Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cyclops Your Own!

As an act of solidarity, and also the fact that I have gained a bit of weight lately, I am going on a two week carb fast, which regrettably includes drinking no alcohol for a fortnight. This is something I do reasonably regularly, so it isn't anything drastic or dramatic - but it was the excuse I gave myself for doing a comparative tasting of the two versions of Experimental Dark Matter.

First a quick re-cap. When I made the beer a few weeks ago, I ended up with two different original gravities in the carboys - one was 1.040 and the other was 1.052, that 10° and 13° Balling respectively if I did my calculations correctly. The reason for two different gravities I think was the rather less than scientific approach that I took. Any way, after a few days of nervous waiting, both carboys fermented away to their hearts content.

When I bottled the beers, I did so about 5 days apart because the stronger of the two was still bubbling a bit and I knew that it wouldn't harm the beer to sit for a few days more. Plus I made such a bog of bottling the first that I decided a jerry can with tap was just what the doctor, and the wife fed up with sticky tiles, ordered. I also carbonated the stronger beer slightly differently - I used more priming solution, and hoped that the bottles didn't explode.

To the beers themselves, which I will do Cyclops style, first up the 10°, which had an ABV of 4.1%.

  • Sight - light ruby, small tan head
  • Smell - smoke, molasses, bitter chocolate
  • Taste - light caramel, faint hops, slightly sour
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
Personally I thought this version was a bit thin in the body, and while it tasted fine it wasn't something that I would drink several pints of, I also under-carbonated it.

Next up the 13° with a 4.8% ABV.

  • Sight - dark ruby, tight tan head
  • Smell - smoke, treacle, dark chocolate
  • Taste - burnt toffee, smoke, dark chocolate
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
This was much better, and very close to what I was trying to achieve - the body was much fuller and rounded, lacking that slightly sour tang of the 10°. Being smug, I wouldn't have been disappointed if served this in a pub.
So my first brewing experience was successful, I got something drinkable at the end of it all, and in the 13° version, something enjoyable. It is shame I only have 10 bottles in total left, and 6 of the strong one - might use the 10° for some cooking....


  1. Sounds really good, well done.

  2. Nice one. Glad they turned out well, especially the stronger one - it looks and sounds great!!

  3. Good to hear, Al. You've got me thinking of doing some smoked malt homebrewing experiments of my own.

  4. Well done! One down...infinity to go.

  5. Can't wait to try some when Im over. Its a pity im flying Ryanair or I could have checked my bags and brought some of mine over. Its just not worth €30 to check a bag. You may get lucky though. If its going to be cold then we will need warm clothes so might have to check one bag. If so, I will bring a few bottles over.



I worked out the other day that each day I was in Prague I walked about 7-8km, which is about 4.5-5 miles in old money. The longest walk tho...