Category Archives: tasting

Tasting – Just An Amber Ale


Well, two things to take home from this beer. First, I need to spend more time with crystal malts. This beer is excellent. Second, after having written off Safale US-05 just one day before, while trying a slightly experimental IPA, I think it is the perfect yeast for this beer. The other beer I refer to is an IPA that I brewed with my 5 gallon partner to use up all our hops. It had Belgian Pale malt, a significant amount of Munich Malt and Wheat. That beer tasted “hollow” for lack of a better description. It was all hop bitterness and nothing to hold it up. I think that US-05, being so clean, almost anonymously so needs some crystal-derived sweetness to support the hops. Mitch Steele has strongly discouraged the use of a lot of crystal in IPA, and for our all-Citra beer it worked- the WLP-007 provided a lot of character for the hops to interact with. This Amber had aroma malt, crystal 60 and a little Special B, and I feel like it’s a beer that shares a soul with Sierra Nevada. It has just that classic west coast flavour. If I were to change anything about this beer, it would be to dryhop with Cascade. I specifically avoided dryhopping and thus made a beer that is really exactly what I was hoping for. That feels good. However, this beer would be next level with an extra hit of grapefruit in the nose. I will be making this again.

Update, 15/11/2014 My homebrewing partner with whom I make 5 gallon batches finally got to tatse this over the weekend and declared in the best beer either of us had ever made!


Course correction and some tasting notes

Sometimes browsing home brew supply websites at work can lead to some inspiration. My plan with the currently fermenting Saison was to age it on local blackberries for 6 weeks or so, however I saw something on my website that lead me to rethink that beer entirely. Firstly, in a completely unoriginal and cliched move, Wyeast 3724 stuck at 1.025. I brought it up to the main house, placed the carboy in a bottling bucket and wrapped it in a heavy duvet with the heating belt on, which got it moving again. After a couple days it was just below 1.020, and smelled incredible, like peaches and pineapples. I decided to jump the gun and pitch Orval dregs from just a single bottle and take it back to the cellar. I realized this was going to slow the production of this beer down, probably by a couple of months, but I was willing to wait because I think it’s going to be something really special. Then I noticed our little euro freezer was already running out of space, and with three pounds of blackberries in a holding pattern, I might need to rethink things. Continue reading Course correction and some tasting notes