Friday, July 27, 2012

Amber and Cream Ale Tasting

I have a small backlog of tastings that I need to get through, so here comes a double one. Both of these beers have been in the keg for about five weeks now and I have really enjoyed drinking them. Good session-y beers for the hot weather. The cream ale was just a simple thing, mostly pale and pilsner malt, hopped with a sizable amount of hallertauer and fermented with wy1056. Funny enough, I mostly brewed this beer for my BMC drinking friends, thinking the pale color and light flavor would get them to drink it. But alas they found it too hoppy. "Ack, what is this...IPA?" they said. I cant win. The amber ale was also pretty standard, expect that I used a new base malt...a domestic 'Scarlett' pale malt. Hopping was with Zythos - a blend I had not used before - and I fermented it with dry Nottingham.

LawnMower Beer : Blonde/Cream Ale

Appearance - Pours a very clear, straw/golden color with a two finger, white head with good retention.
Aroma - Slightly sweet, grainy malt and very light fruit esters. Some spicy/floral hop aroma.

Taste - Slightly grainy malt flavor and light fruit esters. Hop character is more evident than the style allows, with the usual floral and spicy hallertauer flavor. Bitterness is very low, practically unnoticeable, but just enough to keep the beer balanced. Medium-dry. Finishes clean and crisp.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is fine, although certainly less than macro lagers. Beer goes down smooth and easy.

Drinkability & Notes - I don't know if I can brew a more neutral flavored beer than this. What flavor this beer does have is clean and makes for easy drinking. The hop character was stronger when the beer was young, but it has since subsided. If it wasn't for the light esters, I'd definitely think this was a lager. Makes me want to brew a Czech Pils. 

5.2% ABV, 20 IBU, Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Session Amber : American Amber Ale     

Appearance - Pours a very clear, amber/red color with decent head retention. Color is spot on.

Aroma - First impression is mellow - herbal, lemony hops and a toasty/nutty caramel aroma. Esters are almost non-existent.

Taste - The beer has a nice toasty, nutty malt character followed by some dark caramel flavors. Hops stay mostly in the background with the same herbal, slightly citrusy (lemon/grapefruit zest) type of flavor. Esters are very low and the beer finishes clean and crisp. Bitterness is low and balanced 

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is a tad low, like an English cask ale, but quite pleasant. Medium mouthfeel.
Drinkability & Notes - First, I really like the malt flavor of this one. That 'scarlett' pale malt is amazing stuff, I really like rich, toasty flavor it gives the beer. I would love to find a place that sells it in bulk, without having to go through a brewery. The Zythos hops on the other hand were quite disappointing. I was expecting big, American type flavors and instead got an herbal, lemon peel character that seems more suited to a saison or witbier. Won't bother using them again. Lastly, the Nottingham yeast did a great job. The beer is very clean and rather lager-like. Though, maybe a bit bland tasting? Will surely re-brew this beer, though no Zythos hops and a different yeast. 

4.6% ABV, 25 IBU, Dry Nottingham.


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