Sunday, March 7, 2010

IBA: tasting

If you have been following along, you'll noticed a trend in the last few posts, in that they are all tasting notes.
A few reasons:
  • I found that my tasting notes just haven't kept pace,
  • There's a big backlog of beers to write tasting notes about,
  • I'm looking to tidy up the place, and with that, alot of beers that are just sitting taking up valuable space around are now targeted for 'removal'
  • I haven't brewed since bumble, b2
So, during a good spring cleaning today, I came across a few 1 liter flip tops. Huh, I thought all of these IBA bottles were gone. So, might as well toss it in the fridge while I catch up on my laundry so it can be chilled down for a later tasting.

Now, I have had some problems with the flip tops holding CO2 over extended periods of time, so I always fear the anemic, the pathetic little 'pffft' after flipping off the rubber gasket. No such problem with this bottle, as a loud and sudden pop revealed what would be excellent (yet excessive) carbonation.

I've now taken to only pouring down the middle of the glass, as the initial pour will immediately reveal the carbonation level. If properly, and not overly carbonated, the beer will form a proper head, and not take too much time to do so. This results in the best head formation, and tends to de-gas an overcarbonated beer, such as in this case. With an overcarbonated beer, you just gotta wait it out. None of that disgusting slide of the finger across the nose to pick up head killing oils for me.

God, that's gross.

I try to taste a beer for what it is first, and not what it was intended to be. I leave that for last. I try to go in with no expectation, and build an impression as I go. So, I already mentioned the overcarbonation, a perennial problem I've had since my unevenly carbonated first IPA. That was a result of inadequately dispersed priming sugar. I have since overcompensated, not trusting myself, despite careful and thorough blending with the racking cane in the bottling bucket.

This beer pours a pale chocolate brown...well, its dark brown, darn close to black in a full glass. Ruddy reddish brown when held up to the light. And earlier problems it had with clarity have dissipated with time on the shelf. It has dropped brilliantly clear now with time.
Yet another beautiful head forms on the lengthy pour, and the aroma provided is malty, roasty and biscuity. If nothing else, I'd say the heads on my beers are as good as any beer I've ever poured.
The beer tastes like a hybrid between an american brown ale and a dry stout. Roasty flavor, a touch of caramel, but very little sweetness on the finish. A drying roast character is pervasive the whole way through and the faded, muted bitterness is now in pretty great balance with that. Any extract twang in its youth has now smoothed over and is undetectable. Clean fermentation, hardly any perceptible character, right in line with the California ale yeast. No fresh hop aroma or flavor anywhere to be found.

Funny, as it is now, a dry roasty American brown with subtle hopping, its tanding tall abve where it was in its youth: not quite enough fresh American hop character struggling from behind too much roast, and roughness from the extract twang.


  1. what camera/lense are you using to take these pics?

    I dig the bokeh on the pics!

  2. thanks ryan, canon t1i, almost exclusively using the 50mm f/1.4. fixed short focal length, ultra crisp detail with short field of depth. lets tons of light in, I usually take pictures at night in the kitchen, no fancy lighting (yet).


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