Monday, February 27, 2012

Tasting Notes: Hoppy Burton Ale (English IPA)

Taking a page from Mike "The Mad Fermentist" I've decided to start posting tasting notes for my beers. I've often wondered what my beers would rate like if I could post them on ratebeer, and this seems like a good way to quantify the experience in order to improve the beers in the future.

A general note about tasting notes: These are my personal impressions. If you have tried the beers I'm rating and would like to add your own evaluation, you are encouraged to do so in the comments for the appropriate beer.

Hoppy Burton Ale Ver. 1
A note about the name: After my diatribe about American IPAs I wanted to call this beer something that would distinguish it from the style. While it is true that the IPA is, fundamentally, an English beer, I felt that the "IPA" designation conjures certain expectations that this beer does not, and was never meant to meet.

Appearance - This beer is pretty. There's no other way to describe it. Deep golden color bordering on copper. A solid white head and decent lacing. Beer is somewhat hazy, though. I don't know if a couple more weeks of aging would clear that, or is it just a natural result of dry hoping (in primary, no less).

Aroma - I must admit that I was a little disappointed at the aroma at first. I poured the beer, sniffed it, and smelled almost nothing. But then I let it sit for a bit, and once it got a little warmer (about 12C) the beer just "opened up". All of the sudden there was a whole bouquet of aromas. Earthy notes, spices, and forest. It was a little disconcerting not to have the grapefruit notes that we all to often associate with (American) IPAs, but there was plenty of nose to satisfy. Still, I think it would benefit from more aroma next time.

Taste and Palate - Firm bitterness with plenty of hop flavor. Palate lasted a good 10-15 minutes. Very balanced and a good malt background means that it doesn't give you that lop-sided sear-your-throat taste that some IPAs can. In the same way that the beer could use some more aroma, it could also use a little more flavor (not bitterness, just flavor). But on the whole very nice.

Drinkability and general notes - Medium body and good mouth feel. This is a nicely drinkable beer. It needs to be served cool rather than cold, which is typical of English beers I suppose. Carbonation is a little on the high side for the style, and could be toned down a notch as well. All in all, I'm very pleased with the result.

Notes for next version - More late addition hops would benefit this beer. Perhaps something around the 5 minute mark, or simply adding more hops to the 10 min and dry-hop stops. This recipe calls for challenger, fuggle and E.K. Golding hops, with challenger being a bittering addition only, so perhaps a good choice here would be to add a little of it to the flavor stop as well.
Carbonation on this batch was 2.4 volumes, and should probably be dialed down to 2.3 or 2.2. This, along with the higher serving temperature, will give it more of a "real ale" feel, which is where this beer originates, after all.

Recipe (as brewed):
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l Brewer: Boaz
Boil Size: 29.44 l Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 80 min Equipment: Brew Pot (50L) and Cooler (24L)
Final Bottling Volume: 20.00 l Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00

Est Original Gravity: 1.054 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.052 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.3 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.2 %
Est Color: 10.4 SRM

4.00 kg Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM) Grain 1 85.0 %
0.18 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (2.3 SRM) Grain 3 3.8 %
0.18 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.8 %
0.25 kg Medium Caramel/Crystal Malt - 45L (45.0 SRM) Grain 2 5.3 %
0.10 kg Dark Caramel/Crystal Malt -107L (107.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.1 %
45.00 g Challenger [7.00 %] - Boil 80.0 min Hop 6 38.1 IBUs
45.00 g Fuggles [5.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 7 19.8 IBUs
30.00 g Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Dry Hop 7.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 9 -
15.00 g Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 25.0 min Hop 8 6.0 IBUs
10.00 g Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 11 1.1 IBUs

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body Total Grain Weight: 4.71 kg
Sparge Water: 15.12 l Grain Temperature: 16.0 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 C Tun Temperature: 22.2 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 13.16 l of water at 75.1 C 66.7 C 60 min
Mash Out Add 6.84 l of water at 95.7 C

Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 125.67 g Carbonation Used: Bottle with 125.67 g Corn Sugar
Yeast: S-04 (Fermentis)
Fermentation Temp: 20C

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