Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Festivus

It's Festivus time again, the grievances have been aired, and not it's time for this year's Feats of Strength.

Appearance: A deep red with a thick and creamy white head that hangs around for a few minutes. This is exactly what I'm looking for in a holiday ale - dark but not too dark and oh so inviting.

Aroma: Malty and slightly spicy. A small amount of banana, oranges, and black pepper are detectable. Not an overwhelming aroma with very little hop which is entirely old world British and spicy.

Taste: A little bit too bitter without enough malt to balance. Also a bit tannic; it seems I may have added the spices a little early. It's not too bad, just a little off. The complexity of spices is a bit overwhelming and it's tough to pick anything out. I think I need to adjust the spice bill again, maybe less coriander and a little more on the sweeter spices like clove. I may even add some juniper berries next time.

Mouthfeel: A little watery and thin for a holiday ale. The conversion to all grain needs some adjustment. Probably a higher OG and a hotter mash.

Impression: Overall, not too bad but not great. The conversion to all grain didn't quite hit the mark and the spices were a little muddy. I'd give it a B- and I'll sit on a few bottles to see how they age. I've got some ideas for adjustments next year and that's half the fun; changing the beer a little every year and watching it evolve.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

As of yet unnamed coffee porter

First order of business...this still doesn't have a name and I'm open to suggestions!

Second order of business, it has been tasted. I actually had some last weekend but I didn't take pictures, etc. so I'm just writing up the tasting notes now. In short; fantastic!

Appearance: A nice pour in an English pint glass. A thick, slightly caramel head lingered for quite a while. My initial pour in an American style pint glass saw the head fade quickly and I expect it either needed a little more age or the glassware was to blame. The color is quite dark but when held to the light takes on a wonderful deep mahogany.

Aroma: Roasty and malty with a mild, pleasant coffee aroma. There's a slight spice likely from the hops but it is barely detectable.

Taste: Malty flavors mix well with a extremely smooth coffee undertones. The balanced bitterness is definitely a coffee dominated bitterness with just enough hops to hold back much sweetness. There's some nice chocolate in the finish after the roasty flavors settle down.

Mouthfeel: Nice body but not syrupy. It holds well on the palette when swished around.

Impression: An absolutely fabulous beer. Some folks have said this is my best beer to date. I'd say it's on par with the citra pale ale. The cold brewed, lighter roasted coffee was certainly the right decision. I'd brew up a keg of this and drink it all winter long.