Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tasting: Parti-gyle stout / porter
LEFT: Smoked Russian Imperial Stout 9.8% ABV, 91 IBU
RIGHT: Peat-smoked session Porter 4.1% ABV, 23 IBU
Time to for a taste evaluation of the "2 Stouts, 1 Mash" parti-gyle beers. I realize that I have been slacking about doing tastings of my brews and it would probably serve readers better if they knew my opinion on the final product. For what it's worth, sorry. I'll try to do better!
Smoked RIS (sampled at 55 degrees):
Aroma: Rich chocolate / sharp roasted malt up front, rich sweetness, light American hop profile, Alcohol warming and spice, and an earthy, subtle smokyness. Smells nice already but time should improve it as alcohol and hops recede a bit.
Appearance: Jet black with a light reddish-brown head, good lacing. Fairly low on carbonation, but good for style and for a slow-sipping beer.
Flavor: Rich sweet caramel malts countered by a healthy dose of chocolate and burnt character, fairly smooth for such a young strong beer. Balance is toward the malt, with a light resiny bitterness after swallowing. Some hop flavor noted. The smoke flavor is low and mainly towards the end. Clean but present alcohol warmth.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, full bodied, nice roast bite and hop resin at the end, warming alcohol. No astringency.
Overall: I'm pretty impressed with this so far. The components blend very well together. There does seem to be a slightly "meaty" aftertaste to the beer which may be from my over-addition of brewing salts in conjunction with the smoke flavor, but it is fairly subtle and I'm still hoping it goes away with time. I was expecting just to sample an ounce or 2 and pour the rest out but it's drinking pretty easily. Can't wait to see where this goes in the next 6-12 months.
Peat-smoked session porter (sampled at 40 degrees):
Aroma: Porter aroma with notes of chocolate, a lightly sharp roasty twang, caramel malts, clean fruity esters, and some peat-smoke towards the end. No hops noted. Very clean but complex aroma for such a low gravity beer.
Appearance: A very clear dark brown with red highlights when held to the light. Tan head with good retention.
Flavor: A light but complex blend of chocolate, dark-fruit caramel malts, and a woody peat-smoke funk at the end. Low bitterness, really lets the malts come through. Clean fermentation, dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Fairly dry, but some body. Enough to not be thin. nice roasty dryness at the end, but nothing I would go so far as to call astringent.
Overall: I think my own positive response to this beer has been greater than that of other people who drink it, but I love this beer! Maybe it is the fact that it is a small beer, a bonus beer if you will, that happened to turn out really great. It's so drinkable and sessionable. I drank about 3 pints of this during the Superbowl when other good commercial beer was available. Other people have liked it well enough but only a few folks have been really impressed with it. Maybe in part it's because its a low alcohol beer?