Friday, April 11, 2008

Two of My Brews Reviewed

Well, we've reviewed a bunch of commercial brews on this blog, but what about my own beers? I sent bottles of two of my homebrews—an American-style India Pale Ale (IPA) and an 80-shilling Scotch ale—to a couple of friends for Christmas. Here are the recipes for these brews, followed by their tasting notes.

Easy as PI P.A.

This homebrew was a super easy batch to make and the results were really nice. I used a pre-hopped can of Munton's Ironmaster IPA liquid malt extract, two pounds of Munton's dry malt extract, and a cup and a half of table sugar (ironically, to avoid the final product from being too sweet. The yeast eat up all this sugar, the final beer has a little more alcohol and so tastes a little less sweet.) I fermented this beer with a package of Fermentis US05 dry yeast and dry hopped it in the keg with half an ounce of Willamette hops. I agree with MF on the distinct honey note in this beer and I think it came from the sort of resinous quality of the Willamette hops. I thought it turned out great and I was sad to see it go.

Review by MF:
Before reviewing this particular beer, I have to confess that I've never been a fan of this variety of beer. IPAs are usually too bitter and "pangy" for my tastes. However, I've finally found an IPA that I'd gladly reach for at a bar or in my refrigerator.

Palm's IPA poured a pleasing light orangish-red. The carbonation was at a nice, balanced level, not overpowering. The aroma of citrus, grapefruit really, promises and delivers the same upon the palate along with a wonderful pairing of honey which perfectly softens the edge or "pang" that so often accompanies IPAs.

My First Scotch Ale

This batch has been my very favorite of everything I've brewed. I brewed an eleven gallon batch and at the time I'm posting this, I still have about a gallon left. It is just wonderful. I brewed this on 11/10/07 from a recipe I got from Jamil Zainasheff's book (to be reviewed soon), with a few tweaks based on what I had on hand: 11 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt, 5 lbs. Breiss pale malt, 2 lbs. Munich malt, 1 lb. 120L crystal malt, 1 lb. honey malt, 1 1/2 lb. 60L crystal malt, 1/4 lb. chocolate malt. I mashed this dude at 155 deg F. I hopped it with 2 3/4 oz. of Fuggle hops for 21.5 IBU of bittering. My OG was 1.066 and I fermented it pretty cool (61 deg F ambient) with a WYeast 1968 London ESB slurry that I had saved from a previous batch. I had a pint yesterday and it was simply incredible. I've worked for years to learn to brew something like this. This beer is what homebrewing is all about.

Review by MF:

This hearty ale pours a nice, rich, reddish brown. I had two samples of the ale and drank them about a month apart. I thoroughly enjoyed both. However, there were slight differences in the bottles. The bottle I sampled first had a slightly higher level of carbonation. Not excessive, nice. And it was slightly sweeter, what some have described as toward "toffee" or "caramel". It's a rich beer, but still "clean." As expected, the flavors became more pronounced as it warmed in my glass.

The second bottle evidenced slightly less carbonation (still very nice) and the flavor had moved toward a very yummy molasses. It seemed to feel a bit heavier, richer with age. All in all, I slightly preferred the younger version to the older, although both were very enjoyable. As a side note, and this is especially true of all ales in my opinion (and somewhat less true of lagers), I would never recommend drinking either of these directly from the bottle. The narrow opening doesn't allow the wonderful aromas to complement and enhance the flavor. In this, I find that beer has much in common with wine.


Father Schnippel said...

I so need to get into homebrewing. alas.

Thom said...

I remember both of these beers well. The IPA did indeed have a grapefruity impression. That was new for me. I liked it.

But the Scotch Ale: BRAVO! Is this the one that you weren't going to share with us, David? Can't say I blame you, but I'm glad you didn't succumb to the temptation just the same.

Looking forward to the next creation...

PalmHQ said...

Thanks Thom. No, actually the one that I wasn't going to share with the gang at church was the Maibock that we had last Sunday and again last night. Alas, that one is almost gone. I'll have to make that recipe again next spring.

Catholic Beer Guy said...

Well, I don't know who wrote the reviews on your beer, Mr. Palm, but he sounds brilliant.

Now, can just anyone get on your list of freebies if they write a review? Or must they be of a certain caliber?