Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First Homebrew Tasting

Last night I hosted my first home brew tasting. It turned out to be a lot of fun and all the beers were fantastic. I want to first say thanks to everyone (Brian & Nicole, David, Andrew and Bartek) for coming out on a Monday night. It was one of the only days everyone had free. Thanks to Andrew for bringing by 3 of your tasty home brews. Thank you also to my wife Sarah for taking great photos, and my baby Cadence for being a sweetheart.

Only one apology goes out to Bartek...that it wasn't at all the casual drinking night you had imagined. I hope you now know...I don't joke around. No games...all serious-like. Ha Ha! I really do appreciate all of your good notes. I really had a great time having you all over. I just think its amazing that "we" made these beers from our own hands and from scratch. And in their finality, they all turned out GREAT! Brewing beer is totally worth the time and effort, and sure beats paying crazy high prices in the stores.

We got off to a late start, but the night went on remarkably focused and smooth. Everyone had their own tasting note cards with lots of great responses. We tasted 7 out of 10 beers, and started with what we thought would be easier drinking beers. We finished with Andrew's Coffee Stout and high octane Belgian Tripel and Barleywine. Below I will go through each beer in order and highlight the tasting notes for each one.

1. Belgian Pale Ale - 5.5% bottled from primary 6/1/07
Appearance - Deep golden color with amber & brown hue, hazy, low carbonation/not fully conditioned
Nose - Soft scents of floral & citrus bouquet, some candy sugar sweetness and mild yeast
Taste/Mouthfeel - A sweetness of soft fruits and jaggery, floral & citrus, yeasty, mild tart/tangy bitterness, with a light mouthfeel
Aftertaste - The tang remains with tart bite on the tongue, some bittering, and earthy & dryness
Overall/Drinkability - Smooth and balanced, crisp, good, delicious, drinkable, a nice young Belgian...Andrew says he can't wait till its fully conditioned (full batch still in secondary)

2. Munich Dunkel - 4% brewed 12/3/06
Appearance - Reddish brown & clear as day...sunset perhaps, light/white head lingers
Nose - Clean light yet rich aroma, malty, nutty, biscuit, hint of cherry, grains, wine perhaps?
Taste/Mouthfeel - Super mellow & smooth maltiness, clean, nutty, cocoa powder, grainy, grape, and hint of smoke, velvety mouthfeel
Aftertaste - Clean & light, earthy, more "cocoa" dryness towards back of tongue, slight charred wood and hint of smoke
Overall/Drinkability - Very easy to drink, smooth & mellow, great lager, nice solid Dunkel

3. Czech Pilsner - 5.5% brewed 2/18/07
Appearance - Pale yellow and slight haze, with white head that lingers
Nose - Bold & soft citrus hop scent, floral, sweet "grapes", faint apricot
Taste/Mouthfeel - Smooth but also aggressive, super crisp, bold hoppy flavor, slight caramel, light and tingly, attenuated
Aftertaste - Refreshing, fizzy and clean, not bitter, slight barley, acidity noticed
Overall/Drinkability - Very drinkable..."all day long", great smooth/soft carbonation, interesting, flavorful, refreshing.

4. Citrus Lager - 5% brewed 1/30/07
Appearance - Light amber, golden orange, clear, white head
Nose - Mandarin/tangerine, sweet orange aroma, citrusy & fresh, lemon
Taste/Mouthfeel - Clean, bitter, super orange flavor upfront, lemon and subtle grapefruit, taste mellows with more sips, fuller body
Aftertaste - Bitter, maybe gingery, grapefruit adds quite a bit, lemon, wheat beer-like aftertaste
Overall/Drinkability - Unique, different, aggressive, a bit too much orange, best in small volume, paired well with fruit/citrus desserts and maybe chocolate

5. Belgian Tripel - 9% bottled approx. 1 yr ago
Appearance - Loads of foam with solid staying power, golden with slight amber, hazy
Nose - All around soft aromas, orange, fruits (peach/apricot), mild floral scents, caramel, pepper,
Taste/Mouthfeel - Full flavor and complex, sweet, orange, caramel, subtle coriander and pepper/cumin, full body, good carbonation, a bit high on alcoholic heat that mimics whiskey (like it was aged in whiskey barrels...kinda nice and unique)
Aftertaste - A little sweet citrus, tangy tartness (Weiss-like), whisky-like warming with dryness
Overall/Drinkability - Powerful, complex, tough, seems to have lost some fruity notes over one year, nice warming beer served well in a smaller snifter perhaps at a higher temp to allow all the subtleties to come out.

6. Coffee Stout - 5.5%
Appearance - Transparent dark with ruby hue, clear, no head & low carbonation
Nose - Coffee!, clean, iced-toddy, chocolate
Taste/Mouthfeel - Coffee, rich and original, chocolate notes, mild roast flavor, light body, low watery carbonation
Aftertaste - Smooth, slightly tart/sour, mild roast again
Overall/Drinkability - Good, porter-like, best served with chocolate or desserts or perhaps as an aperitif

7. "Warewolf Flanders" Barleywine - 13% 9/2006 & can age 5 yrs easy
Appearance - Beautiful deep mahogany color, clear, thin head dissipates quickly
Nose - Light complex aroma with vanilla, sweet malt, cherry, cocoa
Taste/Mouthfeel - Big taste with deep complexity, soft, dark fruits (raspberry), oak, piney hops, vanilla, chocolate, sweentess with some fusel alcohols , full mouthfeel with lower carbonation
Aftertaste - Alcohol warms, dark fruits again (currants), mild sourness, mild grain, subtle smoke, alcohol
Overall/Drinkability - Heavier taste, warming, complex sweet & strange, not a typical barleywine, needs more time to mellow (I think I'll hold onto my bottle for another 4 years)


Orange Loren said...

Once again, you make me wish I were there! Even if just to taste that pilsner and the coffee stout! Mmm, coffee. It sounded such a blast. Thanks for sharing with us. Those results are a lot of fun! Skål! - Lore

Ted Danyluk said...

Thanks Lauren!

Most of the beers had a wonderful bouquet too. I think your nose alone would have had a great time. I'll be hanging on to a few pilsners throughout the summer, so perhaps you can taste it in August.