Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: Pretty Things East India Porter

Oh right, that old porter tasting theme... or any posts at all.

This one comes from Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project's Once Upon a Time series. Both the recipe and the liquid in the bottle are getting on at this point. The recipe came from Barclay Perkins circa 1855, by way Ron Pattinson.

A shade darker than 1808 porter. Deep mahogany highlights. Bright coffee notes from the brown malt. The amber malt seems to accentuate both the brown and sweet pale malt. The black malt gives an extra roastiness beyond the brown malt. The bitterness of the hops has mostly faded at this point, only a slight, dusty black tea astringency remains.

I've one bottle left. I want to keep it as long as possible, best to tuck it away in a forgotten box of beers with similar again needs

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: Soured Double Stout

Not what I had in mind when I blended a bit of sour beer into some stout nearly two years ago (Guinness FES is what I had in mind). I didn't consider what would happen when the lactic acid bacteria and super-attenuating Brettanomyces strains took hold in the lush, smoky stout.

All the roast, toast and smoke is still present. With it there is sharp, sour smelling funk. All present in the mouth along with solvent/plastic. The body torn to shreds. Thin, sharp and sour.

If you've had Madrugada Obscura from Jolly Pumpkin (who are usually great), this is like that. That austere sour character is not meant for stouts. Maybe I will try to mix a little bit into fresh porter to see if it gives a bit of complexity.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: Stout

Next up is a rather straightforward stout brewed about a year ago. The full recipe was lost to my old laptop. Pale, Amber, Brown and a touch of Black malt made for an old school (late 19th century). It was very nice fresh and this is the last bottle.

How many ways can I say black with tan head. Molasses appearance with fine crema. Smell has espresso, cherry and a touch of vinegar. In the mouth there's lots of coffee. Not diner coffee, a fruity East African roast from Stumptown put through a french press. It also has a nice sweet - sour balance like Guinness FES. A bit thin but still plenty rich. The year has given it an interesting dimension but I wouldn't give it much more time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: 1808 Whitbread with B. Bruxellensis

I've realized that I have several porters and stouts that have been stashed away for some time. I reckon that all that stale (old) porter will make for a nice series of tastings. All but one are homebrew. That lone commercial beer is a special one, Pretty Things Once Upon A Time: December 6, 1855 East India Porter. For that one I've tried to simulate the voyage to India by leaving the bottle in my cabinet at ambient temperature throughout the summer and giving it a regular roll about a ships hold in the mid Atlantic.

First up is my own foray into historical brewing: August 29, 1808 Whitbread Porter. I added Brettanomyces Bruxellensis to some bottles to mimic the secondary fermentation that old style stouts underwent. Original tasting here. I won't bother with pictures, matter of fact it's all dark.

Large tan head even with a careful, slow pour. Over carbonated, no way around admitting that. First hit on the nose is oak and smoke, likely a product of the Brett B as this recipe had neither component. A deeper whiff finds super dark chocolate (like that 85% stuff) and dried figs, maybe yogurty acidity. Hey, there's the smarties and clove from le gout d'Orval! The taste has changed dramatically from the velvety espresso and cocoa from the fresh beer. The bitterness has faded a bit, joined by a soft lactic acidity. The body is thinner than originally, but not the thin, sharp feel that I expected from previous tastings. A little cocoa powder with clove. All around an interesting beer to taste, much better now than the early samples of the Brett B portion. I am, however, glad that I chose B Claussenii for subsequent batches.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tasting: Tmave Lezak

Of the two lagers I brewed back in January the dark one turned out much nicer. It sat quietly until being bottled in May. Then it sat some more down in the basement slowly getting drank through the Spring and Summer. With all that has gone on over the last few months, it's taken a hurricane to sit down and post a review.

Pours a dark brown that shows clear, red highlights when held to the light. Large, tan effervescent head stands tall (started above the rim of that mug and fell to where pictured while I fumbled with cameras) and slowly subsides to a quarter inch persistent cap. Sweet caramel and malt flavor, but ultimately the beer proves dry with a bit of grain husk and nip of Saaz. Maybe a bit of toast. Hardly perfect but nice enough to drink a large glass of. What more can you expect from lagering in a chilly pantry?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tasting: August 29, 1808 Whitbread Porter

Final Gravity: 1.020
Alcohol: 6.4 % ABV

Dark brown as expected with light mocha foam. The odd bit of the appearance is the turbity. The beer is very cloudy even though the Wyeast 1099 certainly flocculated. Smells and tastes like brown malt. Hmm, maybe I should include more detail than that. Aroma is coffee and dark chocolate. Some fruitiness... raisin, fig, and black licorice. The taste is more of the same with a long drying hop bitterness that accentuates the roast from the brown malt.

I added Brettanomyces Bruxellensis to some bottles (most Orval skittles to hopefully avoid bombs). That should be interesting in a few months.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tasting: Bitter

Since I have a single bottle of bitter left I figured I'd write up some tasting notes. Made from the second runnings of the barley wine with a bit of extra amber malt and torrefied wheat thrown into the mash.

Amber with a small, slightly off-white foam. Perfectly bright - no yeast, no chill haze. Aroma is a soft malt and cherries and maybe a hint of Goldings. The right aromas and intensity to invite a big gulp. Sweet bit of toasty malt and enough bitterness for balance. Not a complex beer by any means, but that is the idea. Something light but with a pleasant flavor. Though it's not the best bitter I've ever had (that would be a Timothy Taylor Landlord on cask in London, which at a different pub was also the worst bitter I've ever had) but a competent beer.

Note that I brewed this beer with all the same equipment that I brew, ferment, and bottle sour beers with. There is no Brett and no lactic tang to be found any where.