Saturday, March 6, 2010

Belgian IPA: tasting

Its already been over a year since I've brewed this beer?
wow.

Well, while it was very young, it was mostly a rough and muddled impression of an over hopped tripel with an incredibly low FG (1.002), which made this beer just under 12%abv. The smattering of noble and american hops were of rather low quality, as I am now aware of what high quality stuff is available to the homebrewer. Despite their less than optimal quality, nothing would have rescued the recipe for what was intended, a bigger, nobler cousin of Houblon Chouffe. Silly me...la chouffe had already pretty much nailed the style. In the earlier tastings, very little finishing hop character made its way from behind the big phenolics, alcohol and rather rough edges. I contend that even double the hopping levels of these noble hops wouldn't have come forward in the youngest months of such a huge beer, like I had hoped...its just not within their abilities, their strength is in their subtleties. The recipe would need to scaled way back, and hopping schedule revamped. And I'd go back to the a'chouffe yeast, like I had originally intended, I think.

Well, despite its roughness, its low FG and full flavor always seemed to warrant another mouthful. So the bottles went fast.

And after just a glass, its very easy to pour another, and...another and...whoops, you and your friends wake up to a morning of regret. So, I now only have a few bottles left, and the bottle I opened tonight has been in the fridge for at least a few months of cold conditioning.

Its delicious.

The beer seemingly has now gone through the transmogrifying cardboard box, and now could be a described as a Noel special release qualityBelgian tripel, with wonderfully complex Belgian fruity nose, a clean snappy and dry pilsner body, and a softened bitterness. On the pour, a pillowy head forms and stick around through the quaff as a reduced but stable little pillow of protein at the surface.
A glowing gold, slightly hazy appearance and just high enough carbonation is best enjoyed in this Duvel goblet, with its 'D' laser etch continuing to feed the aromatics for each sip.
Warming alcohols fills the back of the throat and sinuses on the swallow, carrying the phenolics through again, and easily warms up a snowy, blustery Boston winter night. Would pair wonderfully with a steaming bowl of root vegetable/braised beef shank soup, washing back the richness, and scrubbing the palate clean again for a great back and forth, which is better, which do I want more type of battle.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this is an incredible site. Im planning on making a Belgian IPA myself, not as high abv as this one, but with tons of late addition Saaz hops for spiciness. Im wondering now if I wouldn't be better subbing in some high alpha Bravo or Calypso hops I picked up recently. Any advice?

    Cheers,
    BB

    http://basementbreweries.blogspot.com/

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  2. Yes...if you are looking to go w/ something more similar to houblon chouffe, you can get by with pils, ~10% cane sugar (OG to ~1.075). maybe a bit of aromatic or biscuit or caravienne for more depth.
    IBUs 50-60, columbus for the flavor addition ~20min, big saaz dry hop + a touch of amarillo (maybe 3oz + 1oz amarillo for a 5gallon recipe).
    a'chouffe yeast, of course.

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