Friday, December 9, 2016

Tasting Notes – Catching up on past beers Part II

This is a belated Part II where I post some thoughts and reflections on beers I brewed in 2016. Click here for Part 1.

Salted Caramel Brown Ale – The other batch we brewed for Jamboree. Adding the actual salted caramel was an afterthought, which given the name of the beer was something of a problem. In a pinch I added Hershey’s caramel syrup and sea salt to taste when I kegged the beer. The beer didn’t have enough time to naturally carbonate in time for jambo. In the end the beer was a decent enough brown ale, with a slight hint of salt and caramel. I promised Jennie I would go back to the drawing board before brewing another salted caramel beer. I still have most of the keg in the basement. I think I will break it out for the North Shore Brewers holiday party in January. Rating 3 out of 5.

NSB SMaSH Base Malt – I jotted down some quick thoughts on the other SMaSH beers brewed by other club members. All of the beers were fairly boring, because the beer was designed to be boring. The point of the exercise was to taste the flavor contributions of various base malts.

The ingredient variable aside, having brewed basically the same recipe as several other brewers, my batch more than held its own. After my Galaxy IPA from the club’s single hop project finished overly dry last year, having this year’s club project beer be as solid as it was validates my brewing process as much as anything. I packaged the beer in four half-gallon flip-top growlers. I opened one at the club picnic. I brought two to jamboree to be served along with the club’s other SMaSH beers. I ended up dumping most of those when I needed to fill the growlers with leftover Broken Fist. Alas, I still have one growler left. Rating 3.75 out of 5.

Commonwealth v Chalifour – This was a tripel recipe I developed, that Andy and his brother AJ brewed. After rushing to have it ready for AJ’s 30th birthday party, we weren’t able to bottle the beer in time. Andy and I each kept four bottles, and gave the rest to AJ. I thought it was pretty good, if perhaps a little light for the style. Jennie said she got some sourness in the flavor. I didn’t really get it. I shared a bottle with the manager at the Modern Homebrew Emporium as part of my “liquid resume”. Plenty of esters from the Belgian yeast. Rating 3.5 out of 5.

Summer Somewhere 2016 – I had originally planned to bring this beer to Beans N Brews in June. However I let the beer sit in the secondary for too long before packaging, and it was not ready for the event. I ended up bringing bottles of Fort Dummer instead.  I ended up bringing a keg of Summer Somewhere to AJ’s birthday party in lieu of the not-quite-ready Commonwealth v Chalifour.

The London Ale 1318 yeast definitely threw more fruit flavor into the beer than the Irish Ale 1084 I used in the 2015 version. The Styrian Bobek hops gave the beer more of a pilsner-type flavor. The beer tasted far more European than the citrus bomb that the 2015 version hopped with Galaxy was.

I brought a one gallon polypin to a North Shore Brewers meeting. The beer had fallen off considerably by then, but was still drinkable.

At AJ’s party there was a half-barrel keg of Samuel Adams Summer Ale and a quarter-barrel keg of Harpoon IPA. That my 3 gallon keg kicked that night is a point of pride. This is a beer I will brew every year. I might play around with different ingredients, but the bones of the recipe will never change. Rating 4.25 out of 5.

Fort Dummer – It’s never good when you find two ounces of hops in the freezer and realize they were supposed to go into the beer you just bottled. The batch was still pretty good. The folks at Beans N Brews enjoyed it even though they were expecting an English summer ale. When I drank it I kept thinking about the missing hops and in my mind the beer should have been better. When brewing four IPAs at once for my United States of IPA project, I made sure to pre-measure and label every dry hop addition to avoid making the same mistake again. Rating 3.5 out of 5.

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