Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nut Brown Ale - Two Week Tasting

Today marks the two week anniversary of bottling the Brown Ale, which means it's time to taste!

After having done this a few times, I've learned that at two weeks, the beer will usually taste "off."  People refer to young beer as being "green," although there's no way to describe exactly what young beer tastes like.  The reason is that different styles of beer taste differently as they mature (some might have more of a malty character, while others might have more of a yeast note).  The main way to tell if it's a young taste versus an off flavor from a contaminate is to continue to taste and monitor the beer as it ages.  If the off flavors disappear, then they can be attributed to the beer's age.

So with a slight bit of apprehension, I put one bottle in the fridge this morning to get it nice and cold.  My friend John was coming over, so I was excited to get a second opinion on the beer.  Even though this was my fifth batch, it had been around a year since I had brewed and I was a little nervous.

The hiss that came from opening the bottle was like music to my ears.  The bottle was perfectly carbonated, which told me that it wasn't too soon to taste, and that the priming sugar was evenly mixed into the beer before bottling.

Pouring the beer into a chilled glass revealed the beer's deep mahogany color.  The beer was a little cloudy, but otherwise the color was spot-on with what it should have been.

The aroma from the beer was almost exactly as it smelled in the fermenter -- definitely a nice hop note.

The beer didn't really have a strong flavor -- it was very light, and not creamy at all.  There was a slight off flavor, which will probably disappear with age, but otherwise it went down really smooth.  There was a hint of chocolate in the aftertaste that left me craving more.  I think next time I try a nut brown I'm going to increase the amount of chocolate malts to enhance that aftertaste.

All in all, this beer turned out exactly as I was hoping.  The sample beer disappeared way too fast, and I definitely could have gone right into another one.

I'm going to continue to do weekly tastings to monitor the beer as it ages, but this is definitely the best beer that I've made so far!

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