Yogamat Brewery Presents Bikram Bittersweet Orange Ale

In an earlier post, I mentioned taking an introductory homebrew class at the Lexington Beerworks. My friend Grace Bussey and I put theory into practice at the beginning of June using the Brewer’s Best Summer Ale Kit.  The kit was extremely user friendly and we even modified the recipe with little or no detriment to the final outcome. We were going for a Blue Moon knock off and decided to add an entire bonus packet of bittersweet orange peel to the final ten minutes of the boil according to the rule of thumb for flavoring in homebrew that “the last thing you add will be the first thing you taste.” This was in addition to the standard kit flavoring packet containing bittersweet orange and lemon peel.

As a hobby, homebrew turned out to be a pretty relaxing affair. We spent our afternoons in the sunshine of Grace and Kenny’s driveway stirring, waiting, or simply hanging out and talking. From Brew Day to Debut, the entire process took about a month. After a week fermenting in the carboy, we bottled the beer where it would carbonate for about 2-3 weeks. 

In the meantime we had to name our beer. We wanted to debut our beer on the 4th of July and originally considered working Captain America into the name. However, we were talking on Bottling Day and commented on how useful Grace’s (sanitized) yoga mat had been in protecting the carboy from breaking and preventing other implements from being contaminated in the driveway. And thus was born Yogamat Brewery. Because our batch would be ready to drink in the hottest part of the summer we named it Bikram Bittersweet Orange for the hot yoga style and flavor of our beer.

We did make our July 4th Debut. The resulting beer was wheatier than expected but had a definite orange aroma. It may have been more appropriate to increase the orange flavor by adding the orange peel at the very end of the boil prior to fermentation in the carboy, but I was pretty pleased with our beer as it turned out. Our final alcohol content was 4.3%, the carbonation was satisfactory, and sedimentation in the bottles was minimal despite the fact we only used a single stage fermentation process (a secondary fermentation stage would have further clarified and reduced the natural sediment of the beer). 

We do plan to continue our brewing. Our next proposed variety is a pumpkin ale. Having never tasted this type, there may need to be a bit of “research” to determine if this is a good idea or just one of which we like the thought. Maybe this one could be called Vinyasa on the Vine? Comments welcome!

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