Beer School

Weekend Assignment: Drink Your Beer!

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)
(Image credit: Henry Chen)
  • Today’s topic: Taste your finished homebrew
  • The Kitchn’s Beer School: 20 lessons, 7 assignments to brew your first 1-gallon batch of beer.
  • Sign up & see all the assignments! The Kitchn’s Beer School

Today is the day! Your homebrew is finally ready to be tasted. You’ve been so patient the past few weeks through all the stages of brewing — first collecting all the equipment and ingredients, then brewing the beer wort, and nursing it through primary and secondary fermentation — and now it’s time for your reward.

We even have a menu that will pair beautifully with your very first homemade beer. Go on. Grab a bottle opener. It’s time.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)
(Image credit: Henry Chen)

First, Chill Your Beer

Put a few bottles of your homebrew in the fridge as soon as you read this. Not only does it take a few hours for your beer to chill to perfect sipping temperature, but this time is necessary to get the carbonation to settle. Warm homebrews tend to be overly fizzy; cold beers are just right.

Now, Taste It!

Yes, finally — open that beer and give it a taste. Pour it into a glass so you can fully appreciate its color, its fizziness, and its cap of creamy foam. Pouring it into a glass also lets you give it a sniff and check out its aromas. You’ll probably notice a little sediment in the very bottom of the bottle — this is mostly yeast and is natural and expected for homebrews. Hold back from pouring this bit in your glass.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

Take a few minutes to jot down some notes about this brew. How does it smell? What flavors do you taste? Do you like the color? There are no right or wrong answers here! When I taste this beer, I notice a lot of nutty, caramel-like flavors with a nice edge of bitterness from the hops. The aromas are similar — toasty notes with a bit of earthy hops thrown in. I think this beer has a really gorgeous color, too. That deep, coppery amber just seems to glow, doesn’t it?

Also take note of things that seem a little off to you. Is there a flavor or aroma that you don’t like? Was the beer cloudier than you expected? Less or more fizzy than you were hoping? Some of this is personal preference, but they can also indicate problems in the finished beer. If you’re noticing anything that seems off or odd to you, take a look through this post to see if you can figure out the problem:

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

Time to Celebrate!

Let’s throw your beer a party! Invite a few beer buddies over and cook some food to go along with your amber ale. With the nutty, toasty flavors in this beer, I think beef and chicken pair really well. And cookies for dessert.

A Beer Pairing Menu for Your Amber Ale

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Congratulations! You’re a Homebrewer!

It’s official — you can now call yourself a homebrewer. Congratulations on working your way through all the lessons and assignments in our Beer School and brewing your very first beer. You are now equipped with the basic tools and knowledge you need to brew just about any beer you put your mind to, really. Go forth and brew boldly.

Thanks so much for joining us for The Kitchn’s Beer School. I hope you had a grand old time with your first homebrew. Let us know how it went for you and any feedback on what we can do better in the comments below. Cheers!

Brew Better Beer: A Companion to Beer School

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

I love brewing beer so much, I wrote a book about it! Brew Better Beer (May 2015, Ten Speed Press) is a complementary guide to Beer School. Take a look for even more nerdy details about homebrewing, how to brew 5-gallon batches, and plenty of recipes for different beers.

→ Find it: Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen

With The Kitchn’s Beer School, we’ll teach you how to brew your own beer at home — and brew it with confidence. In 20 lessons and 7 weekend assignments, we’ll get you set up with your own home brewery, walk you through your first brew day, show you how to bottle your beer, and then toast you on your first pint. Ready to brew your first beer? Join us!