Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review: Heart Murmur - Atrium

It is always fun to test different ingredients and how they work and produce different attributes. A single malt, a single hop, a single yeast strain. Different combinations can produce different results. In this case, a single change of yeast strain produces vastly different results. One batch of wort, 100% Great Western Pale Malt, 3.0 oz of EKG hops to finish the beer (Magnum for bittering), to make 8 gallons of 1.052 wort, split two-ways. One received WY 1469 West Yorkshire, this one WY 1968 London ESB. It is amazing how the two yeast produced 2 vastly different beers, one malty, complex, hoppy, but not bitter, medium body, yet dry and light on the tongue; very impressive beer. As the following review shows, the second yeast, not so much, bitterness is pronounced, as are the hops, no malt character at all, dry, thinnish, light fruity esters, phenols, acetaldehyde. As with the West Yorkshire, the name comes from a flutter in a heart test called a Heart Murmur, which triggered some more tests; seeing as I was using all EKG hops, I decided to run with that as the name. Atrium comes from the location of the heart, in the lower section of the heart as is London in England when compared to West Yorkshire (the yeast for the other half of the beer).

Look: Pours a light orange with 1/2 finger pure white head, brilliant clarity, head fades slow to a thick cap that sticks around and leaves a great lace throughout.

Aroma: Hoppy, grassy, floral hops, light nuttiness, not much malt character, hoppiness is pronounced. Light banana esters, spicy.

Taste: Tastes of hops, floral, spicy phenols upfront and carry through, lots of cloves and pepper, clean malt but not much more. Banana, and some other light fruitiness. Phenols dominate the palate, covers up what should be there, wish there was more of a malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Bitterness is pronounced, malt is missing, light, somewhat bland and watery, dry phenolic finish with a lasting bitterness.  Acetaldehyde leaves a sticky mouthfeel, and astringent as well.

Overall: Not at all the blend of malt and hops, complex, balanced beer that the same wort produced with the West Yorkshire Yeast. Amazing how different these beers turned out. This beer has the bitterness and tons of flawed fermentation characters thanks to the brewery pitch of hop sludge. The more I drink this version, the more I want to pour it out.

1 comment:

  1. After taking this to the LHBS, they got a lot of phenols as well as acetaldehyde (green apple Jolly Rancher). Gotta love when the brewery pitch is pure hop sludge from an Imperial IPA, the yeast on this beer were extremely stressed out and it shows. Might actually be worth it to do this entire brew over, split ferments and all, with nice fresh healthy yeast starters to really see what they yeast do side by side.