Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tasting: Sweet Caroline Amber

This is my first attempt at a formal description of one of my finished beers. Not sure I have enough experience to properly use the most accurate descriptors, but I'll do my best. For this beer I was trying to create a relatively straight-forward American Amber Ale that would have a quick turnaround and that would showcase Citra hops.

Tasted on 7/7/11. Hot, slightly humid evening. Poured into a Red Sox tumbler my son gave me for Father's Day.

Appearance - Pours a hazy amber-brown, more brown than amber and darker than the SRM estimate. Nice off-white head that leaves some thin lacing. Not sure why this beer remains so hazy - most of my beers have some chill haze, but this brew seems to have it worse than the others, even after a couple of weeks in the fridge. Also not sure why my beers all seem to turn out darker than the SRM estimate.

Aroma - Caramel and citrus. I get a strong grapefruit aroma when poured, but that quickly dissipates to more sweet fruit than grapefruit. The best descriptors I could come up with for this smell are ripe melon and mango. I assume this is the Citra hops.

Taste - Caramelly sweet, perhaps too much so. Nice bitterness that does not linger. Clean. Some fruity hop notes, which accentuates the overall sweetness of this beer.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, almost thick and creamy. Lower carbonation than I had planned for.

Overall - A very good beer (so good, so good?) - seems to hit all the style points for an American Amber Ale. Perhaps too sweet/caramelly and thick for my tastes though, at least on a hot summer evening. This reinforces my general observation that I tend to enjoy beers that use minimal crystal malts - my favorite brews have been the ones where I haven't exceeded 5% crystal malts. Next time I'll cut out some of the crystal malt and increase the carbonation to help dry and thin out the flavor and mouthfeel.

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