Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Overdue Review

I've been quite remiss about getting this post in; the Thanksgiving holiday will do that to a guy. So, without further ado, here's what I've got to say about my selections on tap at present.

First, the Scottish 70/-. It pours a nice light amber, tending towards the brown rather than the golden hue of some beers. It's got a bit of haze, as well. The head starts nice and thick (about 1"), then dwindles down to a ring of bubbles that chases the beer down the glass. I'm afraid it's a little astringent; I probably over-sparged, or somesuch (I'd have to double-check my notes), and I *know* it's over-carbonated. The aroma is malt, but only weakly so--I'm not sure what I'd do to fix that, for my taste. (In fairness, I've never had a commercial 70/- that I can recall, so I may not be imagining it right.) The alcohol level is low, probably about 3-3.5%, which is what I was aiming for, so it has that going for it. And this is the infamous 'ever-carbonating' beer; I'm convinced, now, that it's got an infection of some sort (perhaps a wild yeast strain--aside from the tannic astringency, there's no flavor indication of anything else, that I can detect). Not bad enough, perhaps, to dump, but not really good. I'll rate this as 'probably not my favorite style,' and move on smartly from there.

The Belgian Dubbel came out a bit more like I had imagined. It's a lovely deep copper color, with a creamy head that dissipates to the expected lace after a few minutes. The aroma is primarily malt, with a good bit of fruitiness from the yeast; the fruitiness tends towards the darker, dried fruits (plum) with some of the caramelized sugar coming through in the nose. The body is medium, and its flavor follows the aroma fairly closely, with a touch of something roasted coming through in the end. I might ask for the flavors to be a bit more 'in-your-face,' but it's certainly not bad. It is of a significantly higher alcohol content than the 70/-; probably in the 5.5-6% range, but it doesn't have a fusel heat. It goes down quite smoothly, probably due to its having a cooler fermentation than I necessarily would have intended. Still, I'd order another--but I'll tweak the recipe, the next time I brew it.

All for now; I've got beers (and wine and cider) to rack, a mead that needs bottling soon, and assorted other chores that must be done before my next brew day. I *plan* on getting to that Paulaner by this weekend, but time will tell, as always.

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