Saturday, January 17, 2015

12B - Imperial Assassin (Imperial Licorice Stout) Tasting


A lot has changed since I brewed my first stout, a licorice forwards Imperial Russian Stout that saw half of the batch receive Jaegermeister soaked oak. The beer was brewed 3 years, almost to the day, before this tasting took place. While the beer tasted good relatively fresh, it has been a while since I have I have had one.  Having a bottle of Jaeger in the apartment and seeing an article in Draft magazine about beers that taste like cocktails, and especially the one which is aged in Absinthe barrels (Absinthe and Jaeger both have predominant Anise/Licorice flavor profiles and are among my favorite liquors/liqueurs) prompted me to want to try this one again.  I was lucky enough to find a bottle in my parents basement and gave it a go.

A- Deep dark and oily with lots of carbonation bubbles that support an everlasting 1 finger eggwhite foam.  Doesn't leave lacing as much as a full wall of bubbles.

S- Sweet, candy, oak, licorice, a touch of smoke.  Pretty good, though more sweet and sugary than most stouts.

T- Initial sweetness is swept aside by a moderate alcohol and licorice character that gives way to a long, creamy, oaky finish.  Honestly: it's awesome, similar to, but better than I remember with the sweet sugary character being nicely balanced by slight alcohol and licorice and finally the oak showing through.  Not enough roast character or bitterness to be a classic RIS, but delicious nonetheless.

M- Seems somewhat thin and snappy on the front, but the finish is long, smooth, and creamy.  The oak tannins could very well be what gives this sensation of a fuller body as the carbonation is clearly fairly high and the high alcohol makes the body feel relatively thin.

O- I would pay for this beer.  I would pay a lot for this beer.  This very well may have been the last bottle (I might have one more stashed away...) and that's somewhat sad since it seems to have just peaked with the alcohol barely present, and at over 9% ABV this one can definitely sneak up on you. While it is certainly on the very sweet side for an imperial stout, missing some of the chocolate and coffee character expected of any stout, and the licorice and Jaeger do not come through very strong, the overall impression is just a deliciously oaked dark brown ale.  One of, if not the single best beer I have ever brewed.   A very Good Beer indeed.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Imperial IPA Tasting

When I first racked my Imperial IPA to the keg I felt that, despite 6 oz. of dry hops and 6 oz. of hops divided between the late boil and the hop steep, the beer still underwhelmed in hop flavor so I decided to add 4 oz. of keg hops split between the 4 varieties (Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook, and Nugget) already used in the brew.

When I next attempted to taste this beer about a week later I found that the keg (new to me but very much a "used" keg) was leaking gas and that the beer was only marginally carbonated, the results were so underwhelming that I decided not to review and wait until either I was able to fix the issue or could rack to an empty keg.  With my oatmeal stout finally kicking I had a spare keg that could hold pressure and racked from the old keg (and off of the keg hop) into the "new" keg that had housed the stout.  While one day in this keg isn't going to be enough to fix the carbonation issues, and the extended time spent in a semi-closed environment (both due to oxygen and the sheer amount of time) may have already ruined some of the hop aromatics of this beer, but I decided to do a tasting now that I could come back and re-review should this beer turn around.

A- Cloudy copper with a small but sticky white head.  This beer was not nearly as cloudy previously, but did seem to have some noticeable hop particles.  I probably should have added some gelatin while I was moving it to the new keg.

Not a good photo of a not very good beer.  Yes, my desk is very crowded right now.
S- Pine, caramel, dank, pineapple, all fairly light in presence for the style but not unappealing.

T- Sweet and fruity up front fades quickly to a moderately strong and resinous bitterness.  The sugar seems to have given both some rummy alcohol presence and burnt marshmallow characteristics while the hop character is low for the style and pretty underwhelming.  The alcohol is just short of burning, it certainly seems much more alcoholic than the 8.7% estimated ABV would imply.

M- Alcohol presence seems to make this one feel even thinner and less carbonated than it is.  Lack of carbonation certainly doesn't help.

O- Not sure what went so wrong with this one.  The beer is not terrible as a beer, but is extremely off the mark for an imperial IPA (or an IPA of any kind for that matter) with the bitterness being a touch too low, the alcohol a touch too strong, and the hop aromatics and flavor being extremely lacking. I'm pretty disappointed in how this one stands now, one of my lesser "hoppy" beers and certainly not matching up with the better than average results I've had recently across the board.

One factor that certainly contributed to the issues: the yeast extremely overshot the expected attenuation (85% vs. the average of 69%, giving an FG of 1.012 instead of the expected 1.024). I could see a few factors contributing to this including the very large pitch of yeast, the fact that the yeast was a second generation, and the large amount of very fermentable sugar, but it was still a bit surprising and certainly seems to have made this one more alcohol forward than expected or desired.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Czech Pilsner Tasting

It is commonly thought that clean, lightly hopped, pale beers are the hardest styles to brew.  The thinking is that, in a beer without too much character of its own, any flaws are easily noticeable. After my first attempt at a pale lager I can easily understand where this thinking comes from, and, while I tried to avoid many of the flaws that can occur by pitching a heavy amount of yeast and fermenting at a cool temperature, I still wasn't able to completely nail this one.

A- Pale gold (looks lighter than pictured) with a moderately tall head that fades to a thin layer.  Fairly, though not brilliantly, clear.  Looks like a pilsner, though the clarity and head retention could be better. Gelatin in the keg might fix the clarity and a touch of wheat in the mash might help with the retention, though I don't know that either is necessary.

S- A bohemian Pilsner should have some malt, balanced by some spicy Saaz, and maybe a touch of diacetyl on the nose.  While all three components are here, they are not in the proper balance with the buttery diacetyl showing first and heaviest, the sweet malt also coming through, and the Saaz hops being just perceptible.  Serving at nearly 50F might accentuate the diacetyl, but it's higher than it should be regardless.

T- Grainy, lightly buttery, sweetness is swept aside by a refreshing, spicy, moderate bitterness that lingers for just a moment on the tip of the tongue.  Again, a little bit high in the diacetyl though not as noticeable and better balanced by the hops than in the nose.

M- Moderate carbonation with a moderate to light body.  The diacetyl here seems to be adding to the body, keeping it from being overly thin.  No complaints with the mouthfeel of this one.

O- For my first attempt at this style, and for lagers in general, I'm fairly happy with this beer but can see a few obvious flaws.  Not doing a diacetyl rest until after fermentation had fully completed clearly detracted from the overall character of this beer.  Other than the one (moderate) flaw the beer is well rounded, and really pretty tasty.  This is a beer that I could see both BMC drinkers and beer nerds drink, but not rave about.  If I were to brew it again I would only make slight changes to the recipe (maybe a touch more finishing hops) and a slight tweak to the fermentation process (diacetyl rest before the end of fermentation) but all around I'd say this is a winning recipe, and the water chemistry, grain bill, and yeast definitely worked well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

#45 - Imperial India Pale Ale

After brewing a number of brett saisons and sours over the last year, I've dialed back the funk and overall weird factor in the last few months with an Oatmeal Stout, Bohemian Pilsner, and, today, an imperial IPA.  The beer is inspired in part by a beer that I've never had (Heady Topper) and a number of clones of that recipe (which I've also never tasted).  My recipe is, in no way, a Heady clone but instead attempts to use some of the best aspects of it (4 varieties of American hops, high levels of pale malt, sugar to dry out, around 100 ibu's) in an entirely unique way that should suit my tastes.

The malt bill is fairly simple: 14 lbs British Pale Malt (in place of the Pearl used for Heady), 1 lb Carahell (in place of any caramalt/etc), and 1 lb of Turbinado (in place of white sugar).  For the hop bill I decided to go with Nugget, Cascade, Chinook, and Amarillo.  While I originally had Palisades in the mix, I subbed them out for Chinook in order to get more of the classic pungency and pine of American hops that seems to be missing from my hoppy brett Saison which also featured large doses of Amarillo.  For the yeast I'm hoping that the lightly peach character of Wyeast West Yorkshire Ale will give a somewhat similar profile to what is often described for the Alchemist's Conan strain (which is also said to originally derive from a British ale strain).



When I first began brewing and writing this blog I didn't have much of a taste for hoppy beers with IPAs being more of a novelty that I could respect but not enjoy.  Overtime that has changed and I've become more interested in the world of hops and, with that, some of my best brews to date have been either straight to style American IPA's or interesting takes on the IPA style.

I have high hopes for this beer but it is my first time brewing an Imperial IPA (or Double IPA depending on your preference) and it is still not a style that I tend to gravitate towards, with most examples of the style having an overly bitter profile that voids any complexity from the hops and malt bill.  In the end, I'm hoping this one will be balanced enough and provide a nice alternative to on tap to the roasty Oatmeal Stout, the moderately bitter but otherwise clean (and halfway done lagering) Bohemian Pilsner, and (a just kegged) Cyser.

12-16-2015
After rapid and forceful fermentation for the first 48 hours the airlock is now mostly still. Loosening the bucket revealed a a thick, gelatinous krausen that looks a bit like a thin dough. Pulled a small sample: cloudy, with thick haze, not sure if it is just active yeast or some proteins. Smell is extremely hoppy with taste being biting bitterness and alcohol. A little worried about this one in a few ways at this point but I am hoping another week and some dry hopping will calm it down.

12-21-2014
Pulled a sample, flavor is much improved, piney, citrusy, and fairly bitter. Gravity all the way down to 1.012. Added dry hops (1 oz Cascade, 1 oz Chinook, 2 oz Amarillo, 2 oz Nugget). Planning to keg in the next 3-5 days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#44 - Pilsner Brew Day - My First Lager

With my keezer finally in place and currently only occupied by 1 5 gallon keg and an assortment of bottles now is the first time in my life that I have a great chance to ferment a lager.  I'm also heading to New Zealand at the end of the week, giving a perfect time period to crank the chest freezer temp up a little for lager fermentation temps.

Knowing that now was the time to brew a lager the only question was, what lager would I start with? While I've long wanted to brew a BMC-ish "plain" beer (complete with adjuncts and light hopping), my recent trip to Europe introduced me to so much lagered goodness.  While I originally thought about brewing my favorite newly discovered style from Europe, the Czech Černý (which seems to sit somewhere between a Munich Dunkel and a Schwartzbier), I thought better of it due to already having a dark, roasty beer on tap and wanting something more pale and balanced.  The German Oktoberfest style beers I drank in the Wiesn tents, and the Helles and Dunkels I drank in the bars and beer gardens, were well crafted and easy drinking, but I've already had more of them than I would want for a few years.  So then, what lager to brew? Why not the most influential lager that set the bar for countless styles and the vast majority of beer consumed: Bohemian Pilsner.

While in Prague I was fortunate enough to enjoy a number of Pilsners including the original, Pilsner Urquell, in both its usual filtered and special unfiltered version (the unfiltered version is rarely seen outside of the city of Plzen but I happened to be in Prague the same weekend as Pilsner Urquell's brewing anniversary of October 5th).  Both of these, and a number of the other Pilsners offered in the Czech Republic, were excellent and I wanted to go for as classic of a Pilsner Pivo (beer, in Czech) as possible.  In my eyes there are 5 traits that make a Bohemian Pilsner what it is:
  • Soft water
  • Pilsner Malt
  • Lager Fermentation
  • Saaz Hops
  • Decoction mash
While I had these characteristics in mind, in order to fully design my recipe I looked at the most recent issue of Brew Your Own magazine which focused on German and Czech Pils. I also reviewed the four Bohemian Pilsners to have won gold at the NHC. Some notes that I found interesting:

  •  In addition to Saaz, Sterling was a common hop choice
  • Nearly every recipe used a small percentage of slightly darker malts in addition to Pilsner (often Vienna and/or CaraPils)
  • Not all recipes required a decoction with some using a single infusion mash
  • Diacetyl rest was often (though not always) mentioned as necessary
  • Long, extremely cold (~32F) lagering periods and extremely soft water were musts
With all of this in mind I decided to stick with the traditional Saaz, use a little CaraPils and CaraMalt (would have been CaraHell but HBS didn't have it), but avoided doing my first decoction and instead used a slightly more complicated grain bill and a step infusion mash.

11/13/14
2 days before brew day. I built a 1 gallon starter at room temperature (~68) with 2 packs of Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager.  While 2 packs might not have been necessary, lagers typically require significantly more yeast than Ales and I wanted to make sure that mine took off without a hitch.

11/15/14
Brew day. I purchased 6 gallons of distilled water and added in 3.5 gallons of filtered Arlington, VA water, with no other water chemistry treatments.  Cooled wort to ~60 post fermentation before moving wort and starter to 42F chest freezer.  Will pitch yeast tomorrow once cooled and bring temps up a little.

11/17/14
Yeast was pitched yesterday morning and chest freezer temperature raised to 48F. Fermentation slowly showing signs of life.

12/3/14
Temperature increased to 60F for diacetyl rest.

12/5/14
Temperature decreased to 35F for lagering.

12/6/14
Gravity down to 1.013 (exactly what was predicted pre-brewing!).  Taste is moderately hoppy and grainy, maybe a slight off-flavor, not sure if it is due to using some older Saaz for bittering or an aspect of the Budvar yeast but it comes off a bit earthy.  Hopefully a month or so at lagering temps will bring this down but already tasting like an interesting and respectable pilsner.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#43 - Oatmeal Stout

After a long time off from brewing a dark, malt driven beer I found myself really craving a refreshing, chewy, hearty stout.  I also have been eating a lot of oatmeal recently and really wanted the creamy smoothness and slightly nutty flavor of oats to come through in the finished product.

I based this beer off of the two successful porter/stout beers I have made in the past with some influence from my English pale ale.  The beer is intended to take the middle road between sweet and bitter, but the malt character should definitely be the driving factor.  One other important aspect of this beer is the yeast, Wyeast West Yorkshire Ale. I have wanted to try the strain for a long time and see this beer as an opportune way to build up a culture of it that I can use in anything that could use a bright, peachy yeast presence, from balanced bitters to extremely hoppy double IPAs.

Tasting Notes:

A- Pours with a beautiful big cascading beige head.  Opaque, very dark brown body with some noticeable yeast and hop residue at the bottom.

S- The stonefruit notes of the yeast lead with pear and peach.  There are also some mild roast notes of toast, nuts, and just a touch of dark chocolate.  Pretty much exactly what I want a stout to smell like.

T- Starts with light sweetness, toast and nuttiness, followed by some dark chocolate roast and a moderately bitter finish.  The fruit of the nose is much more subdued, just barely coming through.

M- Slick and creamy, while a little low on the carbonation (the gas disconnect was not properly attached initially so this may have been slightly rushed).  I can still get behind a lightly carbonated stout.

O- Very happy with this one.  While I would have liked more coffee character it is still an oatmeal stout where the oatmeal and roast both come through without being overly strong to make this anything more than an easy, cold weather drinker.  I'm also very happy with the yeast character as it stands out, without dominating or calling too much attention to itself.

Updates:
10/18/2014
Brewed on stove top.  OG of 1.052, a little odd tasting at this point, though maybe I just don't remember what a stout wort should taste like.

10/21/2014
Fermentation has slowed dramatically.  Gravity down to 1.022; hopefully it will keep dropping over the next few days.  Taste is good: a bit biscuity, grainy, and nutty with a definite oat slickness and a touch higher bitterness than expected.

10/25/2014
Gravity still reading at 1.022.  8 ounces of maple syrup added, hopefully this will ferment and rouse the yeast.  The beer might not attenuate any further due to the high mash temp and large amount of oatmeal.

11/1/2014
My inaugural kegging. Set force carbonation to 30 psi to quickly carb for dispensing in a couple days.

11/3/2014
Poured a tiny sample, gas disconnect seems to have not been fully attached.  Will re-attach and begin force carbonation over.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Picnic Tap Keezer

Today I took one step forward in my quest for great beers when I finally decided to take the dive into kegging.  My new setup is very simple with just a 7.0 cu. ft. chest freezer from Home Depot with a Ranco temperature controller and a 5 gallon ball lock keg and 5 pound CO2 tank and regulator inside.

While I've been relatively happy with bottling for nearly 4 years now, there's a number of reasons that made me finally decide to purchase a chest freezer and kegs for a keezer build:

  1. Carbonation Consistency - I've often been disappointed by overcarbonated beers, with a few being very undercarbonated as well.  Overcarbonating a beer can detract from the flavor (carbonic acid gives a bite and heavy carbonation makes it harder to taste subtle flavors), from the body (beers feel more "seltzery" and less full bodied) and detract from the overall drinking experience (difficult to pour, have to wait for heads to fall, can cause dregs to mix in).  Undercarbonated beers are generally not as big of an issue but sometimes leave beers feeling flat and watery, not how beers should float around in the mouth.
  2. Bottle bombs - This is sort of a 1.a since this is just an extreme case of carbonation issues.  I've had a few batches of bottles that have been overcarbonated to the point of exploding over the years which have scared the crap out of me.  The issues with using too much priming sugar or having an infection cause increased carbonation isn't much of a concern due to kegs generally not being naturally carbonated, the cold crashing process reducing yeast and bacteria viability, and the significantly higher levels of pressure that kegs can handle compared to bottles.
  3. Oxidation - This is also a two part issue.  One issue is with general oxidation of beers, with several of my batches that were aged for a long time or moved to secondary experiencing oxidation effects that greatly detracted from their flavors.  The second issue is with hoppy beers, where flavors fade quickly and fade even quicker when naturally carbonated in bottles.  The move to kegging (at least the having access to carbon dioxide part of it) allows me to purge secondaries and kegs with CO2 and package hoppy beers (in keg or potentially bottling from keg) with less oxidation.  A few of these topics were discussed in Mike Tonsmeire's recent post about IPA tips.
  4. Cold Storage - the purchase of a chest freezer for kegging provides a large space for kegs (and potentially bottles) to be stored cold. Previously I had to find space in my fridge, not always an easy task, and there was certainly never room for the 20+ gallons of beer that I have now. In the past my beers were often stored at room temperature which helps to deteriorate their quality.
  5. Secondary Fermentation Temperature Control - While I plan on using the chest freezer for kegs (~40°F) and not as a primary fermentation fridge (55-65°F) this very cold temperature could still occasionally be used for extended secondaries or lagering, a capacity I didn't previously have.
  6. Light - The 3 factors which degrade beer: oxygen, heat, and light.  While brown bottles do a decent job keeping out light and I haven't noticed any light-struck skunkiness in my beers, kegs are even better, making sure that even pale, light beers (where these skunked qualities often show up) would be protected.
  7. Versatility - As mentioned earlier, I can still bottle beers, now I just have the option not to, and that's a beautiful thing.

It's interesting to note that ease of use or time saved aren't being mentioned here.  While hopefully these are positive aspects there is a bit of a learning curve with kegging and, even though I've spent a long time researching how it is done and how I'd like to build my setup, there are still going to be mistakes and issues.  Additionally, while I hope the cleaning and sanitizing process isn't quite as tedious as it is for bottling, there are still multiple parts to clean and sanitize on a regular basis from the keg and its parts, to the tap lines, to the keezer itself.

It is worth mentioning that the biggest downside to kegging seems to be the sheer amount of equipment required, which both costs money and takes up space.  I currently have just one keg and the cost of my system has already ran over $600 (although I was able to buy the $200 chest freezer  with gift cards so it didn't feel like as big of a hit).  Part of the reason for the cost being so high is that I went with all new equipment, rather than used versions which are usually about half as expensive.  Moving forwards I could easily see spending another $500 to get all of the bells and whistles I'm currently looking at (and that's still with picnic taps).

I put my oatmeal stout on tap today and am trying to quickly pressurize it to have it ready within a few days.  I'm very excited but also a little anxious; I'd hate to only have one beer on tap and it not be very good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#42 - StarTropics - Hoppy Brett Saison

With the end of summer quickly approaching here in DC (and me preparing for my trip to Munich for Oktoberfest!) I found myself with a free weekend, a few empty carboys, and a desire to make one last saison during the hot season.

For this beer I wanted heavy hop flavors and lots of bitterness, backed up with enough malt to keep things balanced, interesting, and ready for Autumn.  I also wanted to further explore the combination of Nelson Sauvin and Brettanomyces that I tried a few beers back so for the yeast I used the slurry from the Brett Saison as the primary (rather than in the secondary) and added Crooked Stave dregs to add even more varieties of fruity and funky Brettanomyces.  I also kept Nelson Sauvin as a major component of the hop profile but added my two favorite citrusy American hops: Cascade and Amarillo.

As I've done with many beers, and particularly often recently, I plan to experiment with this beer after the primary ferment, though this time I don't have preset plans.



Expected
1.061 OG
1.008 FG
62      IBU
7.0% ABV
10     SRM

Fermentable
Amount

Use
PPG
Color
Maris Otter Pale (UK)
8.5 lb
61 %
Mash
38
3 °L
Vienna (US)
4.5 lb
32 %
Mash
35
4 °L
Caramel/Crystal 60L (US)
0.5 lb
3 %
Mash
34
60 °L
Victory (US)
0.25 lb
1 %
Mash
34
28 °L

Hop
Amount
Time
Use
Form
AA
Nugget (US)
0.5 oz
60 min
Boil
Pellet
14.10%
Cascade (US)
2.0 oz
4 days
Dry Hop
Pellet
7.10%
Amarillo (US)
3.0 oz
4 days
Dry Hop
Pellet
8.50%
Nelson Sauvin (NZ)
1.0 oz
4 days
Dry Hop
Pellet
12.00%
Cascade (US)
2.0 oz
5 min
Whirlpool
Pellet
7.10%
Amarillo (US)
1.0 oz
5 min
Whirlpool
Pellet
8.50%
Nelson Sauvin (NZ)
3.0 oz
5 min
Whirlpool
Pellet
12.00%

Name                                         Average Attenuation
Brett Saison Blend                         87.50%

9/13/14
Brewed on stove top with no issues.  Whirlpool hops actually done as 20 minute hop steep.  OG measured at 1.058 (with a slightly low reading hydrometer).  Fermentation took off within 8 hours.

9/17/14
Fermentation still fairly active, gravity only down to 1.022 so this one should have a ways to go. Flavor is a melange of peach and white wine with just a touch of the bitterness showing through under the still high sweetness.

9/25/14
Gravity down to 1.007 with fermentation at a near standstill but the Brett will probably continue working away for a little while.

10/16/14
Running way behind on this one due to getting delayed on my return from Europe but finally added the first wave of dry hops (1.5 oz Amarillo, 1 oz Cascade and .5 oz Nelson Sauvin) to the primary.  Gravity down to 1.006 and tasting super funky without much hop presence prior to the dry hop additions.  Had been hoping to keg this, but getting the kegerator in place has also fallen behind schedule so I will probably just bottle in 8-10 days after another round of dry-hopping.

10/21/14
Racked 3 gallons onto the second wave of dry hops.  The remainder (about 1.5 gallons) was split between two 1 gallon jugs, one with 4 oz. demerara sugar and paradise seeds and the other with lime juice and a tangelo tincture I have been holding onto for a while.  My entire apartment is currently engulfed with amazingly fruity and citrusy hop aromas.

10/25/14
Bottled 3 straight gallons as #42, Demerara version as #42B, and Lime/Tangelo version as #42C.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nelson Brett Saison Tasting

I really enjoyed the fresh, kiwi/white wine/melon character of the straight version of my Prairie Artisan Ales' 'Merica inspired beer.  The Brett version took a little more time to grow on me however, which is why I am only now getting around to a formal sit down and review.

A-Burnished gold with some definite haze to the point of being fairly opaque.  Some of the clarity is likely due to the dry hopping, while some also seems to be condensation on the glass.  The small white ring of a head lasts for a long time around the edges of the glass.

S- Immediately upon popping the top there is a huge pineapple character that comes out.  In the glass the scent continues to be heavy on the Brettanomyces derived fruit and funk, with the hops playing a strong supporting role.  There is strong pineapple, barnyard, mango, decaying grass, and subtle orange rind in the beautiful bouquet.

T- This one is certainly dank, earthy, and citrusy.  The kiwi/melon I found to be more dominant in the straight version are subverted by the funky Brett here.  Bitterness is moderate, just enough to part the slight grainy sweetness in the middle and help transition to a long funky finish.

M- Dry with moderately low carbonation.  I had purposely primed without much sugar in case the Brett had continued doing its work but this definitely could have used more bubbles.

O- A solid beer.  The hop character is much lower than the straight version (likely due to the 2 weeks in secondary after dry hopping).  This seems like a decent introductory Brett beer with the funk being noticeable but not overwhelming and the hops giving off a nice tropical fruit character without being overly bitter.  A good beer that I would like to build off of in the future.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#39- Spiced Dubbel Tasting


A- fairly cloudy, medium dark brown, small tan head that lasts. Cloudier and darker than desired, but some of this might come from the spices.

S- sweet belgian esters of bubblegum and banana give way to heavy phenols with cinnamon, clove, black pepper and light herbal notes.

T- much like the nose the fruit an sweetness lead with moderate spice following. The spice seems more subdued than the aroma would suggest. The beer finishes with a confusing blend of earth, clove and a touch of alcohol heat.

M- fairly dry with moderate carbonation.

O- not a very good beer. Not too surprising considering it is a blend of a Dubbel that suffers from oxidation and a quad that ended up causing bottle bombs.  These darker Belgians are some of my favorite commercial styles and yet I seem to struggle more to brew them than any other style... Back to the drawing board.