By the time I got certified cicerone and beer writer Brian Yaeger to try my first homebrew, the golden stout that I wrote about in the April 4 issue of this paper (independent.com/sb-loves-beer), my friends and I had already guzzled nearly all five gallons ourselves. For the most part, I had gotten positive feedback on the beer, which I crafted at the BYOB! homebrew shop (3445 State St.; 324-4690; byobsb.com) with help from the owners. My friends aren’t exactly beer buffs, but they’re not naive either. A resounding comment from one enthused fan was, “If I ordered it, I would drink it.”
While such compliments were all I needed, I wanted an expert opinion on my last few brews, so I took them to Yaeger, who’s teaching UCSB’s first-ever beer-tasting class. I’m also a student in his class, and what I’ve learned about homebrewing is that there are more things that can go wrong than things that can go right.
Thankfully, I’m pleased to report that Yaeger found only one major flaw in my brew: that it was over-primed, meaning too much priming sugar and yeast were in the bottles. This caused the beers to gush out when opened, causing the leftover beer in the bottle to be a bit over-carbonated. That said, I’ve had many say that it was an excellent first-time homebrew, and that it achieved a very pleasant balance that others claimed they couldn’t achieve until their eighth batch.
While it was certainly not the greatest golden stout ever concocted, my beer was also far from the worst, and it was very enjoyable to drink. There was definitely a halo effect surrounding my experience with the beer — I was quite proud of having made something to share — but I’d like to think that my friends would drink it over Bud Light any day.