Sunday, July 26, 2009

BQ IPA Tasting

Before I get in to this beer tasting, I want to make an announcement: My girlfriend, Clarissa, got a job offer in Vancouver, Washington, just a short commute from Portland Oregon. It was an offer too good to turn down, so Portland is officially where we will be moving to! I'm very excited, but also scared, as the unemployment rate is very high right now, at over 11%. Wow. I might be unemployed for a bit while looking for a brewing job. On a good note though, expenses are relatively low and we have the security of one job at least, not that I'm expecting her to be my sugar momma (although I wouldn't turn it down! Honey, I promise the kegerator will never run dry.).

This is the beer we brewed during the Beer Quest shoot, and it is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I was a little worried that it might not be hoppy enough, but this is a solid and intensely hoppy robust ale:

Aroma: Hugely aromatic hop bouquet, mainly pine and citrus (orange), caramelly and somewhat nutty malt backbone. Some residual sweetness, low esters and no hot alcohols. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Slightly hazy copper (I'm fine with a hop-haze in dry-hopped beers), a truly enticing color, with a lasting ivory head and carbonation on the lower end of the American ale range, maybe 2 volumes. Similar to a draft pour at a bar.

Flavor: A big resiny hop assault, but a malt backbone that is slightly more substantial than most west coast IPA's. Ample dextrins and residual sugars almost balance the hops, but not quite. The hop flavor includes orange, pine, wood, and spicy resins. Although there is some sweetness here, it is certainly balanced towards the hops, and the resiny aftertaste of the Chinook hops leaves a spicy and mouth-coating bitterness. No hot alcohols or off flavors are present.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation. Dextrins provide fullness. A lingering resiny hop quality. No husky astringency, but a slightly astringent hop character which I think is fine.

Overall: Awesome IPA, somewhat reminiscent of a Sierra Nevada Celebration ale, with more aroma and dry hops. I totally pounded this pint even though it is 7.2% ABV. I did prefer it on draft, as the carbonation seemed perfect then, and we lost a little during bottling, which de-emphasized the crispness & hop impression slightly. It is really interesting to see how much maltiness the Glen Eagle Marris Otter malt can provide on a stand-alone basis. If we would have added crystal malts, this would have been way too sweet!

If I would tinker with this recipe at all, and I'm not sure I would, it would be to lessen the percentage of Chinook hops as the bittering addition. Chinook is a love it or hate it hop, and it certainly has a rough lingering bitterness that I can see why some people do not appreciate. But if I took away some Chinook, I might increase the IBU's by 3 or so to compensate.

Overall I think Ray and I went out on a solid note with this beer and the last saison we brewed. Ray, I will miss you as a brewing partner, brotha! I'm sure we'll brew together sometime in the future though.


Halcyon? said...


I've read your comments on Babblebelt for sometime and just stumbled upon your blog.

Two years ago I moved, jobless, to Portland from NYC. I'm more than happy to show you around (i.e. drink beer) and answer any questions you may have.

Seanywonton said...

Thanks, we should go out for a pint some time.
Send me an email, I can't access yours from your profile.

Halcyon? said...

Gah, I was under the impression google allows the blogger host to access commenter's email. Anyway, I trust no reader of this blog will spam me, so my email is

Let me know if you have any questions beer related or not. I know how stressful a big move can be.

Chillindamos said...

Good luck on the move and congratulations to Clarissa on finding work. Everyone needs a smart sugar momma!

forrest said...

(Forrest says in a sing-songy voice while doing a little dance in his chair): i got a friend in portland, i got a friend in portland!

I'm excited for you both. And, thanks again for the tour at Six Point. Keeva and Joe are still talking about it. And it was kick-ass to see what you do in your spare time.

Ward said...

Great, another east coaster taking our west coast brewing jobs.

Joking. Congrats on the scheduled move to Portland. Make sure you get out to the high desert in Bend. They're brewing some awesome beer out there.

Ray G said...

hell yeah we will brew again!
been a blast brewing with you Sean, you have passed down alot of knowledge that has made be a much better brewer. Good luck and I hope to visit OR soon!