Monday, December 13, 2010

What's on tap - Tastings

Again, I am so bad about going back to do tastings of the recipes I've posted here. Sorry. I hope these are worth reading... the beers are tasting good! I pulled some samples yesterday while planning out what's going into kegs next, what's getting funk-dafied, and what's going on fruit. Later in the evening, Clarissa and I went up to the soft opening of Grain & Gristle, a new bar/restaurant in NE Portland that is a collaboration between Alex Ganum, owner of Upright Brewing, and a few other partners. The tap selection was great and the moules et frites was great too. So check it out if you're in Portland. Now for some tastings:

Color is like a hazy pilsner, on the light side for a saison, with a thick standing head with good retention. Aroma is very "saison-like" with a good balance of fruity esters, hops, and peppery phenols, and a background grainyness from the pils malt. A little more bubblegum/clove than I usually get when using only Dupont yeast, which I attribute to the secondary addition of the DeRanke yeast. Flavor is complex, starting with a medium-full body impression from high carbonation, some sweetness from the pils malt and esters, and hop flavor that it sort of earthy. It is dry and leaves the palate with a hoppy bite that encourages another drink. Alcohol is moderate but slightly warming with no "hotness". Overall, I think it's actually one of the best saisons I have made. It is not an over the top saison, but very drinkable while still remaining complex.

Clear copper in color with a thin, wispy white head. Hoppy, slightly lemon tea-like aroma, some grapefruit, and slight caramel/biscuit flavors from malt. Clean esters and alcohol. Medium-full bodied pale ale flavor with a fairly good balance of malt and hops. Creamy mouthfeel from the rye and fairly high final gravity. Overall, I like this beer and it's very drinkable, but I would like it to be a little drier, and I would like to mix up the hops a little bit more to get a better complexity. Very drinkable, but not astounding.

Big frothy pink head that dies quickly, on top of a cherry-red ale with a slight haze. Aroma is full of cherries and there is a spicy quality from both the brett and the innate spicyness of sour cherries. The acidity is noticable and very clean, as in lactic acid, not acetic. It does not smell exceedingly sour, but it is noticable. A little caramel malt background, no hops, low alcohol. Flavor is clean and lactic-sour, with a subtle maltiness. Maltiness could be higher to give the cherries and sourness more foundation. Nice carbonation, nice cherry flavor that blends with a touch of burnt sugar. The brett comes through well, as well as a hint of almond flavor from cherry pits. Overall, it's great, one of the best sours I've ever made. It could still use a touch more maltyness and maybe a touch more acidity, but I am very happy with this beer. It's not up there with the best commercial krieks, but it's very good and I'm proud of it. Its clean flavor and modrate sourness almost make it a session beer. I could drink 2 pints of it, whereas I would like it to be a slightly more intense beer that you would want to drink a small glass or two of.

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