So I gave Old Churches about 2+ weeks in the bottles before finalizing my opinions of it.
The down side; the carbonation almost didn’t take. It’s consistent, yes, lasting all the way through the pint but frequently it’s thin, almost anemic in its foam producing qualities. This is a bummer, because this beer is a bit aggressive with the coffee flavor. Some effervescence helps to take it down a notch-when it’s present. Since sometimes it is, and sometimes is isn’t I’m a bit lacking on the repeatability part. On the plus side, I have gotten some advice that might prevent this problem in the future, so I’ll try it with the next beer I make.
That said, this beer is different. It is a brown, and has a lot of the coffee influences of a brown, but it’s highly alcoholic and isn’t clear at all. I figure that the cloudiness is due to the combination of yeasts I used in this beer, so that doesn’t worry me. The flavors don’t seem to betray any kind of infection and I did forget the Irish Moss which might’ve helped with the clarity, but since the taste doesn’t seem to be impacted I look at this more as a distinctive quality instead of a negative one.
The nose has coffee and how much you like that probably depends on your love of coffee. However, the taste is all coffee; front and back stand up like some oiled Russian wrestler: I AM COFFEE!
Somewhere in the middle of this is a banana flavor. I know, it’s like: wait, WHAT? with a little eyebrow arch on the side, but there it is; coffee – banana – coffee. Because the effervescence is low in this beer, I can really keep it in my mouth and roll it on my tongue for a little bit and get a vibe for the flavors. Good because I can eek some truth from this beer, but bad because I am left with a coffee taste that sidles its way into the corners of my mouth, right above the back teeth, and that can get very bitter very fast. But the banana slides in between like a ballerina, and keeps the beer from going off the rails, which I’m very grateful for.
What makes this really, really interesting is that it’s meant to be drank warm. As in; nearly room temperature warm. All the sharp flavors I’m describing only seem to exist when the beer is cold. If I put a room temperature beer in a glass from the freezer, and let it sit for three minutes, the whole experience becomes a smooth one; the coffee flavors are lighter, the banana is nearly unnoticable, and the sharp finish doesn’t exist at all. I’m really surprised at how different the experience is.
So I call the experiment a success. Good beer, well drank, and good to share. Plus; it’s strong. Really strong. Hard to complain when it comes out decent and has a pleasant mind effect. I thank Impy for the suggestion, and hope she gets to drink some in the future.