Any veteran home brewer will tell you there’s no feeling like the one you get opening your first beer bottle from your rookie batch. Exactly 14 days after bottling my first beer (a pale ale), I stood in my kitchen with a bottle opener, ready to test my creation.
Before even bringing the opener to touch the top of the bottle cap, I starting thinking a million different things, like: what if it’s too early? What if I made a skunky batch because my early (albeit minor) mistakes were bigger than I thought? What if it simply isn’t a good beer?
I knew I was going to pop the top at some point anyways, and like it or not life would go on regardless of how my first beer brewing experiment would turn out. So with that, I opened the first of my 48 bottles of beer and took a swig.
My first reaction: not bad, not bad at all. The beer’s aroma was potent of hops and a fruity malt and had a dark golden glow; exactly what you want from a pale ale. The beer was meant to be brewed as such, and there was definitely the crisp, hoppy after taste I had come to expect from standard pale ales.
The most surprising, and prevalent, taste in the beer was a malty flavor that was reminiscent of a medium-bodied amber ale. The crisp, pilsner-like taste that showed up immediately upon drinking the beer can be attributed to the beer’s young age. I’d expect the beer to grow into its full, hoppy self as it matures over the next few weeks.
The only noticeable imperfection in the smell, look, and taste of the beer was the sediment at the bottom of each bottle. Yeast and hops settling aren’t a huge issue, as they don’t take anything away from the beer except aesthetics and are actually rich in B vitamins. But in my next batch I’ll utilize the screen in the funnel to sift out the sediment before bottling.
Overall, if I was a teacher and had to grade my first beer making kit test, I’d give myself a B+. I had a few minor missteps boiling the wort and failing to take a hydrometer reading, but neither was a massive setback that killed my confidence in my rookie batch.
Each mistake is easily correctable, and I’ve already got a plan for the next brewing experiment with my beer making kit (a hefe wheat beer).