Monday, December 17, 2012

Extra Stout Tasting

I brewed this beer back in mid October, hoping to make a stonger, dry stout that showcased a bit more malt character than what is often found in the style. To do this, I increased the amount of chloride and sodium in the water profile and included a decent amount of medium crystal. My thinking was that I could get a strong roasted barley/coffee character from the roast and still keep the beer towards the maltier-sweet side of things... without making the beer seem heavy. Unsurprisingly, I didn't achieve that. While the beer is fine tasting, it is not what I was looking for. The roast character is too muddled, the yeast doesn't add anything, and the resulting beer tastes like someone took three or four different styles of stout and combined them together. Looking back, I wish I had just stuck to a traditional recipe and not mixed and matched from different styles. "Dry and sweet" (and) "thick and thin" are not compatible in brewing. The lesson to be learned here is to know what you want before you brew it.

The Bruce: Extra Stout

Appearance - Pours an opaque, inky black with a thin, tan colored head that slowly dissolves back into the beer. Retention could be better.

Aroma -  Roasted barley and chocolate malt with an earthy hop character. Esters are lightly fruity and mostly clean. Some sweet caramel/toffee character.

Taste - Dark roasted malts with a sweet, caramel flavor that lingers to the end. The roasted character is more of an earthy, chocolate flavor than pure coffee. Bitterness is medium-low and beer the has a very creamy, oatmeal stout-like character to it. Again, esters are lightly fruity, but overall the yeast character is quite neutral... too neutral.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is very low and the beer has a thick and viscous mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes - Decent, but not exactly the beer I was hoping for. I wanted a strong, roasted barley character and instead got a slightly muted, sweet caramel/chocolate flavor in its place. As it sits now, the beer needs more bitterness to balance the malt and the yeast really didn't add anything to the beer. Going 'malty' with the water profile certainly worked, as the beer is full flavored and rich tasting, but a maybe a tad too much. Overall, this beer was pretty well received and got kicked quickly due to a party, but the recipe is a contradiction of styles.

6.0% ABV, 45 IBU, WLP006 Bedford Bitter. Recipe Here

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