I cracked into my latest homebrew last night, a clone of Bells Two Hearted Ale, and I have to say it kind of sucks. It’s not awful like the Wheat I brewed last year, but it’s deeply mediocre. It has me questioning why I bother brewing beer at all – why put so much time and effort into creating something I really don’t like?
Every beer I’ve brewed so far has been from a Northern Brewer extract kit, and each has had a “taste” to it – an unpleasant bitterness that is out of balance with the malt backbone. I’ve brewed a porter, a wheat, and a pale ale, and each have shared this trait. It doesn’t seem to be a hop thing; they just all have a nasty undertaste. I’ve heard great stuff about Northern Brewer, so I don’t think it’s a quality issue.
When I shared my frustration with my wife last night (in the form of an “I quit”), she had what seemed like a pretty good suggestion – stop brewing with syrup and pellets and go all-grain. Most everyone (except for Zac) says that going all-grain makes a world of difference, so this might be just the thing I need to make beers that I actually want to drink.
But do I really want to spend the money to find out? I think going all-grain is going to cost me another $250 or so, which isn’t the end of the world, but do I really want to sink the extra dollars into something I’m thinking about giving up on?
So here’s my question to all of you experienced home brewers – do you think going all-grain will allow me to make beers that I truly enjoy, or is the difference subtle enough that it won’t solve my problem? Or perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree – maybe it’s something else I’m doing wrong that’s making my beer taste like crap.
Any insights are deeply appreciated.