Friday, April 22, 2011

Saison Tasting

Over a month after bottling and 2 months after first brewing I'm finally getting around to doing a tasting of my Saison.

Appearance: Not surprisingly similar to the pumpkin spice ale with their similar malt bills with a light brown/amber with some orange notes on the sides.  A 1/2 inch off white head appears initially but fades very quickly (wasn't the cleanest glass).

Smell: Wow that is enjoyable. A nice citrusy blend that feels like part hops, part yeast character and part orange peel inspired with a lot of depth and complexity.  Its followed by caramelly sweetness.

Taste:  Just like the nose but with more complexity.  Not overly strong in any direction but the hops are the star up front with a fair amount of sweetness and hints of Belgian spicy character.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation and fairly thin in body this one is an easy drinker but the carbonation is a bit higher than I intended with TONS of bubbles flowing up from the bottom consistently.

Drinkability: Fairly enjoyable I could have a few more gladly.  The hop level of this beer and the subdued yeast character for the style (probably due to low fermentation temps) make this a bit more like an american pale or amber than the classic saison (the lack of attenuation to dry out the beer doesn't help either) but this is still a tasty beer with a moderate orangey character.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Tasting

This pumpkin spice beer was brewed over two months ago, and today I am finally getting around to reviewing it.  The beer is much better than the coffee version of the batch and deserved a separate tasting.

Appearance:  Inch of just off white head of tiny bubbles sitting on top of an amber orange body with yellow highlights.  Tons of little bubbles continuously flow up through the beer and the head never seems to fade.  This beer looks exactly how I had hoped, brown but with a bit of orange like a pumpkin and just great overall.

Smell: Lots of spice: cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla with just a bit of maltiness shining through.  Theres a bit of peppery spiciness in the back end, all spice maybe?

Taste:  Similar to the nose but more varied.  First comes the strong spices, reminiscent of pumpkin pie and the holiday season, followed by a nice munich and caramel malt sweetness which fades in the finish to a slightly bitter spiciness.  All around theres a lot of good flavors, the spice could be turned down (this one went to 11, would've liked to have seen it in the 8-9 range).

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a high carbonation, this one flows past the mouth without overstaying its welcome.  Maybe a touch more carbonation than I was going for but pretty good overall.

Drinkability: Really easy to drink with refreshing flavors and the high carbonation.  I wish the spice was turned back just a touch so that it would be more balanced and less strongly pumpkin spice.

Overall this is a beer I could easily have a few of in a sitting, but would probably not buy it over other beers because of the balance. It's a fun drink in a fun style that was cheap to make but there isn't much complexity beyond the nose and a complete lack of balance toward the spices.

Monday, April 11, 2011

First Partial Mash

Looking forward to this coming Friday when I plan to try my hand at doing a partial mash for the first time.  The beer I will be making is a black porter.  With the high levels of caramel and roasted grains I decided to utilize them fully by doing a partial mash.

Turn of the Century Robust Porter

55%60Northern Brewer Amber Malt Syrup3610
18%20American Two-row Pale371
9%10Simpsons Medium Crystal3455
5%08Crisp Brown3575
5%08Simpsons Chocolate27412
5%08Wheat Dry Extract435
5%08Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal34160