Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tasting Notes – Catching up on past beers Part I

When I started the blog I would write a brew day post that would be published shortly after brewing the batch. Afterward I would publish a tasting notes post where I would publish some detailed thoughts on the beer.

My favorite part of being a brewer is designing recipes and brewing the beer. Often after I brew the beer, and sometimes even before I actually get to brewing a batch, I have already lost some enthusiasm for the beer and I have already shifted my attention to my next batch.

This loss of enthusiasm, along with the fact that when I do drink the beer I like to just enjoy it without over-analyzing it, has made me lag far behind in publishing tasting notes. Below I will catch up on the beers I have brewed in 2016 that haven’t received a full tasting notes column.

These impressions are based on recollections that are weeks and months old. In some cases I was able to view Untappd comments to jog my memory.


Wisconsin Belgian Red Clone – I am almost positive I still have about 12 bottles of this beer in my apartment somewhere that I can’t find them for the life of me. When it came time to buy the cherry juice I bought black cherry instead of tart cherry juice. This gave my beer a sweeter cherry flavor than the original. The keg didn’t quite kick at the cookout I brought it to, so I brought the rest to my gym for our Memorial Day Murph workout.

It isn’t a fruit-bomb like New Glarus’ beer, but the fruit flavor was prominent.  When I served it on draught the beer tasted like it could have used another week or so to naturally condition in the keg.  I really hope I can find those bottles as they should be carbonated nicely by now. As it is the beer was good, not great. Rating 3.5 out of 5.


Westbrook Gose Clone – I had a full tasting notes post written and ready to go for this beer. Once I hit “Submit”, it all went blank. I had an earlier draft saved, but I was too filled with rage to finish it again, add all of the photos again, and inbed all of the links again. I was literally screaming at my computer. I wasn’t this angry when David Tyree caught that pass against his helmet.

I brought several bottles to a summer cookout. Luckily for me someone there had cans of Westbrook Key Lime Pie Gose which enabled me to do something of a side-by-side. For a home-brewed batch that I nearly ruined, my beer was pretty close. The Westbrook can had a brighter sourness. I am not sure if this is down to that beer being naturally soured, while my beer was soured with lactic acid. My other thought is that my beer was more oxidized than the canned commercial beer.

This is definitely on my mental list of beers to brew again. In addition to the Key Lime Pie Gose, Westbrook also released a Mojito Gose aged in rum barrels, which was then infused with lime and mint. I would love to make a split batch of a regular gose, and some type of flavored variant. Rating 4 out of 5.

Camp Randall Red IPA (Barrel House Z Launch Pad Competition) – Although this was not an official BJCP competition, the guys at Barrel House Z did fill out score sheets to give their thoughts on the beer. I rushed to brew this batch for the competition which was unfortunately reflected in the feedback I received.

The beer was phenolic and over-carbonated. The batch was more than likely infected. It was also yeasty with all kinds of floating particles. Using a highly floccuating yeast like SO4, that should not happen.

Needless to say this was a major disappointment. If my brewing process was better with this batch, this beer would have been exactly what they were looking for. Instead this was a poor representation of my brewing. I wish I could have entered the original batch I brewed in 2015. Rating 2.5 out of 5.

Later this week I’ll publish Part II with thoughts on some more of my beers from 2016.

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