Beer one (Black Rock Lager kit with 1kg sugar) will be “officially” finished tomorrow night, so I’m going to move some into the fridge and crack it open on Friday night. I say “officially” finished because it will be finished according to the kit instructions, though conventional wisdom says leaving it a few more weeks will improve the taste. So far – tasting in unfinished state – I’ve been relatively unimpressed, but I shouldn’t really have been drinking it, should I? ;) And compared to Beer two, which is turning into as saga, I’m going to be happy if Beer one is just drinkable!

Beer two (Black Rock Whispering Wheat kit with 1kg Muntons Wheat Spraymalt) was supposed to be the bees knees but at the moment is the bee gees knees. After restarting stuck fermentation three days ago with Amylase Enzyme, it has been slowly bubbling away. Last night I decided to see how far it has gone and found it hasn’t gone very far at all – about 0.002 points, to around 1.016-18. After posting a “How long does Amylase Enzyme take to kick fermentation to complete?” on various forums, replies have told me I’m in for a couple of weeks wait.

After doing the hydrometer reading, I took a sip of Beer two. It tastes like the beer has been mixed with baking soda – not good! But the beer is very cloudy and I think the Amylase Enzyme and yeast are currently in suspension actively working away, which is probably contributing to the taste. I left the sample out overnight and by this morning the top third had cleared, so I think (hope) the baking soda taste is temporary. It’s currently bubbling away slowly, about one bubble per 30-60 seconds. Maybe in the end this will turn into a star beer – I can only wait!

Beer three (All Centennial IPA extract beer) is the big hope for my first hassle free “gob smackingly good” beer! So far it’s been bubbling away nicely, today down to one bubble from the airlock every 8-10 seconds. I took a tiny sample yesterday. Seems to be some little bits of grain (or something) still floating around, but it is tasting good so far. Bitterness and caramel are a little bit weak and the aroma and centennial citrus taste are a little strong, but this is just after three days. It has another week or so before it is ready to go into bottles, and then another two weeks or so before it is drinkable, so lots of time for the flavours to settle down. Definitely the best tasting so far. Actually tastes like an IPA!

I can’t believe I’ve done all this work and I don’t yet have a beer that is drinkable!

Beer four? My hope was that Beer two would be finished this week and so I’d rack it (move it) to my third bucket with some orange peel and coriander then start Beer four in Beer two’s bucket. However it looks like Beer two will be fermenting away for a while so I think I’ll start Beer four in the spare third bucket. (You followed that OK, right? All these numbers is getting confusing!)

Current choices for Beer four are Brewferm Cherry Kriek kit or Black Rock East India IPA kit (I’ll be adding hops and grain to this). I want to do the Kriek but it takes so long to make (two weeks in the primary bucket plus 6-8 weeks in bottles) and I really need to have some “drinkable” beers made! So I think Beer four will be the IPA – which has the bonus that I’ll have two IPAs ready at about the same time. Will be good to compare the extract IPA with the kit IPA.

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