Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Extract #7: Hippity Hop Pale Ale - From Fermentation to Tasting

I brewed a full wort extract beer on the 21st of April and I have gathered together information in this post that brings you through from the end of fermentation to the first few tastings. This should give you a good idea of the post fermentation process that I follow but also I hope it will show how the taste of a beer develops over a pretty short period of time.

This was an extract recipe that I brewed on the 21st April, recipe can be found here. Ordinarly I would transfer my pale ales to secondary in order to either dry hop them or if I feel that they need a little more time to clear. However with this beer I was so happy with how it tasted and looked that I transferred straight from primary to keg after 10 days. It looked very clear and tasted really nice, with the cascade and amarillo hops working really well together. I think one of the main reasons this beer has turned out so well is that is was the first time that I made an extract beer using a full wort boil. This allowed me to be very precise with measurements and as a result I hit my original gravity (1048) and final gravity (1012) right on the mark (see pic to the left which shows final gravity reading). After transferring to my corny keg I allowed this beer to condition at room temperature for one week,  it was given two days in my keggerator thus allowing the beer to drop to serving temperature before being force carbonated. It was force carbonated at about 20psi for three days initially and this was reduced to 15psi for the fourth day. So the results for the first taste test on the 13th May?

First Taste - 13th May

Pours a dark golden colour with a strong persistent white head, quite a lot of chill haze apparent. Strong sharp lemon aroma out front with a more subtle grapefruit, nearly vanilla, aroma in the background. Light bodied and a little undercarbonated, good strong level of bitterness comes through at the end. Really happy with this beer so far, needs a little more carbonation and a little more time to condition, but already I can see this is going to be a really nice beer.

Second Taste Test - 17th May

This beer has developed really well in only five days since the first taste test. After the 13th I let the beer carbonate for a further day and it got to a carbonation level I was really happy with. The colour has darkened somewhat and it has a near reddish shine to it that is really nice. The up front lemony hop aroma has faded slightly and the background bitterness comes through nicely. The beer is still a little hazy, however regardless of that I am really happy with it. Normally when I brew a beer and have had a few tastings I start to make notes as to how I would alter or improve the recipe. In this case I am struggling to think of anything I would change, in an ideal world the only thing that would make this beer better is if the clarity was good, but to be honest I am much more interested in how it tastes, as opposed to the minor details of the aesthetic.

Tomorrow night I will be bringing a couple of bottles of this beer to the monthly IrishCraftBrewer tasting night. After those guys have had a taste I will post back their comments, hopefully they won't totally disagree with what I have said above.

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