Friday, May 10, 2013

Cranberry Brown Ale - Tasting

A mild, "makeshift" brown ale using Brett Trois and local cranberries. I brewed this back in the Fall for Thanksgiving. There's a reason I have held off reviewing it...

Henry Hall Ale

Appearance - Deep brown with some ruby highlights. Clear. Thin, spritzy head that quickly dissipates - I wonder why there's so little foam?

Aroma - Very subdued. What aroma is there is all malt with a little "dark" fruitiness.

Flavor - Also rather subdued. Little hop bitterness, but an astringency that I attribute to the cranberries. Slightly fruity. Dry - probably a combination of the Brett used for fermentation and the cranberries. Honestly, kind of bland. Neither crisp and refreshing nor complexly flavorful. When this was younger I remember it being more fruity and flavorful. Has not aged well.

Mouthfeel - Thin. Low carbonation. Drying. Again, I remember this being not quite as thin or dry when it was younger

Overall - Not a particularly good beer. I had hoped that the cranberries and the crystal malts would play well together, and that the Brett Trois would add some nice fruit notes. I had some hope when it was young. But instead, I think the Brett chewed through the crystal malts leaving behind a thin, dry beer, and the tannins from the cranberries left too much of an astringent bite. All in all, another disappointing result using cranberries. I should probably close the book on using them...except I'm thinking I just may need to try them in a simpler English-style brown ale using an English yeast that will leave behind some residual sweetness to help balance the flavor. A project for the Fall.


Jeffrey Crane said...

Good experiment. I can concur that I prefer my Brett Drie beers young. I notice that after month 3 they start losing the fruit flavors and bring up the funk.

And I also have not had any luck with cranberries, maybe they would be better dried. I agree that they could work in a big malt forward english ale.

Jim Lemire said...

I'm going to try cranberries one more time and then leave them alone. Too many other things to try :)

My Brett Drie/Trois farmhouse ale really held up well months later...though young it was utterly fantastic. I haven't done anything else with this strain, but I hear people are really having a lot of success using it in IPAs. Might need to try one of those this summer.

Jeffrey Crane said...

I would highly encourage you to try Brett Drie with some hops. You will probably want to keep the IBUs lower than normal as it tends to accentuate the bitterness. But the yeast flavors go great with the newer tropical fruit hops available.

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