Last weekend I opened up a bottle of the honey ale, now 3 weeks bottle conditioned and lo and behold, it was finally ready for a tasting. Sharing my brew on Christmas Day with family proved to be nerve-wracking. You see my brothers and sisters and their spouses love to drink. Obscure Belgian lambics, they’ve had them. Cask-conditioned sour ales, they’ve tried ’em. They were hitting brewpubs and drinking craft beer years before the craze. So, I poured two bottles and dolled out the ale. Turns out the first bottle was sweet and rich, but could have used a bit of carbonation, the other was just about perfect, well carbonated, great head, and somewhat less sweet, and pale–but all in all a fantastic ale. So, I gave everyone two bottles each and told them to drink them in a week’s time.
As I suspected, I should have given the batch a more aggressive priming of sugar with a better mixing job before bottling. Hence the difference bottle to bottle. I will open one more tomorrow for tasting before finally refrigerating them to stop whatever tiny amount of residual carbonation might be taking place. And in honor of my spirit animal, I chose a stag’s head as my mark and designed a custom stamp for my brewing efforts. Hey don’t laugh, I have a spirit animal, don’t you?