I was all ready to brew this weekend. I even had an all-grain n00b to whom I could show the ropes. We went to buy ingredients. We came home with the makings of a great Blond. I tried again to call Jon (so that I could actually get into the house where all the brewstuffs are). For the third time, he didn't answer. Around 11:30, we called it quits and I took the n00b (whose name is Tom) back to his apartment. Tragic. Jon didn't get back to me until almost 2:30 yesterday afternoon, which gave me enough time to tell him that he sleeps too late, and plenty of time leftover for World of Warcraft.
We did manage to taste what is currently the Couch Beer over the weekend (if you don't remember, we were having a little trouble getting it carbonated). This was the first recipe that we ourselves designed. If you recall, it was dubbed the "not-so-pale," because we tried making a Pale Ale with wheat, Vienna, and Crystal 130, and (lo and behold!) it didn't come out very pale. Hey, we were more ignorant then.
In any case, the beer is an excellent European Brown Ale. It's only slightly bitter, mostly malty with a decidedly biscuity quality and a mildly acidic palate. I think I'm one of the people that can't taste diacetyl, but I would wager it's got a fair amount of that.
We ended up carbonating it using lubricant-free 12-gram CO2 cartridges -- you know, the kind that are normally meant for paintball guns. We were using them before to keep pressure up for tapping purposes, because keeping an atmosphere of CO2 above your beer is critical to preventing oxidation for long-ish term storage. (In other words, normal keg pumps are fine for parties, but not for couches.) Anyway, so we used seven of those cartridges to carbonate the keg.
If you do the math, you'll notice that 84 grams of CO2 isn't really enough to effectively carbonate a 5-gallon keg. But guess what? That's only true if you've got yourself a beer that needs "normal" levels of carbonation, like a lighter Lager or a traditional Porter. If you're making a Brown Ale in the English style (which is, incidentally, what our first recipe tastes like), you don't actually want it to be really carbonated.
Turns out that 84 grams of CO2 is just about perfect for this style of beer. And for at least the 10 or so glasses that we drew, the pressure was great. Sweet!