Cherry Wheat (or let's see if we can go 2 for 2 on brewing)

I started a batch of Cherry Wheat over Labor Day weekend.  My second time attempting to brew felt markedly more comfortable than my first time.  I also managed to not break anything and to not do anything as stupid as putting my hand in the chilled wort.  On the other hand, this was definitely the brew of forgetfulness.  Seriously.  I actually put it away in the closet and realized a half hour later that I forgot to add the yeast.  At least I realized, I guess.

I was going to bottle on the 29th, but the nasty cold that worked its way through my department finally hit me.  While still sick, I was at least more functional/less medicated on October 4th, so it struck me as a good time to take care of bottling.  I am kind of puzzled how cat hair got inside the bottling bucket, but that's part of owning a cat, and everything got sanitized before I used it anyway.

With the Pumpkin Wheat it smelled pretty much just like I expected when I cracked it open.  This batch... well, it smelled beery, but not how I expected even taking into consideration that the cherry extract had not yet been added.  So we'll see.  The ABV of 4.73% is under projected, but then my specific gravity readings did not quite match up with the projections either.

Speaking of forgetting things, I almost started bottling without adding the simple syrup or the cherry extract.  And then there's the multiple times I forgot to check if the spigot on the bottling bucket was open or closed...

I do most of my bottling in these half liter brown Heinkein bottles (the labels say ""Hors concours membre de jury paris 1900" and "Grand Prix Paris 1889").  The larger bottle size is nice because it means fewer bottles are needed and I have these awesome cases to hold them in.  However with the Pumpkin Wheat I discovered the downside to using unique bottles - it's awkward to give them as gifts.  With that in mind this time around I deliberately bottled a portion in normal sized bottles that I won't be upset to not get back.

Fast forward two weeks.  I finally get to try the beer.  Huzzah!

This batch did not come out how I expected.  When I think of "Cherry Wheat" I think of the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, a rather sweet and light tasting beer.  This batch came out more... beery?  Rather than a light and sweet flavor it had more of a sour cherry taste.  It wasn't bad, but wasn't what I expected.  As for whether to call this a success or failure I relied on a tried and true measure of feedback on consumables, I brought it with me to game.

For a quick note of explanation, I take part in a quasi-monthly Star Wars role-playing game (character sheets, dice, the whole nine yards).  We all generally bring some sort of food item (homemade bread, not so homemade pizza, apples, various sundry munchies).  One of the participants had experienced the Pumpkin Wheat and informed me that if I ever felt the desire to share my brewing again he would be happy to help out, and another felt that the best way to test the beer would be to bring it with me to game.  I feel that the response can be generalized as "damn tasty beer" (as well as disappointment that I had not brought more).

Next beer to tackle is a stout.  Not sure which yet as I have a few options.  My brew supply store has a Pumpking Stout clone (Imperial pumpkin stout, so yummy), as well as the standard coffee and chocolate stouts.  So we'll see what happens there.


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