Friday, April 26, 2013

Feathertop Pumpkin Ale Tasting

Slowly catching up.  I brewed this pumpkin beer back in September and drank most of it in October and November.  It has aged well, though I feel it was crisper when it was younger.

Feathertop (2.0)

Appearance - A perfect orange-copper for a pumpkin beer; thick off-white head that dissipates quickly.  No lacing.

Aroma - Malty and sweet-smelling (floral) with a nice mix of cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg - no one spice stands out and the whole thing is a rather complex, alluring aroma.

Flavor - Mostly rich malt with general spicy notes.   Hard to tell what is coming from the spices and what is coming from the hops, which is a good thing I think - it probably means I didn't overdo the spice additions. You can definitely tell they're there, but they are not overpowering. I think using small amounts of several spices helps give this beer good flavor complexity without hitting you over the head with any particular spice flavor. Some residual sweetness there as well.  The overall malt profile reminds me of Jenlain Ambrée , the only true bière de garde I have had. Based on what little I know of this style, I imagine I could consider this beer a spiced bière de garde. I suppose the similarity could also be because of the French Ale yeast I used - I have no other experience using this strain so I can't compare it to anything else. There is also a flavor in there that I suppose is the pumpkin, but I don't really don't know if it is just the fact that I know there is real pumpkin in there.

Mouthfeel - Moderately low carbonation and a relatively thick finish gives this beer a creaminess that is nice with the malt and spices. Definitely not dry. I wonder if the raw pumpkin adds to the thickness. Certainly a beer more for the Fall or Winter (as it was intended).

Overall - This is a really nice pumpkin beer with a lot of complexity. It would be tough to drink more than one or two of these (for me anyway) given its intense maltiness and thick mouthfeel. However, I think the malt really needs to be there to help moderate the spice additions - if this were less malty or finished too dry I think the spices would become too harsh.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Brett Trois Farmhouse Ale Tasting

I'm finally getting around to posting up tasting notes for some of the beers I've brewed over the past many months. This one is for my multigrain farmhouse ale fermented entirely with Brett. I brewed it 10 months ago! As seems to be the way with this blog...better late than never, right?

Threshing Ale

Appearance - Pale yellow with thick foamy pure-white head that lingers. Brilliantly clear (as would be expected given this has sat in the fridge for months now). A beautiful beer to look at.

Aroma - Ripe melon and pineapple, some hints of lemon-orange and spicy hops. When this was younger, it was over-the-top ripe tropical fruits. With the combination of the Brett Trois strain and the Motueka hops, it smelled like a fruit salad. It is much more subdued now, but still predominantly tropical fruits with some spiciness.

Flavor - Solid bitterness that lingers, spicy hops, minerally, slightly tart with hints of ripe fruit. No "traditional" Brett flavors. The flavor is the opposite of the aroma - more spicy than fruity. Can't tell if the quinoa or spelt did anything other than add some additional sugars for the Brett to chew on.

Mouthfeel - Super dry and crisp. The Brett has certainly continued to work on this beer as it is drier now than it was earlier. This dryness accentuates the bitterness nicely. Medium-high carbonation also helps the overall crispness of this beer. This higher carbonation is another sign that the Brett continued working in the bottle - I purposely under-primed this beer for just this reason.

Overall - This beer was awesome when I first made it and it has changed, but has held up well over the months. This was a 100% success. The intense fruitiness that was there early was wonderful - I definitely see why this yeast strain has become renowned for its tropical fruit character. As the beer has aged, the fruitiness is more subdued, letting the spicy favors shine through. Easy drinker that I wish I had more of. Will definitely try something like this again.
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