Friday, September 23, 2011

Postmortem Tasting: Aussie Sparkling Ale

It's been a few months since I had this beer on tap. I brewed it in part as an attempt to clone the very famous Coopers's Sparkling Ale and to try out the WLP009 Aussie Ale strain that I had heard so many good things about. Three weeks after kegging, I tasted my version side by side with the original. I was a bit worried about getting a fresh bottle to compare the two, as this is not a beer that is easily found (in good condition) here in the States. Here are  the notes.

Coop' Sparkling Ale : Aussie Ale

Appearance – Mine pours a hazy, pale orange color with a small bright white head that settles to a fine ring. I gave the keg a little shake to stir up some sediment, as to simulate adding yeast from the bottle. The bottled version pours a brilliantly clear pale orange color, with a similar white head. The color on mine is a bit darker and has a lot less carbonation. I added the yeast from the bottle and it came out in a big solid chunk that I had to break up.

Aroma –  Mine is a tad estery with banana and apple predominating. Little to no hops, with a sweet, bready malt character. Smells quite nice, albeit a tad more fruity than I wanted. The commercial version is practically devoid of esters, maybe just a hint of fruitiness with a definite old malt and cardboard character. No hops. Not very similar at all.

Taste – Mine has a bready and sweet malt flavor that finishes very clean. The esters are restrained and the beer finishes a lot like a lagered cream ale. No hops and very low bitterness with no caramel presence either. Mine finishes quite dry. The commercial one tastes cardboardy and old. The malt character, or what is left of it, is thin and neutral. Hops are non-existent and the beer has an old yeasty flavor that is rather unpleasant. Bad or old bottle...

Mouthfeel – Carbonation on mine is a bit lacking. Considering this is supposed to be a sparkling ale of sorts, it goes down more like a bitter. The mouthfeel on mine is fine, the beer finishes dry and goes down very easy. The commercial product is pretty spot on for carbonation, lively and continually releasing a stream of bubbles that supports the head. 

Drinkability & Notes – Well, I am pretty happy with how my version came out, although there were practically no similarities to the commercial stuff. I knew it was going to be hard finding a good bottle to compare the two and unfortunately the bottle I received was very much past its prime. However, it is nice to think that the beer I brewed might in someway resemble the stuff they are drinking in Oz. Lastly, I don't think I'll be incorporating this yeast (wlp009) into my seasonal rotation, as it seems to have a pretty limited use. 

O.G: 1.047, F.G: 1.006, 5.3% ABV, 25 IBU, WhiteLabs 009 Australian Ale. Brewed 6 June.

1 comment:

  1. The description of your version (apart from carbonation) sounds like the Sparkling Ale I know and love. Apple+Banana, fresh bread - although you might be missing the subtle earthy, almost flinty support of PoR hops. Good on you for giving it a burl, and hopefully you will one day be able to try a native pint!

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