It has now been almost 4 days since our beer was released into the wild. It's been really interesting to hear some of the responses people have had to the beer, some of which validates our own thoughts and critiques and some of which has been more surprising. Either way, I wanted to give you all my perspective on these first batches, and let you know what to expect from batches two through infinity.
Probably the most important thing to know: they're all going to get ~20% better. Here's how:
1) Lomaland. This was the very first batch we brewed, and we were still figuring out how all of our new equipment worked. Even when you have very experienced folks running that new equipment, it's still the first time. As a consequence, we accidentally knocked the wort out way too cold (~60 degrees). Our yeast blend (95% Dupont/5% Westmalle) really needs to be much warmer than that to do its thing properly, so this batch really dragged during fermentation, never developing its full ester profile and failing to dry out the beer enough. The yeast also didn't really properly flocculate, and the result is a bit of a hef-y character. All that said, I still think this first batch is pretty damn good and shows the potential for the beer. We've already got batch 2 & 3 in the tank, and I'm entirely confident we've addressed the issues with batch 1. It's smelling really earthy and complex, as Dupont yeast should, and it's drier. We also increased the Czech Saaz addition in the whirlpool to give it a more noticeable grassy/peppery hop quality, which is definitely adding to the complexity and aroma.
2) Fortunate Islands. I'm very happy with how this batch turned out. Not sure it'll get 20% better, maybe more like 5-10%. Basically just some tweaks and then we'll stop messing with it. Very proud of this beer.
3) Blazing World. This was probably the most problematic of the 4 to brew. On the pilot scale, we had so many different hop additions, it was a major headache to figure out how to scale it up. We tried a bunch of different things, and not all of them worked. The result is a beer that is more bitter and less aromatic than I would like and a bit darker than intended (the slightly low carbonation might also play a role in the muted aroma). In the pilot batches, the Nelson/Mosaic aroma just leaped out of the glass, and unfortunately that's not the case with the first big batch. But once again, we've already got the next round in the tank, and I'm confident we've figured it out. Hopefully you won't be able to walk within a few feet of a pint without smelling it this time.
4) Black House. Quite happy with how this turned out, although there's a learning curve involved here too. We'll play around with the roast malts a bit, probably subbing some pale chocolate for chocolate in the next batch and making some more pH adjustments in the mash, but in general, this is not too far off target. Looking forward to giving it a bunch of different coffee treatments once we have some time on our hands.
In general, I'm pretty happy with how these turned out, although, as you can tell, I'm not completely satisfied (and probably never will be). Nonetheless, I think all of these beers are very much worth drinking and clearly demonstrate the potential each recipe has.
Thank you so much to everyone who has sought them out and offerred their feedback. It means the world to me to see people drinking Modern Times Beer!
Cheers & thanks,