Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fermentation Friday – Others Opinion of My Best Beer

This Fermentation Friday is a tough one for me...

“What, in the opinion of others, is the best beer you have ever made and why?

I don't have the experience or long track record of unique and awesome brews that most of the home brewing community has. I'm still just getting my feet wet, and only strayed from recipe kits once so far. That being said, a couple of the beers I've made received what I would consider notable positive feedback, here's the short list...

English Pale Ale
One comment I got on the English Pale Ale I made convinced me to embrace home brewing for the long haul. My friend, who does not compliment lightly, said, "This is much better than Bass Ale!" This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but for me it was. Bass Ale was the first non-American light lager beer that I embraced in my college days. I still enjoy one on occasion when I visit a bar with a limited variety. To be hailed as better was a big deal for me indeed! Others were genuinely surprised that I was able to brew a beer that tasted so good. So positive comments were readily available on this beer. There's nothing better than getting that positive reinforcement.

Holiday Ale
My mother in-law and brother in-law, not big beer drinkers, loved the holiday ale I made last winter. I still have a few bottles stashed away, mostly because I don't care much for it. But "Mom" has asked me to hold them for her to enjoy up in the snowing back woods of Maine this Christmas. A few of my friends also seemed to like it, although the 9% ABV may have something to do with that. The second one always seems better... I would say this brew was my least favorite, but got the most universal acclaim. And I find that very odd indeed...

Final Thoughts
These were the two beers that seemed to stick out from the crowd, regardless of what I may have thought of them. I wonder how much of the positive reviews had more to do with the styles I brew rather than the over all quality of what I brewed. As I develop my brewing skills and methods, I hope to also create my own unique recipes. Once I get to that point, positive feedback will be all the more critical to my fragile little home brewing ego...


  1. This is one of those questions that might at first seem to lend itself to the experienced brewer. However, your post really highlights another aspect familiar to all beginning homebrewers. At first we all tend to share with family and friends not beer judges, so there's going to be some bias inherent in their comments. It wasn't until many many years into the hobby did I really get a feel for what people liked or disliked about my beer, despite what they said. Mostly because I didn't share with a large number of people and was always brewing something different.

    Interesting about the holiday ale. Like Bunz said this might be considered a gateway beer like his R squared.

    Here's to many more brews and the people you get to share them with!

  2. Hey there Adam, good points... Who would you recommend I do share my beers with? If not friends and family then who?

    One thing I've been trying to do is get some of my buddies into brewing and craft beer. I figured if I can help lift up their beer taste and experience a bit, I'll have a more seasoned audience for my brews.

    Once I start getting more into developing my own recipes, I'd love to run my beer by actually judges, but I think it'll be some time before I'm ready for that...

  3. Ok...I think I may be sending the wrong message. In my humble opinion you are doing exactly what you should be doing. Period.

    I really should have read that comment over before I posted it. I was trying to say that your early experiences are very important in this whole conversation. Even though you say you don't have the experience. I was trying to say that I think many of us have had similar experiences. Sorry I couldn't quite put that to words. (wince)

    The feedback you received is valid and important. I also know that it can just felt weird when somebody liked something that I didn't. I had a hard time sorting that out. All I can say is that time tends to sort that stuff out a bit.

    Hey, I'm no expert. I haven't even entered a homebrew contest after umpteen years of brewing.


  4. Ahh... No worries, I hear where you are coming from... My only point is, as I learn, I try to elevate those around me a bit also. The more they know, the better they can provide feedback. I'm more or less learning and trying to bring them along with me for the ride...

  5. This is true. Hey, just having them pay attention to flavors will eventually get them thinking.

    Before you know it they'll be brewing too :-)

  6. I think my buddy Kenn is really starting to develop a more mature pallet... He may even get into home brewing, as he has helped with my last couple of batches and seems to enjoy it... My other buddy Dave jumped into home brewing head first...

  7. So if people hang out with you...they start brewing beer. Good to know. We could use a few more people like you ;-)

  8. Either that, or they come over and hang out as I do it... a good conversation piece I guess and an excuse to hang out and have a few...


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