Friday, January 20, 2012

Make it a Great Day Pale Ale - Tasting Notes

Last night, was the grand unveiling of the Make it a Great Day Pale Ale. Co-conspirator, neighbor, entrepreneur and Buffalo luminary, Tim Godzich, joined me in sampling the Make it a Great Day Pale Ale. Polly also helped critique our brew. We tasted the beer side by side with it's muse, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Overall it was a lot of fun to taste the beer and perceive the flavors of the ingredients used. Below are the scores and tasting notes for our brew (did not score Sierra Nevada) as well as a few hypotheses on how to improve the brew next time. Next time, I will also remember to take pictures so you can enjoy this brew too!

Appearance (0-3 pts): Deep reddish-copper color, darker and less clear than it's muse. A good, sudsy head and strong head retention. Did not use Irish moss in the boil and hypothesize that the slight cloudiness is a result of chill haze. Beer is much clearer in the bottle at room temperature. Darker color is a result of using malt extract rather than all-grain. Average score: 2.

Aroma (0-4 pts): Bursting with hop aroma, this is one of the strong points of this brew. Lots of grapefruit and floral aroma from the Cascade and Perle hops. Malt characteristics not as perceptible. This is a theme for this beer as hops tend to slightly over power the malt. Theory is that because we did not reach the recommended gravity (1.052) we did not extract enough sugars from the Caramel malt and that impacted the overall beer. However, the hop aroma and flavors were well liked by the judges and therefore did not cost much in terms of ratings. Average score: 3.67.

Taste (0-10 pts): Malt flavor in the front finishing with a strong pine hop flavor from the Chinook hops with a slightly sharp, bitter bite at the end. Overall, the Chinook hops slightly over powered the malt sweetness and we had a harder time perceiving the flavor characteristics of the caramel malt. If anything, this beer was also slightly over-carbonated. This helped with the thick, creamy head but also made it difficult to pour. Overall, the flavor was good and enjoyed by the judges, so did not cost the beer much in ratings. I expect that some of the hop character will mellow with age and that the beer will come more into balance. Average score: 7.67.

Overall Impressions (1-3 pts): Great aroma, lots of hops, good sudsy head. Exploding with grapefruit and pine. Recommended for fans of American pale ale, particularly Sierra Nevada. Average score: 2.67.

Total average score (1-20 pts): 16.

Thoughts for improvement next time:
1. rinse the caramel malt to ensure we are getting all the sugars from the grain
2. add Irish moss to the boil
3. more carefully strain the hops from the wort
4. use slightly less priming sugar

1 comment:

Clint said...

Might also try softening the water or using filtered or store bought spring water. Water hardness may be accentuating some of the hoppiness.