brittany and I must endure the near unbearable wait for the crucial beer making process of fermentation! I will have an update in a week or so once the bottling has been completed then a final piece once our IPA is ready for tasting. Until then we must wait…
I came across this short film a day or two ago and fell in love. I’ve tried a few of these techniques over the years but once the bottleneck breaks in your hand you really have to decide if the risk of drinking shattered glass is worth it. All the same, It’s a wonderful and fun film!