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.