St. Paddy's day. Can't say I've ever spent it slogging pints of Guinness with the hordes of Oi'rish at the bars or watching a parade. The whole commercialism of it all is a big turn off. When I was living in Ireland, St. Paddy's day was a pretty low key event. A nice walk in the countryside with the lady, followed by a few pints of Beamish or Murphy's at the local and maybe a rugby match on TV. No corned beef and cabbage and no leprechauns. It is funny how things change the farther you get from the source. Beamish for example. I never did enjoy drinking it in cans or when I found it on tap in the States. It always tasted best in Cork, right at those pubs around the brewery. It was a beautiful thing. Not the most flavorful or traditional of brews, but I can hardly imagine drinking anything else in that setting. I brewed a Beamish 'clone' back in December. Drank most of it in February and saved a bottle for today...
Appearance - Pours an opaque - black color with ruby highlights and rocky tan colored foam. Head retention is good. Carbonation is a medium but possibly a bit too much for the style. Poured this one from a bottle that I had previously filled from the keg.
Aroma - Light roast and dry cocoa with some dark coffee notes. Esters are low, though some earthy and spicy hop character is apparent in the nose. Not much sweetness or grain character.
Taste - Initial flavor is a dry cocoa powder and a coffee-like roast character that lingers on the palate. Some black malt like smokiness at the end. The roast flavor is nice and flavorful but not as strong as one would necessarily expect for a beer this dark. Esters are low and the hops make their presence known with the same spicy-earthy character in the aroma. The bitterness is medium-low and just enough to balance the malt. Goes down very easy.
Mouthfeel - Carbonation is adequate, better as it warms up, and the beer has a nice and smooth mouthfeel.
Drinkability & Notes - Overall, I am happy with this one. While I wouldn't say it is a perfect clone of Beamish - it has a bit too much hop and roast character for the real stuff (and) is a few SRM too dark - whatever I made is a tasty and easy drinking Irish stout. My main issue with this beer is that I don't think the Thomas Fawcett roasted barley is the best choice for a Beamish clone, as it has a bit smokier roast character than some of the other roasted barleys out there. Next time I brew this I'll go back to using a lighter flavored roast and tone down the hops. If anyone is interested in brewing a Beamish-type dry stout, I'd recommending starting out with around 7-8% roast, 5% chocolate, and 5% wheat malt and adjusting from there.
O.G: 1.040, F.G: 1.010, 4% ABV, 30 IBU, Wyeast Pacman Ale