Beer With Me Nano Brewery Batch 004 A,B,C and D

Citra Enslig Humle, Rabarbrapapa, Nektaripa and Citratron by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, IPA/Fruit Beer, 6 % ABV, 60 IBU.

For my fourth batch of home brew I wanted to experiment a bit, and try to add other ingredients to the beer that just water, yeast, malt and hops. I made a simple Citra single-hop IPA as the base recipe, and after a week in the primary I racked part of the beer into three separate fermenters where I added nectarine purée, a rhubarb/honey mix and lemon balm tea. See the brewlog for further details.

The four beers turned out quite differently, so I’ll start with the two most similar beers, Batch 004 A and 004 C: Citra Enslig Humle and Nektaripa. They are both dry hopped with Citra, and in addition the Nektaripa is, believe it or not, the one with nectarine purée in the secondary.

Citra Enslig Humle and Nektaripa. Both dry hopped single-hop IPAs, with additional nectarine purée in Nektaripa.

In the glass the Citra Enslig Humle looks quite clear, at least the first glass. There are much sediments at the bottom of the bottle, and they make the second glass hazy. The colour is medium amber to orange, the head is average sized, white, reduces to a film with some build-up at the walls after a short time, and leaves some lacing on the glass. The Nektaripa on the other hand is very hazy even from the beginning, there are lots of tiny fruit particles suspended in the beer. The second glass turns out quite cloudy. There’s is almost no head, and no lacing, and the beer looks disappointingly flat.

The aroma of Citra Enslig Humle is rather intense, magnificently hoppy and tremendously fruity, with tons and tons of ripe tropical fruits. I’m really satisfied, I think I’ve found the perfect amount of aroma hops! The aroma of the Nektaripa is a bit less intense, and is more real fruity, not as hoppy fruity. The nectarines really shine through, in a slightly over-ripe way. The Nektaripa feels a bit less refreshing than Citra Enslig Humle, but still it has a wonderful aroma.

The taste of Citra Enslig Humle is light sweet and the finish is quite heavy bitter. Nektaripa is a bit sweeter and feels less bitter, and frankly a bit bland. The flavour follows the aroma of both beers, Citra Enslig Humle has strong notes of refreshing tropical fruits, while Nektaripa is laden with real, well ripened nectarines. I can imagine that some would claim that this is too much of a fruit beer and that the flavours of the hops are too masked, but I really like this fruit basket. Still, in a future version I would probably try reduce the amount of nectarine purée, to see if I can get the best of both worlds.

On the palate Citra Enslig Humle is a bit too thin and watery, but the carbonation is pleasantly soft. Nektaripa has a bit fuller body, and the texture is more oily. When I was bottling Nektaripa with all its fruity remnants, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t make lots of gushers, or even worse, lots of bottle bombs, so I primed with less sugar than I did for the other beers. That was obviously a big mistake, because this beer is close to flat, and that really ruins the mouthfeel.

Then for the two last beers: Rabarbrapapa and Citratron. In the glass Citratron looks a bit like Citra Enslig Humle, i.e. the first glass is clear medium amber, the second glass is hazy. Rabarbrapapa is cloudy. Both beers have rather small, frothy, white, short-lived heads.

Rabarbrapapa and Citratron: single-hop Citra IPAs, not dry-hopped, but with rhubarb/honey and lemon balm.

The aroma of Citratron has unfortunately not gained anything positive from the lemon balm tea, quite the opposite, actually. Instead of an additional layer of citric crispiness, I only get wet plants and compost. Ok, I do get some notes of citrus and lemon balm as well, but the rotting organic material is more obvious. The tropical peachy notes are still there, but these elements aren’t as strong as for Citra Enslig Humle and Nektaripa, not so strange given that this beer isn’t dry hopped. However, the aroma of Rabarbrapapa is completely different, much stronger and very sweet! I had forgotten that I had added some 30 grams of honey to this batch, but this addition really comes through very well! In addition to the tropical notes, there is lots of sugary candy sweetness and honey. Not bad at all!

When it comes to the taste the Citratron is quite similar to Citra Enslig Humle, i.e. a light sweetness and a rather heavy bitter finish. On the palate these two beers also feel quite similar. The flavour profile on the other hand is more resinous, the tropical notes are not as strong and the compost notes of the lemon balm are a bit disturbing. Now, for the Rabarbrapapa. This is another creature all together! It’s much sweeter and the finish feels considerably less bitter, but there is a magnificent acidity that really kicks in in the aftertaste. Such a fun contrast to the very sweet aroma! I don’t think I get much rhubarb flavorous, this sneaky little plant has given most of its efforts to the acidity. I don’t know if it’s the honey or the rhubarb remnants that lifts the mouthfeel to a higher level, but the body is far fuller than any other brews I’ve made, and the texture is smooth and oily. The carbonation is nice and soft.

Conclusion: The aroma and flavour of Citra Enslig Humle and Nektaripa are wonderfully tropical, but the mouthfeel of both beer isn’t quite up there, especially the close to flat carbonation of the Nektaripa is not fitting at all. The Rabarbrapapa is very different but tasty, acidic and interesting, while the Citratron is a bit spoiled by compost notes, without being a complete disaster. The two beers with added fruits had fuller bodies than the other two, especially the Rabarbrapapa. Conclusion of the conclusion: I’m slowly getting there!

Citra Enslig Humle (Batch 004 A):
Aroma:      8
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   12
Ratebeerscore: 3.3

Rabarbrapapa (Batch 004 B):
Aroma:      7
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     4
Overall:   12
Ratebeerscore: 3.3 

Nektaripa (Batch 004 C):
Aroma:      8
Appearance: 2
Taste:      7
Palate:     2
Overall:   11
Ratebeerscore: 3.0

Citratron (Batch 004 D):
Aroma:      5
Appearance: 3
Taste:      6
Palate:     3
Overall:   11
Ratebeerscore: 2.8


Beer With Me Nano Brewery Hip Hop Hooray

Hip Hop Hooray by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, IIPA (yeah right!), 7.5 % ABV, 145 IBU

Once again I rate one of my own creations, or to be exact, two of them. These beers are identical, but one of them, Batch 003 A, was dryhopped with Simcoe in the secondary for a week, while Batch 003 B didn’t receive this final dose of hops. The goal with this beer was to make an extremely hoppy IIPA, but I completely missed the OG and FG that I aimed for in my debut as a BIAB-brewer, so I’m not sure if this brew actually can be labelled an IIPA. See the brewlog for details.

Hip Hop Hooray Simcoe Dry Hop Edition

The two beers pours a very hazy (but not as cloudy as I’d feared) body with a medium to light amber colour. It’s not anywhere near opaque, which I suspected would be the result of the treatment this brew got: after boiling the wort cooled in an airtight bucket until the next day, then I pitched the yeast. The head seems a bit bigger and slightly more creamy on the dry hopped version, although I’d still call it rather frothy. The head sticks around for some time and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

The aroma of Batch 003 B is very strong and very nice indeed! It’s sweet and heavy fruity with lots of tropical notes like mango and peach. The dry hopped beer has an even more intense aroma that is less sweet and noticeably sharper with a stinging and close to grassy hop pellet feel. The fruity notes are a bit less noticable, although the mango and peach are still present. There is also some sweet strawberry notes and some very faint traces of alcohol. One of my test bunnies claimed she got some cat pee notes from the dry hopped beer, and I’ve got to agree: Hello Kitty! (I hereby trademark that name for an upcoming Simcoe single hop IPA!). The dry hopping certainly brings new elements to the aroma, but I think I was a bit too generous: 17 g hops in in an 8 L batch is too much, I’ll half the amount the next time.

If you pour this beer really carefully its possible to end up with a body that isnt that cloudy.

The taste is light sweet and the long-lasting finish is incredibly bitter. The bitterness is stinging and almost a bit harsh, but I like it, and it’s exactly what I was after, apart from the fact that this is by no means an IIPA. There is far too little sweetness and there are just faint traces of malty flavours. The hops are totally dominant, with strong fruity notes, grapefruit and resin. I’m not sure if the lack of maltiness is due to the excessive use of hops or that I put in too little Crystal and/or Vienna. The flavour profile is clean, without any diacetyl or other obvious flaws. The dry hopped beer is a bit crisper and more refreshing than Batch 003 B, and the bitterness feels even sharper.

The body isn’t exactly light, but it feels less full than what an IIPA should be like. For a regular IPA however, it’s quite all right. The texture is rather dry, and the combined with the mouthdrying bitter finish this is another element that doesn’t fit my picture of an IIPA. The carbonation is soft and pleasant.

Conclusion: wonderful and intense aroma and flavour. The taste is very bitter, a bit too violently bitter to be really pleasant, but still a very nice brew. But it’s absolutely not an IIPA.

Dry hopped version:
Aroma:      7
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     2
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.1

No dry hopping:
Aroma:      8
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     2
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.2


Beer With Me Nano Brewery Old Man

Old Man, Batch 002. Enjoyed 3 weeks after bottling.

Old Man by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, India Pale Ale, 6.6 % ABV, 76 IBU.

Another rating of one of my beers, but I’ll try to be as objective as possible… Old Man is loosely inspired by the Nøgne Ø Pale Ale recipe, but it’s beefed up to be an IPA with major changes both in the grain bill and hops schedule. My goal was to make a bitter IPA with strong citric notes, a smooth mouthfeel and with a quite light colour. See the brew log for further details.

The beer do have a light colour, but oh my, what have I done to make such an utter opaque body? It’s light yellow with a slight amber tint, but it’s also remarkably whitish, it like a mix of beer and milk! This looks more like a dirty Belgian wit than an IPA! The slightly off-white head though has a nice initial size, it’s creamy and reduces to a fully lasting layer of decent thickness. It even laces the glass pretty well.

The aroma is strong and to my surprise it’s pleasant and absolutely clean! I’ve also obtained my goal of making a citric beer: this one is packed with grapefruit, lemon and orange. Also other fruity hints, but the citrus is definitely in charge here. In the back lurk some spices and herbs.

The taste is moderate sweet initially and the finish is moderate to heavy bitter. The flavours are moderate to strong and dominated by the citrus, again grapefruit, lemon and orange. Also a bit resin and some very faint traces of yeast. Simple but quite nice, and the citric bitter finish is very long-lasting. I often complain about too obvious alcohol in home-brews, but in this one I find the alcohol well integrated. I don’t get any butter as I did with my Batch 001 Pale Ale, so I guess the extra week in the fermenter did the trick.

50% beer, 50% milk? No, its an Old Man IPA!

The mouthfeel is smooth and pleasant with a medium body, but here’s something about the carbonation that doesn’t feel quite right. It sort of disappears too quickly, leaving the beer too softly carbonated too soon.

Conclusion: a horrible looking beer with a very nice aroma, taste and flavour.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 2
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.1


Beer With Me Nano Brewery Nøgne Ø Pale Ale

Nøgne Ø Pale ale (left), Beer With Me Nano Brewery Pale Ale Batch 001 (right)

Nøgne Ø Pale Ale by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, 7.1% ABV, 40 IBU.

An absolutely 100% objective rating coming up, this is the rating of my very first homebrew! My Batch 001 is the Nøgne Ø Pale Ale all-grain beer-kit, which according to Nøgne should be fool proof. Guess I’m a fool, then. Please see my brewlog for details about the brewing process.

I had bought a bottle of Nøgne Ø’s own Pale Ale, and my attempt at recreating this very nice beer will mercilessly be compared to the Correct Answer™.

The colour of Batch 001 is light amber, quite similar to the original. It is however much cloudier, Nøgne Ø’s ale only has a good-looking haze. The head of my beer is smaller, has a shorter life-time and doesn’t lace the glass as well as Nøgne’s.

The aroma is… well… butter. Sweet butter and butterscotch are far too dominant, the refreshing fruits that are upfront in Nøgne’s beer are less obvious in mine. It’s not very bad, but something’s definitely gone wrong here. I suspect I bottled the beer too early (after 6 days), or could the butter be due to an infection?

The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter, far sweeter than Nøgne’s. There are some citric notes and grapefruit, but again the noisy butter ruins the experience. There is also a tad more obvious alcohol flavours in Batch 001 than in the real deal.

Yours truly admiring his (and Nøgne Ø's) work.

A good thing about the increased sweetness and the butter is that the mouthfeel is not that bad, I’d say a medium body and a quite oily texture. The carbonation however is a bit to soft, softer than the guys in Grimstad make.

Conclusion: I’ve actually managed to make a beer. The aroma and the taste is that of a beer. Not a good beer but it’s not entirely undrinkable. But I’ve definitely screwed up somewhere in the process.

Aroma:      4
Appearance: 3
Taste:      5
Palate:     3
Overall:    9
Ratebeer Score: 2.4

Addendum: after a couple of more weeks in the bottles the diacetyl is almost completely gone, and the beer is now nice and refreshing. It’s still too alcoholic, but both the Aroma and Taste is so much better, I’d say they are both close to a 7. A couple of my testers actually claimed that they liked my version better than the original in a direct comparison. I’m not sure if I would go that far, but it’s still tasty stuff!