I’m rather proud of the beer that appears in the rather crappy photo that accompanies this post. That’s because it’s the result of my first attempt at an extract home brew. At least that’s what I think it’s called – to be honest I’m not entirely sure of the definition of extract brewing.
Anyway, what I did was steep the grains in a mini mash, then pour that into a big pot and start the boil with a bit of malt and various hops (amarillo and galaxy). Then it all went into the fermenter with a can of Cooper’s extract. Which is why I think it’s called an extract brew.
It’s called The Dodger in my tradition of giving all Staircase Brewery beers names that take far too much effort to explain. I started out wanting to make a clone of Rogers from Little Creatures but, after I got the recipe all sorted, I actually taste a Rogers for the first time in ages and found myself less than impressed. That necessitated some tinkering with the recipe – adding some of my old favorite, the galaxy hop, to give it a better flavour. So I dodged the Rogers clone – it was originally to be named Roger the Dodger but I shortened it to The Dodger.
See, I told you the name took too much effort to explain.
I cracked the first one tonight, after a week in bottles (I know there’s a two-week minimum but I couldn’t wait to try it). The aroma is of mild fruitiness, which you’d expect from the galaxy. The body is a bit thin, but I suspect that’s because Rogers is a mid-range alcohol beer so there’s going to be a bit less body (at least I think that’s how it goes).
The thing that impresses me is the level of bitterness from the hops. Previously I’d only ever made beers from cans and steeped the hops, which doesn’t give any real bitterness. But with the boiling of the hops, it’s like the bitterness and flavour has gained some depth and complexity. I can see why people say doing a boil instantly improves the quality of the beer you make, because this Dodger is closer in structure and flavour to a professionally made beer than any other one I’ve ever made.
After I made this one, I told my wife I’d only ever pull the pot out and boil up some beer occasionally because it was all so time-consuming. After tasting the first result of that new process, I think I might be doing more extract brews than I thought.