The nose is more bready than yeasty, but there’s some overlap. A sourdough influence is present, I would say but not disruptive. An accent scent.
The head on the beer is a bit thin, but the effervescence is constant, so that’s good.
Buuut. The flavor has a hit of that tea-cinnamon flavor, left over from the yeast I used on the winter warmer. This is a disruptive element, in a beer that I was really hoping would be bready and clean. It doesn’t make the beer undrinkable by any means, but I have to acknowledge that it’s a fly in the ointment.
So I’ll take that as a lesson to do keep my yeast as clean as I can-until its last use. Then, adjunct away!
I took this recipe from the Homebrew Day 2020 post by FH Steinbart’s for a hoppy red ale.
The nose is still malt forward, with a little bit of caramel, a little toast but not much in the way of hops.
Which is actually OK: the malts are right up front when I drink the beer, but a nice citrusy bite comes around on the finish to keep things tidy. It works better than I would’ve thought. A pleasant, drinkable ale.
Whenever I’ve had Sorachi Ace hops in the past, they always had a lemongrass quality to them, which I dug on. So when making cream ales this year I thought: those would be perfect, right?
Then the pandemic happened and I couldn’t find them. But I kept my eye out and then…they were back in stock. So, I was eager to give them a go-what could be better than the crispness of a cream ale with a hint of lemongrass?
The results were not as hoped though. The nose is a little soapy and that is a bummer. The flavors don’t have much lemongrass in them either. There’s some caramel in the middle, which is good, and the finish is dry and maybe a little grassy? But this didn’t come together like I wanted. The nose is definitely off the mark.
It’s not the worst thing but I wish I’d gotten a little closer to what I envisioned.
Brew date: 9/19/20
Steeping grains 6lb Mecca Vienna malt 2 lb Great Western 2 Row
Fermentables: 3 lb ExLME
Hops .5 oz Azacca, 1.5 oz Sorachi Ace @60 1.5 Sorachi Ace .5 Azacca @5
Years: Imperial Pub (2nd use)
Additions 2 tsp Gypsum (for water hardness) 1/2 tsp Irish moss at flameout (clarifying agent)
This year’s Mary MacCleod has a very luxurious chocolate nose to it. It’s steady, even after letting the beer warm up for a significant amount of time, which is good, because it’s the best way to drink this beer.
This is also the first time that I’m detecting a hint of tobacco in the beer, too; it’s still quite chocolatey, but the sharpness of the tobacco makes for a really interesting stout.
However letting this beer warm up to nearly room temperature is where it starts to shine. The rough edges fade out, the chocolate settles in and it becomes a bit velvety on the tongue.
The only real problem I have is remembering to wait ten or more minutes before drinking the beer. Otherwise, no complaints at all.
Brew date: 10/24/20
Steeping grains 2 lb Chocolate malt 1 lb Carafa 1 3 lb Opal 20L, Golden Promise, Genie malt .6 oz toasted oats (20 min @250
Good news; the nose is still malt forward. Caramel, definitely has a liquid extract sweetness to it-which means it’s a little abstract. I don’t think there’s any one grain that malt extract is made out of, so I can’t exactly say; caramel 80 is responsible here!
I can, though, say it’s got a more caramel flavor than other efforts, due to the use of regular malt extract instead of extra light malt extract. That’s OK; it doesn’t play havoc with the beer, it’s just a bit darker and a bit more malt forward than I’d want for a cream ale. But I’m not sure there’s a light amber style, and it’s not hoppy enough to be a pale ale so…what do we call this?
Maybe an red ale? Maybe amber really is a good description; I’ve always felt that most amber ales tinted too dark anyway and should be called reds…but I don’t make up the naming conventions.
There is I’m pleased to say, a present but not upstanding bitterness on the finish. A little lemony, a little floral but unmistakably bitter there. It helps tie the beer together, keeping any sweetness from overrunning things.
The nose isn’t bad; a whiff of citrus is there but it’s largely malt, which is not what I was looking for. I might have to start adding hops in the following days, after the initial yeast activity, if I want to really get something in the nose, because this isn’t doing it.
There’s also a rather prominent run of malt in here. So the hops really aren’t getting to shine much. Even the finish isn’t offering me much bitterness.
Honestly, this might not make a bad red ale-it’s dark enough and there’s enough sweetness but…how the heck did I get here? And then I see it; Light malt extract, not extra light-so the malts were going to be pushed more than the hops I was adding in.
It’s not bad, but I possibly mismanaged my expectations.
Brew date: 10/4/20
Steeping grains 4 lb Golden Promise 4 lb Genie Pale
Fermentables: 3 lb LME
Hops .25 oz Pallisade 1oz Galena @60 1 oz Galena, .75 oz Pallisade @5