Sunday, July 6, 2014

Some New Tasting Notes

Tired Hands HopHands Clone (American Pale Ale)

Appearance - Pale bright golden color.  Nice fluffy head that dissipates into a ring after a few minutes.  Some slight haze, but pretty clear given the amount of oats in the recipe.  The original is much more opaque than this clone came out.  Solid lacing from start to finish.

Smell - Lots of lemon, citrus and some slight sweetness from the malt comes through.  There is a little bit of a grassy nose to it from the pretty large dry hopping.  Really amazing how much of a lemon scent this one puts off.

Taste - Similar to the aroma, tons of citrus in the taste.  The late hops really shine through on this one.  Given the amount of hops and IBUs on this one, almost no bitterness is detected.  The finish really showcases the interesting grain bill with a somewhat thick, cereal finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, medium carbonation.  Could probably use a bit more carbonation.  The body is near perfect for this beer though, but a little bit more carbonation would probably aid some head retention.

Overall - A pretty solid beer.  I'd probably up the oats next time to try to match the silky texture that the original HopHands highlights.  I'd probably struggle to call this a clone of the original.  It could probably use a touch more bitterness to balance out some of the malt and the intense citrus flavors from the whirlpool additions and huge dry hop.  I modified a version of the grain bill for The Southron Batch #2, so I'm excited to see how that one turns out.

The Blight Batch #2 (American Farmhouse Ale)

Appearance - Very thick, rocky white head that sticks around for a long time. The color is probably a tad darker than the recipe was intended, but that may have been a result of a longer boil.  The lacing on this is very thick the whole way down.

Smell - Citrus, berry and a touch of alcohol come through in the nose.  I almost feel like the larger dry hop that I tried out on this batch served to muddle some of the hop aroma.  None of the spiciness from the rye or saison yeast a prevalent, but might be helping to muddy some of the smell.  It doesn't smell bad by any means, but there just aren't any scents that truly shine.

Taste - This is literally bursting with flavor...just not typical saison flavor.  My mindset with a saison is that it is a beer that really showcases an interesting Belgian yeast that can be complemented with a thoughtful assortment of hops, but I'm sorry to say that this was just over hopped.  It doesn't come off as bitter at all, but I think I just tried too hard with my late hops and dry hopping.  This would be much for fitting for an IPA, but with a saison it's just a little out of place.

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy body, medium to heavy carbonation.The carbonation is spot on for a saison, nice steady bubbles with a slight prick on your tongue.  The body is definitely a bit thick.  I generally prefer my saisons to be bone dry and this doesn't fall into that category.  Has the texture of a warmer mashed IPA or an American Amber.

Overall - I think that this would be a wonderful beer if it was mashed lower, hopped lower and had a more thoughtful fermentation schedule.  The hops totally overwhelm this beer to the detriment of the subtleties of what should be a very interesting saison yeast.  I'm sure I'm being overly critical -- all of the beers were readily drunk -- but that's the purpose of this, right?

The Scholar (Societe Brewing's The Pupil)

Appearance - Light copper with a pure white, fluffy head that last for quite some time.  Head falls down to a small white layer after about three minutes.  Lacing is continuous.  Clarity is a little bit suspect, which I'm a bit disappointed about.

Smell - Tons of hops.  The Nelson Sauvin comes flying out of the glass.  You can really pick up that "pretty", white wine scent for which Nelson is famous.  A touch of alcohol comes through, but its definitely hops that shine.

Taste - Nice floral hops taste with the Nelson taking the main stage as planned.  The English yeast lends a fruit character to the taste that nicely complements the mix of hops.  As indicated below, a drier finish might complement the hop bill.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body, medium carbonation.  The carbonation on this is perfect.  The body could perhaps be a little bit thinner to accentuate some of the hops.  Has a nice lingering sweetness that sits around in your mouth.

Overall - This one really turned out wonderfully.  It does appear to be quite a bit darker than the original, but the taste is fantastic.  This will definitely get a rebrew with a lower mash and potentially a higher attenuating American yeast to dry this out.


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