Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tasting: La Fontaine du Sang

The foam starts building in the bottle as soon as the cap is pried off. An experienced drinker, I have a special glass ready for my precious libation. This one shows some odd behavior when poured. The bubbles roll around slowly in suspension before lazily rising to the top, as if in a highly viscous liquid. The bubbles deceive though, the beer is actually quite light in the mouth. The color, a gorgeous deep burgundy, fits the name.

Quite a bit of complexity in aroma and flavor. Cherries and plums. Raisins and dried fruits. Apricot maybe. There is enough malt sweetness for this to be recognizable as beer but the underlying acidity accentuates the fruit and funk. I am very happy with how this turned out and it will take great patience to wait on the next pull from the solera.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SS Stout

I have yet to brew a porter or stout that has satisfied my picky taste in dark beers. I have high hopes for this hefty brew though. The recipe was formulated with the knowledge of stouts brewed in Britain in the late 19th century. How do I know what British stout recipes were like in the late 19th century? Well clicking here would be a start. The slight liberty I have taken is the use of Cherry Smoked Malt, which I can justify using to approximate the smoky flavor that some Brown malts of the period produced.

OG is an adequate 1.074. When I finished my kitchen looked the way my garage did after my first attempt at changing motor oil.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vertical Tasting: Les Framboises du Mal

With this year's batch of Les Framboises du Mal bottled and ready to drink I decided to open my second to last bottle of the 2008 brewing for a vertical tasting. I started with the the 2008 vintage...

Les Framboises du Mal 2008

Big foamy head over a deep red-orange beer that is perfectly clear to show off the streaming columns of plentiful CO2. Very fruity aroma with raspberries, light caramel malt, and the elusive pineapple brett scent. The Orval yeast is very apparent as aged Orval is a huge component of the aroma. The raspberry smell is more forward than I remember which could be the funky yeasts' doing. Finally taking a sip gives a soft dryness accompanied sub-acidity to tartness. A light malt sweetness remains. The raspberries appear in the middle which then giveway to some earthy mustiness. The 7+ percent alcohol makes no appearance. Time has been kind to this brew. I will try to hold off on the last bottle until next year in hopes a three year vertical tasting.

Les Framboises du Mal 2009

This bottle has yet to reach full carbonation so no head sat atop the shade more red than polished brass liquid. In contrast to the 2008 only an occasional buble meanders upward through the viscousity. The first whiff reaks of pungent lambic with a load of barnyard funk and a touch of almond nuttiness (odd but still nice). However, in the mouth the acidity level is much lower than a lambic but still quite tart. This beer is still rather sweet with plenty of raspberry and stone fruits. The sweet-sour balance is tilted more towards a true lambic to please me but hopefully not so far that it puts off my friends that have been anticipating this one. There is also the ropy mouthfeel you get in a real lambic. Worth the wait and I'm-afraid-to-add-up-the-cost-of-fruit. While this would cower in the shadow of the Rosé de Gambrinus, I feel I could fool some people in a blind tasting of lambics that what I have here is an honest to goodness Senne Valley blend. I plan on putting at least a case of this away for long term aging.

PS. Can you guess what I plan to brew next?