Friday, November 16, 2012

American Pale Ale Tasting

Admittedly, I am still a bit bummed about the lack of availability with some of the more popular hop varieties this year, as each time I go to place an order, they are out of stock. Even finding some new crop Australian and New Zealand hops has become more difficult than I first assumed it would be. I do have a few ounces of Aussie and NZ hops on hand, but I'd really like to buy a few lbs. Anyways, as it looks like 2013 will be the year of the 'back to basics' in terms of American hop varieties, it is fitting that I get to enjoy one properly hoppy homebrew before I run out of Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe. This beer was brewed in late September and has been dry hopped twice, once in the secondary and again in the keg, with more than three ounces of hops each time. As it sits now, this is probably the hoppiest beer I have brewed in a long time, although the overall beer is pretty well balanced. A nice send off of sorts.

Levi's Pale Ale: American Pale Ale

Appearance - Pours a light amber/orange color with a sticky, white head that leaves good lacing. Clarity is better than I expected - it's sitting on 4.5 ounces of hops in the keg - with a slight hop haze.

Aroma -  Hugely tropical; pineapple, mango, passionfruit, and grapefruit zest. Not nearly as much pine as I was expecting. The hop aroma obliterates any perceivable malt or yeast character. One of those beers you can smell from a few feet away.

Taste - Same as aroma. Waves of tropical, fruity hops that coat your mouth and innards with resiny hop flavor. The malt character is well hidden by the hops, although the beer has a nice maltiness that keeps the beer from seeming too over the top and unbalanced. The hop flavors are clean and distinct. Bitterness is medium high, but not overly bitter. No alcohol or grassy flavors. Reminds me of a lower gravity Heady Topper.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-low and the beer has a pleasant, smooth mouthfeel that makes it go down a quite easily. Could be a tad more carbonated.

Drinkability & Notes - Pretty much everything I want in an American IPA, but without the alcohol or bitterness. While the intensity of the hops is probably its most noteworthy characteristic - especially for my friends - I really like how balanced it is. The hops are huge, but it still has enough malt character to keep it from tasting like hop water. One thing I don't like about many commerical IPA's is that they are so often devoid of any malt/yeast character or finish too sweet. This seems to have found the middle ground. If I ever find the hops to brew this again, I am tempted to ferment it with some wy1056 yeast, to see how the hop character would change. However, as the beer now sits, I wouldn't change anything.

6.8% ABV, 60 IBU, Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale. Recipe Here


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