Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tasting Notes - Pa's Lager (International Pale Lager)

My cousin and occasional brew collaborator Andy has actually been brewing for much longer than I have. He used to share a two-family home with his sister Jill and brother-in-law Greg; Andy and Greg were brewing together well before I got into the hobby. When I started brewing there were several batches I brewed with Andy and Greg. Now that Greg and Jill have three boys all under the age of six, Greg isn't able to make it to every brew day anymore.

The first brew day that Greg missed was the first batch of Pa's Lager. After he tasted the beer Greg lamented, "The best beer to come out of (our homebrewery), I had nothing to do with!"

I received a similar response from my boss who has tried several of my beers. He said Pa's Lager was probably the best one of my brews that he has tasted. After I gave him a couple of bottles of my latest batch he said it was a tossup between Pa's Lager and Summer Somewhere (2015). I'm not sure what it says that he enjoyed the most two of the simplest recipes I have brewed to date.

The beer pours a very nice straw color. There is a foamy white head with fair retention.

Adding back that small dry hop addition really made a difference. It gives the beer a noticeable low to medium-low hop aroma. The overall flavor is evenly balanced between malt and hop flavor. The finish is dry without being harsh or puckering. It cleanses the palate nicely before the drinker goes for the next sip.

I shared some with Paul Gentile from Gentile Brewing. He enjoyed it for what it was. Pa's Lager will never be a beer that blows the drinker away with flavor.

I also shared some with my colleagues at Modern Homebrew Emporium. They all gave the beer ratings of 4 on Untappd.

Unfortunately I had to work at the shop and miss my family's holiday gathering. I had Jennie bring a 12-pack and the reviews there were positive.

After messing around with the recipe I think I basically have it locked in. If I can't get my hands on any more free Liberty hops, I may go back to using Perle for bittering. That I don't think would have much of an impact on the flavor.

One adjustment I may make to my process when I brew the beer again would be to rack the beer to a secondary vessel and use a fining agent to reduce some of the haze. The last batch I brewed with Andy had almost brilliant clarity. I'm not sure if that is due to less trub making it into the fermenter, or that the batch was kegged.

Part of me would love to brew this again before next Christmas. At the same time I have so many other brews I want to get to. We'll play it by ear.
In the meantime I did enter the beer into a competiton. I'm very interested to see how it does. The lager categories tend to not be as competitive in terms of the number of entries. 
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