Saturday, August 14, 2010

Serve The Good Stuff

I've got a small homebrewing problem which ultimately leads to a moral question of sorts. Here's the problem part. I have two five gallon kegs of beer that I don't care for that much. One I care for much less than the other. The first beer is slightly under attenuated because the yeast went dormant when I let the fermentation room get too cold one night and I was never able to get it up and going again which resulted in it being somewhat sweet even though it's suppose to be an IPA. In addition to that, it has a strange hop character to it that is the results of a strange, albeit creative, hop schedule which although imbued with good intentions, failed to deliver on the idea. Now, I wish that I'd thought twice before using that particular hop schedule. Fortunately I take good notes when I brew so I won't repeat this calamity. The second keg of beer is a pale ale which is extremely dry and consequently on the bitter side for the style. This beer I consider marginally better than the first but not up to my standards.

O.K. so this is not really a big problem but it's annoying in any case. For awhile now I've been blending the first beer with the other inferior beer to get me through the kegs. What has helped is that because the second beer is especially dry it lends a balance to the two. After some sampling, and a bit of concentrated effort I figured that if I fill a third of a glass of the first beer followed by two thirds of the second that I get a pint of reasonably drinkable beer. I've been blending these ales like this for awhile but I'm not liking it. Every time I have to pour one, it's a reminder of the compromise needed to make up for my lack of brewing skills or technique. A sad reflection on my abilities. The bad news is that it doesn't end with a test of my confidence and self esteem, it will unfortunately also eventually lead to the first problem keg still being two thirds full when the second keg is empty. What do I do with over three gallons of almost undrinkable beer?

Now for the moral dilemma.
When serving up your homebrew to friends, not close friends, but acquaintances like co-workers, neighbors or fellow homebrew club members, should you give them your good stuff or pass off the swill that you don't care that much about or in fact can't stand? I suspect that some may find my under-attenuated and strangely hopped beer to be within there description of 'reasonable homebrew', at least that's what I tell myself. They may drink it without complaint, even enjoy it. They may have had plenty of really bad homebrew and think this one is good in comparison but is this acceptable to me, a brewer who holds pride in his craft, serving beer that I don't like myself?

Here's a hypothetical situation. You have two types of homebrew in your fridge, one is an almost full keg of a marginal but drinkable beer that you drink regularly but wish was better every time you take a sip. The second is a limited amount of beer your very proud of and consider it one of your best endeavors. Now, it's time to take a generous sample of your brew to share with acquaintances. Which do you choose?


Scott Schluter said...

If you like Radlermass, you might be able to get something drinkable out of either one or both by pouring on top of half a glass of lemonade.

Beer Diary... said...

Thanks for the suggestion Scott. For those that are unfamiliar with this blend of German lager and lemonade called Radlermass go to:
I'm not sure if my hoppy ales will mix well but I'll try and let you know.

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