Tastes like chicken
Fri Jul 13 2007
The Homebrew Project is over and I am still alive. I am also, I must admit, powerfully buzzed. Just throwing that out there.
The taste test was a fun event (though maybe not for those who hoped to see me keel over from the wine). After transferring my grape concoction from its glass carboy to a plastic bucket, I dredged up a portion of it for consumption. It looked like rainwater that had festered in a ditch of red clay for about two weeks. TONY editor-in-chief Brian Farnham asked questions about the wine's origins, and I gave some type of Mr. Wizard spiel about the oxidation in the wine being analogous to an apple core that's been left out. The audience was less than rapt. I'm pretty sure they only wanted to see if I would vomit.
I ended the suspense with a generous quaff of my winelike substance. I believe I described the taste to the crowd as having "notes of cardboard." If I had to compare it to something real, I would say it shared some qualities with Greek retsina wines, particularly its mouth-puckering seaweed/rubber tire finish. Mr. Farnham (who was brave enough to try a few sips himself) paid the wine the highest compliment it could possibly receive when he said, "If I were completely wasted, I could drink that."
I deliberately left the beer for last, as I was confident it would be drinkable—and possibly good. Without much fanfare (and because I desperately wanted to banish the taste of the wine), I popped open a bottle and took a swig. It tasted good, with a satisfying fizz of carbonation. On the first sip I picked up hints of oatmeal, though the cinnamon flavor in the Quaker package I added was lost. When we poured the beer out into a glass, I could see it was very dark for a brown ale. In my opinion it also tasted richer and smokier than beers of this style normally do. And it was definitely, by subjective experience and general consensus, more alcoholic than most brews.
The final tally: one triumph and one (utterly predicted) failure. I can live with that. If I succeeded at every other venture I undertook, I'd surely be filing this post from my private plane instead of my sad little interior cubicle.
P.S. Due to the hour and my alcoholically induced lack of focus, I'll be saving my breakdown on the science of winemaking (and likely downfalls of my creation) until Monday.