Monday, November 28, 2011

Belgian IPA gets tapped

I tapped a very interesting IPA tonight. I ended up packaging the whole batch of my Belgian IPA into two Party Pigs and just tapped the first pig after less than a day in the fridge. The aroma, despite dry hopping in the secondary and the Pig, is a bit neutral at first with light orange-marmalade notes which give way to a fairly intense phenolic character. This marmalade-phenolic character imparts itself on the palate as well and the esters make an interesting mix with the Chinook flavoring hops. The finish is bitter at first, but then tart. There is a decent amount of body to this beer, at least up front, which is what I expected using the Wyeast 3711 strain. I'm not sure I like such a strong phenolic character in a hoppy beer. Perhaps with age in the fridge the phenols will lager out. I think if I brewed this again that I would cut back on the Caravienne (I used a full pound), since I think it may have add a bit too much sweetness. I may have to start calling this beer Bittersweet IPA, as it almost tastes like I'm sucking on a toffee hard candy, eating an orange slice and drinking an IPA all at the same time.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Belgian-American IPA gets brewed

I brewed what I intended to be a Belgian-American IPA last Monday and today I racked that beer as a buttery pale ale with two ounces of Amarillo hops. I topped up the primary with a little too much water and ended up with a six-gallon batch of pale ale instead of a five-gallon batch of IPA. I racked to the secondary tonight and I'm hoping this beer's yeast cleans up after itself. After just seven days, this latest brew is a quite cloudy orange hue with an orange marmalade component to the aroma. So far it tastes rather odd, not infected, just strange. It is bitter, but the bitterness is coated in a buttery, orange marmalade sweetness accented by caramel. I'm definitely glad I've racked this one, because I think it's going to need some time to get rid of some intense amounts of diacetyl. Here is the recipe, where you'll see that I used an ample amount of Caravienne (a little over 13 percent which is perhaps a bit too much), but I have to wonder if it was enough to add such caramel character. I noticed some scorching on the bottom of the kettle after the brew session which may also be a factor in the caramel character of this beer. What I'm more concerned though is the buttery diacetyl. In the meantime, I'll have a homebrew and not worry.

The homebrew I'm having is my previous batch, Bitter Flowers, and it's drinking quite well. There is a light peppery hop aroma with perhaps just a touch of DMS, but it's not off-putting. The carbonation is quite good. A persistent quarter-inch fluffy white head sits on top of this brew, with ample lacing left behind with each sip. The mouthfeel definitely suggests saison; it is crisp without being too light, yet this beer has a very dry finish. There is an assertive, peppery hop bitterness yet the finish is rather soft before becoming impressively dry. The soft mouthfeel combined with the dry finish can be attributed to the Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast. This character is specifically mentioned on the yeast lab's website. Overall, I'm a pretty pleased with this beer. The hint of DMS bothers me, but I haven't noticed it in all the bottles. I have to say that drinking this beer has me kind of wishing I brewed another batch instead of trying to brew a Belgian IPA with the same yeast.