I started brewing all grain beer about a year ago and since then I have brewed 14 unique styles. In my inventory I have the last 10 that I have bottled. One is fermenting and the first three are long gone.
Hefeweizen: I was commissioned to brew this for a birthday party for my great friend Anne. It was my first time brewing with grain and so I made plenty of errors. The typical banana notes in this German wheat ale were present, but somehow some wild yeast appeared and caused it to become more of a sour ale. 5.1% 31 IBU (all gone)
India Pale Ale: This was for Anne’s birthday party too and I found it turned out pretty decent, though it wasn’t a great beer; drinkable, just not remarkable. 5.4% ABV 62 IBU (all gone)
Winter Ale: I was very impressed with this British spiced ale. I incorporated shredded ginger, cinnamon sticks, sweet orange peel, caraway seed, honey and cloves to bring some dimension to this. I had a hard time saving this beer beyond Christmas when I brought it to parties and it would be consumed very quickly. All the spicy notes were present and balanced. 6.7% ABV 35 IBU (all gone)
Russian Imperial Stout: I let this age for 6 months in the bottle, though I did cheat a few times and tasted it ahead of time. Great mouthfeel, though it didn’t carbonate as much as I had hoped (I may have been a bit shy because of some overcarbonated ones prior to this). Not overly bitter and the alcohol doesn’t cause a hot sensation in your mouth. It’s a sweeter very bold ale, typical for the style, I would definitely bitter this one more next time to bring more balance. 8.4% ABV 56 IBU (IS pictured above)
Flanders Red Ale: I just bottled this today so I can’t comment too much on the taste. I let it ferment for nearly seven months on Brettanomyces which makes it a sour. My first sip during bottling was a bit jarring, but an hour later it was very mellow and I could taste something other than the sour. The colour is indeed a pale red. I really look forward to tasting this after it has carbonated in a couple weeks. I was inspired to make this by one of my favourite beer: The Duchesse of Bourgogne. I’m brewing a sour imperial stout this weekend. 6.6% ABV 24 IBU (FR pictured above)
Witbier: A Belgian style wheat beer – most North Americans are likely exposed to this style through the ShockTops. I flavoured mine with chamomile and orange zest (I wish I had left the zest in the boil longer as I pulled it early for fear it would overpower it). It’s great summer drinking and is a cloudy yellow when poured out. As with most Belgians, it is the yeast that lends the most to the flavour. Light citrus notes and fantastic head retention (as with most wheat beers). 5.1% ABV 20 IBU (BW pictured above)
Bock: My very first venture into the lager realm. This is a dark German lager meaning it is fermented at much lower temperatures than ales meaning you need more control over the brew’s environment. It is definitely a sweeter brew, but not overpowering or sickeningly sweet. It is far lighter than a stout or porter and has a crisp character with roasted notes. 6.3% ABV 37 IBU (purple pictured above)
Imperial I.P.A.: Easily the best beer I’ve made so far. Also the most expensive. Splendid white head sticks around forever. Blast of citrus and evergreen aroma and a perfectly balanced extra powerful malt/hop flavour. I reserve these beer for especially hard days or when I can really pause and enjoy one. 8.1% ABV 100+IBU (ii pictured above)
These next four beer are collaborations with my brewer friend Alex.
India Amber Ale: I was doubtful of the grain bill as it had chocolate and other adjunct sweeter malts which typically doesn’t work in a a hop focused brew. But it came out really well. It’s a dark brown in colour, some nice hop aroma and a very unique blend of roasted malt and smooth bittered finish. Definitely worth exploring more blends like this one. 5.6% ABV 100+ IBU (IAA pictured above)
Foreign Extra Stout: A standard dry stout. Best consumed on rainy or cool days. 5.9% ABV 81 IBU (St3 pictured above)
Scottish Wee Heavy: A nicely balanced malty ale. The heavy just means its a bit stronger than the typical Scottish ale, similar to stout being a stouter porter. The unique aspect of this wee heavy is the addition of some heated malt, just a quarter pound, gives it some wonderful smoky notes. 5.5% ABV 20 IBU (WH pictured above)
Oktoberfest: We used Bavarian Lager yeast, but let it ferment like an ale. It didn’t come through very crisp, but it’s a darker beer anyway, so it comes off nicely with all the toasty malts. 5.6% ABV 42 IBU (Okt pictured above)
Chocolate Coconut Porter: I originally intended to make a chocolate hazelnut porter, but couldn’t find any hazelnut extract in Calgary. The coconut works really well though. This is brewed with half a pound of unsweetened cocoa powder which adds its own bitterness and compliments the chocolate malt really well. 7.5% ABV 37 IBU (CCP pictured above)
Belgian Tripel: I just bottled this heavy hitter on Monday and opened a sample last night (just 4 days later) to see how it’s coming out. It’s nice, but I’m looking forward to what a bit of carbonation and time can do to it. I love that it’s a really simple recipe, but the method of fermentation is the key. It’s a beautiful, clear, light amber colour. 10.5% ABV 27 IBU (not pictured)
Imperial Sour Oatmeal Stout: I was inspired to brew this after tasting the marvellous Mud and Funk (de Molen Brewery). I’m going to let it ferment for 6 months with some brettanomyces. I’m adding some oak chips to give it a casked character. It’s a strong one too with an original gravity of 1.079 giving it a potential ABV of over 10% (82 IBU). My hope is that the adjunct malts, oak, and high gravity offset some of the sour to give it some complexity. We’ll have to wait and see.
Belgian Stout: The previous brew (ISOS) was so strong that I couldn’t toss the grains without extracting another beer from it, though I did have to reinforce it with 3 lbs of dry malt extract. I decided to try the same yeast I used for the Belgian Tripel which I washed and stored to save some money on future beer.