Friday, August 17, 2012

California Common Tasting

Once in a while I get a beer that tastes amazing right out of the fermenter, but becomes so-so after sitting in the keg for a while and then all of a sudden goes back to being great. This was one of those beers. I drank a large glass of the stuff as I kegged it it, warm and uncarbonated, but after a week sitting in the keg at 45F, the flavors disappeared. It went from crystal clear to muddy, the hop aroma/flavor dropped off to nothing, and the malt was nowhere to be found. For a while I was worried I this beer wasn't going to turn out and with a back log of fermenting beer and no empty kegs, I was considering dumping it to make room. Thankfully, it never came to that. Three weeks later and people were guzzling this beer like there was no tomorrow. It became my beer of choice after coming home from work and it turned out to be a hit with my BMC drinking friends. Note to self: beer needs time to condition, especially lagers.

Session Steam : California Common

Appearance - Pours a brilliantly clear, amber/copper color with a two finger head that has good retention. The beer leaves sticky Belgian lace down the glass.
    
Aroma - Clean caramel malt with an underlying minty and lightly fruity hop character. The northern brewer hops make their presence known, although not as intensely as those found in Anchor Steam. 

Taste - First impression is a clean and crisp, lager like maltiness with a medium caramel character. The hops come through with some cascade grapefruit-rind followed by an herbal-minty flavor that lingers into the finish. The malt character of the beer is clean and slightly toasty. Bitterness is medium-firm and the esters are low to none. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-low and the beer has adequate mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes - This beer turned out much better than I had originally hoped for. The wlp060 yeast did a fantastic job. It fermented out extremely clean, but with enough character to keep things interesting and it let the malt and hops come through well. Hop wise, I really like the flavor combo of the no. brewer/cascade, although I wouldn't mind a bit more of the NB hop aroma and flavor. Bitterness is probably a bit low for the 'style' and I'll be sure to bump up the IBU's next time. I would love to re-brew this using some "Scarlett" 2-row. Overall, very happy with this one.

4.8% ABV, 30 IBU, Whitelabs 060 American Ale Blend

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