OK folks, my second review of my own beer. After making several dozen batches of beer over the past few years, I feel like I’m getting better at this whole home brewing thing. First I started with extracts, because it was much easier than all-grain and it taught me the basic thought process in making beer. Then I invested a little in getting a small all-grain brewery together, and started making some beers out in the garage. And I’m talking small…some guys I know have put alot of time and effort into making some seriously cool three-tier gravity brewing systems (sometimes using welded supports or wooden foundations constructed with the skill of a fine craftsman), complete with Hurricane propane burners and 15 gallon kegs. I’ve successfully completed alot of carpentry and remodeling work around my house, but I wish I had that kind of talent. I’m using what’s more like the poor man’s version of what might be considered a sophisticated home brew set-up. What George Costanza is to George Clooney. Or Pauly Shore to Paul Newman.

I’ve kept it pretty simple…a single 5 gallon Rubbermaid insulated water cooler converted into a mash tun with a ball valve, some high temperature hose, and two 7.5 gallon stainless steel kettles. One serves as the hot liquor tank, the other as the boiling kettle. That’s about it. I’m also not using any kind of in-line counterflow chiller with pumps, but just your average copper immersion chiller. It seems to cool things down just fine. Overall, I rely on my knowledge of ingredients, beer styles, chemistry/physics of home brewing, and good sanitation practices to get me by. It’s alot of research, and alot of reading in my spare time. But it’s worked so far.

So what about this Spider IPA. Well, it’s friggin’ hoppy. But, by design. As I mentioned before, I used 2-row, crystal, lots of Cascade and even more Simcoe. And Simcoe is definitely what you get. You really, really have to like IPAs to get into this one. I can already see my friends’ faces as they drink this one. “Oh man, did you screw this one up? It’s soooo bitter. Wow!” No my macro drinking friend, Spider IPA is exactly what I intended. A knock-your-teeth-out hop bomb that takes the cliche “grapefruit” description to a new level. If I entered this in a homebrew contest, I would surely lose. Because it’s so lopsided. The aroma is pure hop cone. The malt is nearly unrecognizable. I probably should have added a little more crystal to sweeten it up, but I can take that into consideration on the next one. For now, I’m going to enjoy sucking on this pine nut of a beer. After all, I have a malty sweet oatmeal coffee stout waiting for me in the wings to level everything out.

I’m digging it.

Rating: B+