123 Beer: The Results


This post is actually a few weeks overdue but I have a good excuse. For one, we were on vacation in Orlando last week so there’s that. But the main reason is carbonation. Or really, the lack there of.

When we first began brewing I would always allow three full weeks for carbonation before cracking and sharing the bottles. The last few brews, however, we’ve only waited two weeks and it hadn’t been a problem until now.

As for 123 Beer, after two weeks I excitedly popped the top only to hear a complete lack of the tell tale “phssssssh” you get from a properly carbonated beer. I poured the bottle and had my fears confirmed, no carbonation. I went ahead and tasted it anyway, and while the flavor was good, it was mostly flat. (Rather than waste the bottle, Irene used it to cook some brats).

I decided to give it another week to see if that helped, and in the meantime did some research on what could be done if it still hadn’t carbonated. Most of these solutions seemed to center around the carbonating tabs you can get at home brew stores.

Fortunately this turned out not to be necessary as after another week the bottles seemed just fine.

Flavor wise, this is really a pretty good beer and has the distinctive Belgian/Saison flavor we were hoping for. The down side is the peppercorn flavor is pretty subdued. Some might consider this a good thing, but I was hoping for a little more prominence. I think if we brew this again I would add more peppercorn and add it a little sooner to the boil. This time I added it at the end of the boil, but I think I would give it a little more time.

So there you go. This weekend we are going to be brewing our holiday beer, a pumpkin porter using a recipe from Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head. So stay tuned for that.

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