Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ousted Special Bitter: tasting

Pulled the sampler bottle of the OSB tonight, the day after I return from the UK. I still have the romantic notion and taste of the John Courage, Fuller's London Pride and Greene King 'IPA' on cask lodged securely in my brain.

Side note... the Audley was recommended as a place to get some great pints kept on well maintained casks, and some traditional British fare. The pints delivered, and the fare did live up to the unfortunate reputation for English food. Perhaps I should have been more wary as the recommendation came from a co-worker who's idea of the finest food is steak and chips...and only steak and chips. From, well... pretty much anywhere.

Anyhow, tonight's homebrewed version whisked me back across the Atlantic in one tilt of the head. Left out of the fridge for 15 minutes before pouring. A frothy, fluffy 2 inch head forms after an aggressive pour down the middle. Ruby color, slight chill haze, getting more clear as the beer warms. The pour likely knocked a descent amount of carbonation out, and the restrained (for me) CO2 probably ended somewhere in the 1.8-2.0 neighborhood, likely a full 1.0 volume step above where you usually find cask conditioned ales, which suits my American palate just fine.
The wonderfully expressive Burton yeast backed up and complimented the bready malt sweetness in an earthy and satisfying way. This beer starts sweet and full. Wonderful mouthfeel, but not cloying or stomach filling. Just enough backing, balancing bitterness and some woodsy Willamette flavor and aroma. A touch of drying roast from the chocolate malt on the finish? Asks for another big, full mouth of the brew. This certainly has more going on the stuff I had on cask, essentially it just seemed like more...which is exactly how this beer was formulated.

Makes for a full, layered beer that would make for a great session with friends and family, solo style as a one-and-done at the pub, or yes, even paired up well with a big plate of steak and chips.

Bottom line, I'd be very proud to serve this to a Brit who is searching for a real ale in the states.


  1. Great tasting notes here! I've yet to make it over the Atlantic, but I really look forward to a trip to Japan this spring.

    Your brew looks pretty amazing. I like a beer that is a mouthful as well and this one looks and sounds like it would not disappoint. Do you have any more notes on the amount of hops you put into this and what your schedule was? I'm just curious. I use pellet hops right now and it looks like your using leaf so if you've got any information about one versus the other I'd like to hear it!

    Looks awesome!

    Mike's Brew Review

  2. sure, just nav on over the brewday details for the hop schedule/rest of the recipe:

    I find that (fresh, current crop, properly stored) leaf hops give a much better flavor, aroma characteristic than do pellet hops. the usual AA% difference in leaf vs. pellet and utilization rates generally balance, with regard to bittering. fresh aroma/flavor is somewhat less important for traditional early bittering additions, but, as a homebrewer, I'm buying in bulk from and vacuum packing the as yet unused portion til later, so the difference in increased storage space for the leaf has been worth the ice cube-limiting sacrifice.


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