Introducing: 11th Hour Ale

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of hops—and wort—and homebrewed beer—
Of barley malt—and yeast.”

You’re right — the Walrus never said any of that. But no one cares about cabbages and kings, right? Not when my first attempt at homebrewing is sitting in the fridge, waiting for me.

And so, in honor of the occasion, I present to you, the faithful few, my inaugural live blogging endeavor:

9:51 — I’m looking at a bottle of beer. I’ve done this before. Looked at bottles of beer, I mean. Full, then with middling amounts of ale, then eventually (sadly) empty. But I’ve never looked at my beer before.

Truth to tell, I’m more than a little nervous about this. There were a few glitches in the brewing process, most important of which was the fact that the thermometer that came with the kit only reads temperatures up to 78˚ or so, and I had to pitch the yeast at 90˚ — but whatever, right? Oh, and I had trouble with my hydrometer, and I let the beer sit in the fermenting bucket for an extra month before I found the time to bottle it. But all that aside, there’s no reason this beer won’t taste awesome, is there?

9:56 — I’ve got my Craftsman bottle opener in hand. It’s the only Craftsman tool I own, and I’m somehow proud of that. I don’t even know if my beer carbonated correctly. Will I hear that satisfying hiss when I pry the cap off the bottle?

9:58 — Yup, it was there. Good. I may be able to pull this off.

9:59 — The first whiff. It smells like I imagine a pale ale would smell after it’s been sitting in a bucket in my basement for six weeks, and then in the paint cabinet after that. I’m getting some pretty strong hints of yeast, though.

10:01 — Into the pint glass you go. The bottle says “Good-good-good-good-good,” as it pours. I hope it isn’t lying to me.

10:03 — There’s a bit too much head to it as I pour. I’ve got to learn how to do that properly. Better let it settle for a minute. The color, though, is nice. Fairly clear, but a little more on the golden side of yellow than the pale side.

10:04 — Alright, that’s enough of that. The head’s gone down, and I can see a bit of sediment from the bottom of the bottle resting in the foam. Oh well. Bottoms up.

10:06 — Ahhhhh. It’s not the best pale ale I’ve ever had, but it’ll do. I can definitely taste more of the yeast than I would like, and it isn’t quite as smooth as some of the craft beer I’ve actually been buying in stores, but it’s good. All in all, I’ll give it a strong B–.

10:10 — I think I could get used to this. I don’t really have a choice: there are 48 more bottles in the basement.

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