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....

5 comments:

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

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

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

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  4. 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.

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