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.

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