I read in a 1970s homebrewing book that, while it might seem complex at first, brewing in one’s kitchen should eventually become as regular and undemanding as making a cup of tea.
While that may be an exaggeration, there is something to be said for a modest grain bill, a free-flowing mash and an uncomplicated double-dose of hops for a small batch of table beer. There is also a welcome sense of freedom from leaving the camera aside and thinking about the beer, rather than about documenting the day for social media.
There are many reasons why homebrewers do what they do. For some, it’s about having very good beer for very little cost. For others, it’s about replicating that favourite brew. Some like to perfect, others like to experiment wildly. Homebrewing gives everyone access to indulgent or extreme beers that are difficult or expensive to buy. For many, the aim is to understand and master the processes and ingredients of brewing to come to a better understanding of the beer they enjoy.
Whatever one’s objective, it is good to get back to basics from time to time. It can remind the jaded homebrewer that this hobby can be as simple and rewarding as rustling up a cup of tea. But it also encourages a focus on the essentials of the discipline: getting conversion temperatures just right; paying proper attention to the bittering and aromatic qualities of a particular type of hop; creating the optimal environment in which a carefully-nurtured yeast can thrive.
And so my latest brew is a single malt, single hop pale ale, of moderate starting gravity and unfined in the kettle. Is it a palate cleanser, brewed in anticipation of something more adventurous in the run-up to Christmas? Yes. But then again, these simple, unfussy beers often turn out to be among a homebrewers’ best.
“Mosaic” (October 2019)
In the mash:
- 3.0kg of Maris Otter malt
- 500g of Wheat
- 60 minutes of rest
In the boil:
- 40g of Mosaic hops for 60 mins
- 60g of Mosaic hops for 5 mins
- 90 minute boil
Fermented with Wyeast Laboratories 1272 “America Ale II”
Starting Gravity: 1.044 / 11° Plato
Finishing Gravity: 1.012