Dragon King and Marynka Porter Bottled

On January 26th, I brewed two beers on the same day. Dragon King Pale Ale was intended to be a 1.055, 40 IBU basic pale ale. Marynka Porter was meant to be a 1.047, 33 IBU basic porter, featuring Marynka hops.

This being my first batches with my new grain mill, I got unheard of efficiency, and ended up with a pair of 1.070 beers. That makes a really low IBU American IPA and a midrange Baltic Porter. Unfortunately, I didn't measure pre-boil gravity, so I didn't boost the hops accordingly. Both beers are expected to be a bit malt-leaning.

Today I bottled the two. Marynka's been done for a few days. Dragon King didn't seem as far along, but I figured now's the time.

Marynka ended up at 1.016. One point lower than BeerSmith predicted, even mashing at 155. There's just no stopping that dry yeast! And I didn't even rehydrate it. The beer has a nice dark grain aroma, with the taste to go along with it. The hops are subtle, as expected, and perhaps to style. Marynka is said to have a cedar, rootlike, licorice thing going on, and I can sort of pick up on that. I figured this would be a really nice complement to a Porter's dark malts. Now that it's a baltic porter, the Polish hops only make more sense. I am really happy with this one. There's a slight tang, and the body is a little light. I think I need to use more dark malts to get past that dark malt tang, and that will also deepen the body. I'll just have to ignore the SRM specs for dark beers that I make. Mean Giant RIS proves I love tons of dark malts.

Dragon King came out weird. I used two hops I don't normally use: Brewer's Gold and Ahtanum. Brewer's Gold was a 60 and 30 minute addition. It turns out that Brewer's Gold is sort of like a low alpha Chinook, which I am learning that I don't like too much. It has a real pukey smell to me, which might be more objectively described as intensely resiny and spicy. Big Slick IIPA has a lot of Chinook in it, and it is worse off for it. Maybe Columbus next time? Or Simcoe? Or ?? But Dragon King is no IIPA. With 40 IBU and 1.070, it is very mildly hopped. To say the least. But the Chinook makes a decent bitterness when you don't catch a whiff of them. The Ahtanum is said to contribute a distinctive sweet, citrus-zest character. Making the recipe, I thought "grapefruit" and thought maybe I had a Cascade option here. But it is more like lemon. The lemon zest impression from a 30 minute and flameout addition of Ahtanum is big. Almost like actual lemon zest. This is a summer beer. A huge one. Coming out at 1.010, it is 7.8% ABV. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, and the overwhelming character is my negative impression of Chinook and a big lemon tang finish. It doesn't help that it is dry as hell, finishing at 1.010 and all. But I think the big ABV will help this one keep for a few months until it's warm enough to enjoy a refreshing beer. Plus there's something to be said for a nearly 8% beer that's anything close to refreshing. This just might end up being a regular summer brew for me, and for my eventual brewery. The concept is perfect for today's beer market.

So there you have it, two beers, twins, born in the same day, but not identical. Both are good in their own way. You can never choose a favorite child. But I feel a preference for Marynka right now, based off this tasting. Of course, come warmer days, I just might change my mind. Sort of like the kids. One day, Iris is the fave. Then the next day, Boden is best.

Another nice thing was saving some time by bottling two batches at once. The original intent of brewing two in one day was to save several hours by parallel brewing. The same thing paid off today in bottling. It's been taking me two-and-a-half to three hours to bottle one batch, but I did two today in probably four hours. I was able to sanitize the bottles for batch two while bottling batch one. And I did a bunch of other ad-hoc multitasking as I went along.

This is also amazing considering this was my first bottling with Iodophor. I am on a 15-minute soak schedule with Iodophor for now (although I hear that it doesn't need that much, that's just what Zok said to do). So if I have to do four rounds of sanitation in my bottling bucket to handle two cases of bottles, that's an extra half hour right there.

In the end, it's awesomely cool to bottle four cases of beer in one day. I feel like a farmer that just sowed all the seeds for the season. I just can't wait until this abundant feast of beer is ready to harvest. They say you reap what you sow, but I can't wait to reap this!

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