Thursday, March 12, 2015

Better Bitter

When I made my first Special/Best/Premium Bitter recipe I wanted something extremely classic: British Pale Ale malt, crystal malt, and a little bit of a roasted (in that case Victory) malt.  For the second iteration of this beer I decided to go in a pretty different and original direction.

While the base malt is still Maris Otter Pale ale malt and the hops are still primarily EKG's, I used an unconventional ingredient that I really like in Golden Naked Oats and an unconventional ingredient that I've really wanted to try in Crystal Rye.  The end beer I'm going for should have a smaller toffee/caramel character than a classic bitter but with a bit more of a dry/licorice character from the Crystal Rye and some creamy, subtle sweetness from the Naked Oats.

I thought about oaking a small part of this batch to make something completely original, until I discovered this recipe and was reminded that there's nothing new under the sun.
Surrounded by guitar pedal remnants on the Sunroom table.

Tasting notes:
Appearance- pours a pretty looking burnt orange color with substantial haziness. One inch bright white head fades quickly to a thin sticky layer.

Smell- peach, citrus, interesting grain character: lightly sharp, grainy, crusty. I start to pick up more rye/oat/pretzel(?) character over time and as I drink it.

Taste- like the nose the initial impression is fruit: mild stone fruit and some lightly citrusy notes. The grain and bitterness build after the swallow and with subsequent sips. Middle and finish is almost pretzel like, crusty, lightly toasty and sharp with the moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied and medium to light carbonation, pretty good for the style and for this beer.

Overall- well, I was certainly trying for something different here with using the caramel rye and a lot of Golden Naked Oats but I didn't get what I was expecting. This beer somehow comes off as salty and sharply grainy. While it doesn't taste just like a pretzel, there is a distinct similarity in the flavors that is hard to account for though I assume the combination of caramel rye, golden naked oats, and the water chemicals added to the mash (1 g CaCl 3 g gypsum) all contributed. Not a terrible beer, nor a very good one, just something pretty different but drinkable enough.

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