I’ve actually been drinking my Summer Mild brew for a few weeks now. To begin with it was still a bit young but it has now reached the point at which it can reasonably be called ready.
In its favour, it is refreshingly quaffable and has a gorgeous amber colour. However, while it has quite a bitter aftertaste it is not as hoppy “bouquet” as the beers I tend to favour, I’m not sure that it is that far beyond what I could cook up with a cheapish kit and the carbonation is on the low side. How can I brew beer I am passionately proud of rather than something that doesn’t go far beyond cheap (probably no more than 30-40p per bottle) and drinkable?
I think that I probably want to avoid the use of dried malt extract in my next brew. I want to cook it from the crushed grains and this pulls me back in a kit-wards direction. I probably also need fresher ingredients; the hops in particular were well over a year old and have just been in a bag in the fermenting vat in the loft. There might be mileage in using a more specific yeast (this was the generic “ale yeast” from the homebrew section of the a local general store). The carbonation varies between bottles, suggesting that I need to be more consistent in how I top them up (fuller is better although they need a little head room) and perhaps a little more sugar mixed in. I used the equivalent of about 1g per bottle — the kit standard of 5g (1tsp) is probably way too high but I think I can increase a bit.
Once I get the cider bottled, I will start mustering ingredients for another brew; perhaps I’ll aim for another cheap and drinkable batch to use up older ingredients (maybe attending to one or two of the ideas above) and then buy some new stuff in for a further batch towards the end of the year.