Monday, June 18, 2012

Hibiscus Wheat Tasting

I've been remiss with my tasting notes of late. Been drinking a lot of good beer recently, both my own and some hard to find commercial examples, but finding the time to do anything these days is getting harder and harder. Regardless, a few months ago I brewed a hibiscus wheat beer, one that I had originally brewed in college and have made on and off since then. This beer was probably my first 'great brewing success' back in the day, as it was very popular with everyone who stopped by for a drink and (more importantly) kept the ladies around the apartment. The recipe was originally just pale and wheat malt, with some US goldings and an addition of hibiscus at flameout. I kept everything pretty much the same this time around, but subbed NZ hops for the goldings. I've had this beer on tap for since early May and it has turned out to be a refreshing, easy drinking beer. Glad I brewed it.

Hibiscus Wheat : American Wheat

Appearance - Pours a slightly hazy light gold/straw color with a low white head that slowly settles, leaving nice lacing. Clarity is very good now that the yeast has dropped out. The beer has the slightest hint of a pink-rose color around the edges. 
Aroma - First impression is of tropical flowers and fruit - guava, passionfruit, papaya - with a very clean and mellow wheat maltiness. It is hard to tell if the tropical aromas are from the hibiscus or from the NZ hops. When the beer was younger, it had a definite hop character, but it has since faded. 

Taste - Light wheat malt followed by a very pleasant tropical-hibiscus floral character that lasts through to the finish. The esters are low to none and the beer finishes clean, crisp, and very lager like. Bitterness is low and there isn't any discernible hop character. The hibiscus flavor isn't so strong you'd know it was hibiscus right off the bat, though it lends a floral, tropical fruitiness that you just don't get from using hops. Lastly, the hibiscus gives the beer a slight 'tartness' - almost like a good Kolsch - that makes it quite refreshing and drinkable. 

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium to low and the beer has a medium-light mounthfeel. The beer finishes dry, but pleasantly so.

Drinkability & Notes - Nothing to complain about. This could possibly be the perfect beer to drink while lounging about on a tropical island, or at least by the pool. One of the guys in my beer club mentioned that the only thing this beer is missing is a pink umbrella, a la "tiki" drink, and an island. While this isn't a beer I'm going to sit down and make a session of, it is very tasty/refreshing and quite popular too. I'll be sure to brew it again if the weather gets too hot or if I ever find myself needing a beer for a room full of "I don't like beer" people. 

O.G: 1.044, F.G: 1.008, 4.7% ABV, 20 IBU, Wyeast 1056 American Ale


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