Homebrew Review

In case you missed the author’s note that ended my last article: I’ve decided to put recent unfortunate experiences behind me and reboot beer(ein)stein with an article that’s actually about beer. My beer!

As you might remember, a few months ago my friend Ryan and I threw some water, barley, hops, and yeast into a big bucket and made our first batch of beer. This experiment produced a Belgian-style tripel, which typically showcases high ABVs and golden, effervescent bodies. As you can see in the photo, mine turned out a little different. But it’s still richly flavored and potent as all hell — and, best of all, it doesn’t taste like dishwater!

Brewery: Me, baby!
Style: Tripel?
ABV: around 9-10%
IBU: No idea
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Goblet
Serving Temp: 60°F
Price Range: $30 for like 40 bottles! Ah, homebrewing.


What I notice first is the foam. The last time I saw my beer, it was sloshing around in its fermentation vessel, a syrupy mess buoying a few large, lazy bubbles. But now, weeks later, the cap pops off and mist glides out.

A foamy knoll builds as it pours. Beneath it, the beer comes into view: It’s an inky, earthy brown with crimson edges that emerge in the light. I like the looks of it, but not because it resembles a tripel; most tripels are bright and bubbly, whereas this brew has more in common with an American strong ale like Stone’s Arrogant Bastard or a “dark tripel” like Gulden Draak, which Beer Advocate lists as a strong dark ale.

So how’s the smell? A bit like bubble gum and flowers soaked in alcohol. On the first sip I taste the rich, malty caramels I’ve come to expect from Tripels, but they’ve been amplified and augmented by a dry bite and some earthy hop bitterness. These are unusual for the style, but they’re not unpleasant, even if the delicate hops seem strained under all that malt. Still, not bad!

As it aged, my “tripel” began developing a weird tomato undercurrent (this was after two months or so in the bottle), but the crisp carbonation; earthy, oaky bitterness; and intense sweet flavors held things together and masked these oddities. For the most part.

So, my first beer was pretty good, albeit slightly weird for the style. All in all, it tasted more like a lightly hopped American strong ale than a Belgian tripel — when it was younger (read: minus the tomatoes) it even tasted a little like Dogfish Head’s Immort Ale. Thus, as a strong ale, it held up fairly well under my practiced palate; as a tripel, however, it left me dissatisfied. I consider it both a success — because it tasted nice (for a while) — and a failure because I have no idea why it turned out the way it did, and once it got there it didn’t age particularly well, despite the high ABV.

Next time, I’m aiming for a stout. I hope it doesn’t come out tasting like a pilsner.


Food Pairing:

Because I had so many bottles, I drank my beer with almost every food type that springs to mind, and it paired well with most of them. But I don’t know why I’m offering recommendations, because you can’t buy my beer in stores (yet), and I’ll never be able to recreate this. Which makes this whole review seem a bit pointless. Bah!

15 Responses to “Homebrew Review”
  1. Kris says:

    I do not like tomatoes sir, I do not like them I am sure. I would not eat them in my house I would not eat them with a mouse I would not eat them on a boat, I would not eat them with a goat, I do not like tomatoes sir, I do not like them I AM SURE!
    BUT, I still would like to try your beer.

  2. Deb says:

    I liked it!

  3. Scott says:

    Anyone notice Godzilla yet? 😀

  4. Shawn says:

    do you ship to CA? is it all gone?

  5. Sandy says:

    although I’m not a poet
    I would like to know it
    your home brewed beer
    that is, please dear

    • Scott says:

      I’m enjoying the poetic tone developing in this thread! It makes me think that you’ve all been drinking. 😀

  6. Shane says:

    I know it is probably all gone by now, but I say: you have 20 years or so to perfect your techniques before we open up a brewpub or something like that. (I predict the Military will be through with me in 20 years or so – hopefully)

Leave A Comment