Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Belgian Pale & Hefeweizen & Coffee Stout Tasting, Beer & Campfires

I posted about brewing these beers a couple weeks ago here and I had the chance to enjoy them recently so I thought I would go over some tasting notes.

Belgian Pale

Appearance - Fairly clear beer, especially for a Belgian. Nice orange-amber-rusty color with a white 1/2 head that dissipates pretty quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. I'm very happy with the color.

Aroma - Not much for aroma on this beer. Even though it includes ingredients like coriander, bitter orange peel and grains of paradise it most smells of malt with a very small hint of orange citrus.

Mouthfeel - Light-Medium Light body and mouth feel. Not crisp and dry but just what you would expect for a pale ale. Almost slick/oily like a good oatmeal stout, not sure what's causing this.

Taste - There's a definite orange citrus flavor coming through on the front and back of my tongue which leads me to believe that both the coriander and bitter orange peel are in play here. There's a spicy note but not really peppery so like this is from the yeast rather than grains of paradise.

Future Changes - This beer is pretty good the way it is but I think it needs more spicy/phenolic/yeast character than it has. Ramp the temperature up to encourage yeast character. Fermented at 65 this time around, 75-80 should improve this beer.


Appearance - Hazy yellow color that reminds me of a banana Popsicle. Large foamy head that laces sticks around a moderate amount of time and leaves a nice lacing.

Aroma - Smells of banana. Not like a real banana but like a banana Popsicle, there's a theme forming.

Mouthfeel - Light body but not thin. Supports the beer perfectly.

Taste -  Very banana forward Hefe! There are some nice phenolic notes behind the banana but they're hard to put your finger on. This beer is so good but overwhelmingly banana so I assume it would not do well in competition. I would have said you wouldn't want to drink pint after pint of this beer but I've already proven that wrong.

Future Changes - None. I've brewed this recipe before with the Fermentis Wheat yeast and it came out much more balanced between phenol and fruity esters but just as good. I would not make this beer to have on tap all the time but it's a wonderful beer every now and again.

This beer is also great around a campfire:

Chocolate Coffee Stout

I brewed the bertusbrewery Chocolate Coffe Stout about a month ago for our annual memorial day party. My father-in-law loves the stouts and a strong cup of coffee so I thought I'd give this one a go.

I pretty much followed the instructions are recipe on bertusbrewery blog so have a look there if you're curious about any of that. Here are some pictures of the brew day.

Appearance - Moonless midnight black. You can't see through this beer even on the edges, very nice for a stout. Beautiful tan thick head that sticks around forever.

Aroma - Coffee! A tiny whiff of chocolate that eludes most of the time.

Mouthfeel - Medium-Medium Light and dry. This is definitely an american stout. It finished at 1.013 and with the roast and other dark malts + Coffee it finishes very dry on the tongue.

Taste - Great! I can't keep my hands off this beer which is a problem since it's earmarked for a party. It went over pretty well when I took it to our clubs big-brew-day as well. There is no chocolate taste in this beer at this point. There was a tiny amount when it was fresh out of the fermenter but the coffee has completely taken over at this point. It's still a great beer, amazing coffee flavor from the cold steeped kona and roast malt. 

Future Changes - First I would change the name to just Coffee Stout. The chocolate is barely noticeable. I would skip the cocoa nibs entirely, they're too expensive to waste on a beer where they're barely noticeable, I would split this beer into two. Leave the recipe as is for the stout removing the nibs and designing a chocolate porter minus the roast malts and coffee so the nibs can shine. I would also switch the yeast to WLP013 London Ale. This is a clean fermenting yeast that will leave a little more body in the beer which is how I prefer my stouts.

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