Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tasting: Calypso Pale Ale

A tasting of the dry-hopped, all-Calypso pale ale I did recently:

Appearance: Hazy burnished orange, definitely some hop or chill haze going on that I would like to fine out if it were a commercial beer, but which I'm fine with for a homebrew. Fairly resilient head and nice glass lacing.

Aroma: Hoppy, but not assertively aromatic, vaguely fruity hops with a touch of red apple, pine, and a little onion. Light grassy/bready grain background, very clean low esters and alcohol aroma. No diacetyl. Not bad, not very memorable as far as the hops go.

Flavor: Fairly balanced between bready, caramelly malts and grassy hops. A slightly rough, almost burnt quality of bitterness enters in the flavor mid-palate and seems to linger long after swallowing. Not overly bitter, but at the same time, not a clean or crisp bitterness. Dry finish, no alcohol bite or fermentation off-flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, medium carbonation adds some spicy, prickly character. Just slightly astringent on the gums, which I would think is hop derived rather than malt derived. Clean finish, rather easy to drink.

Overall: Some aspects of this beer I really like. I like the malty, grainy character provided by the fairly large percentage of Vienna malt and crystal malt, although if I were truly looking to design a "perfect" pale ale, I would dial them both back just a touch. The Calypso hops, I have to say, I am not too excited about. The high cohumulone percentage definitely seems to have added a rough bitter aftertaste that I think doesn't make it ideal for a bittering hop, yet on the other hand, the aroma is not really that astounding compared to the more choice American varieties like Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, or Centennial. So I don't really know where this hop finds its place, either as a bittering or flavor/aroma hop, but maybe other people will have more success with it than I did. Overall, it's a fairly good beer, but the keg is not moving very fast, which is always a sign of how drinkable it really is.

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