As we hit the beginning of August I was anxious to put this beer on tap to enjoy during the last weeks of summer. I went as far as to taste test the beer after only seven days. Usually I am the type to let a beer sit for 14-24 days until I know it is done.
|Simply the Zest on the Left, Samuel Adams|
Porch Rocker on the right.
At 7 days the beer was still quite green. At 14 days it tasted ready to go.
Even though the beer tasted like it was done, it didn't quite have the lemon flavor I wanted. Adding more fermentables may have thrown off the balance of the kit slightly. My former colleagues in the UK may not be familiar with the radlers on the American market like Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy which are loaded with lemon flavor.
|Punching up the lemon flavor just a bit.|
To increase the lemon flavor I zested two lemons and boiled the zest in some water, essentially making a lemon zest tea. After boiling for around ten minutes, I juiced the lemons and added the lemon juice to the lemon tea to pasteurize the juice. I kept the mixture at a low simmer for an additional ten minutes while I cleaned and sanitized a keg. I then strained the liquid to remove the lemon zest, poured it into my keg, and racked the beer on top to ensure an even mixture.
After a couple days my beer was carbonated and ready to drink. In my mind I wanted the balance of my beer to be similar to Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy. However, I had a can of Samuel Adams Porch Rocker in my beer fridge. That served as my benchmark for this tasting.
Simply the Zest: Some lemon pith.
Porch Rocker: Much more lemon, lemongrass.
Simply the Zest: Gold with moderate haze. Foamy white head
Porch Rocker: Straw with brilliant clarity. Thick white head that fades
Simply the Zest: Nice blend of lemon and base beer - Blonde Ale? Low biscuity base malt. No hop flavor but sufficient hop bitterness.
Porch Rocker: Juicier than the kit, more lemonade than lemon flavor. Sweet up front, before lemon hits mid palate.
Kit: Medium-light body, medium carbonation, clean finish with hint of lemon.
Sam: Medium body with Med high carbonation. Finish slightly dry
First couple of pints of Simply the Zest did show some diacetyl. This could have been old beer in the line/ I gave the beer 14 days to ferment at 67F. Could have ramped up temp or let free rise. Could have also maybe used a little more time. Some extra time in the keg seemed to help the beeer condition..
Simply the Zest tastes more like a lemon flavored beer than a blend of beer and lemonade; not a fault per se. I liked it more than Porch Rocker. Porch Rocker isn't a bad beer, but I prefer Leinie's and Narragansett Del's Shandy to it. The sweetness in the Sam beer is slightly off-putting. The lemon zest in my beer feels like it adds a nice bitterness.
I made an awesome summer crusher with little time and effort. My ingredient cost was also around $35.