Monday, October 12, 2015

Brewery Trial Review - Breaking the Habit - Coffee Porter

I'm literally sitting here thinking... "Is it really October already?" I mean, really? Feels like my wife and son just got out for Summer vacation. I'm not even sure I ate much of the wonderful Summer bounty from our area and now it is gone and pumpkins are everywhere. It used to be too hot to fall asleep, and now the night is crisp and brisk, and the darkness overshadows the day sooner and sooner with each passing moment. The days of crisp and light beers are passing and the dawn of a new season of dark and roasty beers is upon us. Just in time for the switch is this Coffee Porter.

Appearance: This beer pours very dark, yet super clear, under a rich and sticky head that last for a few minutes before dropping to a thin cap. Sticky lace clings to the walls of the glass all the way through. Clear, dark brown highlights hug the edges.

Aroma: Big bursts coffee leap off the nose. Roast coffee leads the way with caramel and dark chocolate notes, hints of esspresso, which gives way to fruity pineapple esters and a wiff of alcohol. Below the coffee is a rich biscuity malt with a touch of hops.

Flavor: The flavor doesn't mimic the nose at all. Biscuity malt leads the way with hints of chocolate and burnt sugar. A mild spicy hop note peaks through leading to a balanced and dry finish. The final note to wash over the tongue is a return of the espresso notes and a mild acidity.

Mouthfeel: The light, yet creamy body, gives way to a dry and mildly roasty finish. Though the body is light it isn't thin or watery, and could use a little boost. No acrid flavors from the coffee.

Overall: The blend of coffee and beer is complex and balanced with neither overcome by the other. Each take a turn coming forward in waves, cofee, beer, coffee, beer, coffee beer. The blend of coffee adds depth, but the beer never gets lost to it. Could use a higher FG for more body, but other than that, this beer is ready to go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Brewery Trial Recipe - Tragic Magic: Session Saison 3.0

Yes it is Fall.  Yes I just brewed a beer that fits perfectly in Summer.  Yes, I did this on purpose.  The recipe is starting to dial in for my Session Saison, but it isn't there quite yet.  I really enjoy this beer, but it needs a little more work, so I brewed it again even though we are headed into times of darker nights and darker beers.  I want to have a fresh memory of where the last batch was while comparing this batch.  And, I am also bringing the team (thus far) for the brewery over for a tasting and cheese pairing and needed all of my Flagships ready for sampling.  I also need to ensure that this a beer I will want to drink in the dead of Winter, because if I won't drink it, not many others will, and if no one wants to drink it year round, it shouldn't really be a Flagship.  I am still trying to dial in the spicing, for this version I added some peppercorns to get some peppery bite and left out one of the original spices which really needs to remain from initial tastings of this batch (it is missing something great compared to previous batches).   I am also playing with the hops as one of them throws this herbal tea bag astringency thing that I am not too fond of (I think it is the Crystal since it doesn't show up in the IPA).  I also took a shot at adding Lacto a day before the yeast strains on half this go round to see how it works out with a touch of tartness and lower pH.  We'll see how these adjustments do and then go from there on the next iteration, but for now, it still drinks nice when doing yard work.  As an added bonus, I have a culture of a Brett strain growing up at the moment that I plan on adding to a case of bottles to see what a little aging will do to this one.