It's been two weeks since I poured out the Grenade into bottles, a week since I poured the IPA, now named Trench Warfare (because it's not sharp enough to be Bayonet), and I've handed it out to a number of people at work and around the place. Some people have already drunk the Grenade and have discovered that it doesn't work. But, and here's the thing, they drank it on Monday before giving it some time.
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The brewing had gone well, there was the bubbling and I had managed to maintain temperature. I had transferred to barrel with much swearing and confusion and then it had sat there for the fortnight whilst the IPA did its thing. I poured it into bottle with relative ease but I had forgotten to add sugar. Okay, no, not forgotten, but I didn't know if I should and if it were required. The very helpful proprietor of the local home brew place had pointed out that with the malt I bought there was no sugar required. I was too embarrassed and stupid to ask if he meant priming or just for brewing. Having tasted some out of the barrel I decided that he probably didn't mean leaving out the priming sugar. I added some for the bottles that I was handing out on the Friday night and distributed on the Monday with the urging to wait a week, at least. I suspect that this wasn't long enough. Maybe 3.4% ABV? Hard to tell really.
Tonight, having decided that I really ought to resurrect my ale drinking, I took a bottle of the stuff and poured. First of all, the flatness had gone and there was a respectable creamy head from the pouring, which was unexpected. The Progress hops did a good job of dominating the malt in the aroma and giving the whole thing a quite 'earthy' quality. Taste was not so bad, the fortnight of conditioning had done its job, and I was surprised to find a limited fizz with plenty of hops on the opening, deep and peaty, before the malt. After that there was an almost chocolate feel to the dark malt and a limited aftertaste that was thick and a little like molasses. In short, this was not a bad little ale. No chance it can challenge any of the ales I get in from proper breweries, but it was reasonable and worth waiting for.
I think I shall call this an overall success, not as fantastic as the Slightly Shitty Slow-Brewed Summer Stag seemed to have turned out, but this was good enough that I feel slightly less embarrassed at having shared it with people I know. Enough have got back to me and it is clear that trying it too early has left many with a literal bad taste in the mouth but hopefully there are people who will try it now, a fortnight later, and find it nice enough.
It doesn't make up for the news that Muirhouse Brewery Taps has closed down in the town, this is sad even though they have a pub in Derby, but it helps a little and lifts my spirits a little from the slight down this caused in the Burnt Pig last week. But, overall, yay, I have brewed an ale that is not completely dire and may even be nice up until Christmas and beyond. The IPA will have to wait, methinks, for another week or so (and it has far more sediment due to the bag disaster!).