Last weekends was thanksgiving (my wife is American, so we do a small gathering in London), and so many beers were drunk, but non made. The much needed fridge is here too, so there is good storage and refrigeration for all the beers, resulting in every man’s dream – a beer fridge!
The Cranberry Ale was a great success, and managed to appeal both to the more heavy drinkers (bottled at 4.5% ABV) and to the lighter drinkers with the fruity and sweater flavour. Also, it is now been in cold storage for 3 weeks, resulting in a nice solid carbonation, and it is best served cold. That is a recipe to stay – now just needs a name.
We also had a first tasting of the alcohol experiment split batch after 4 days in cold storage. This batch was made using Goldings hops, and had half the batch with 4.5% ABV and half with 4% ABV. The beers are great, and the tone of the Black Ale is slightly different, than when using the Fuggles hops, but on that a little later. The most surprising part is how big of a difference the 0.5% ABV made. The lower alcohol beer has a stronger aroma, and a more earth and full flavour. The high alcohol one has a much stronger punch in taste, and has some level of acidity that gives it a little citrusy flavour. Not surprisingly, my wife preferred the lower ABV, as a big IPA lover, and I preferred the higher ABV.
One more thing we tried at thanksgiving was a blind tasting of 3 beers – the split batch from above (4% Goldings, 4.5% Goldings) and a last beer from the previous Black Ale split batch (4.5% Fuggles) to see what people were tasting, and what has the most appeal. The results were very surprising:
– The 4.5% Fuggles was the “heaviest” with very earthy tones and a fuller taste. Fuggles hops are very earthy in aromas.
– The 4.5% Goldings was very floral, and was liked be people with a taste for stronger beers in more fruity flavour. A bit too much of a punch for most.
– The 4% Goldings was very light yet malty, and was the favorite among porter and stout drinkers, all together with a nice full flavour and a floral aroma.
The results match the hops (Goldings is more spicy and floral, Fuggles is more earthy and herby) and the overall winner was the 4% Goldings. Since yesterday I also done the dry hopping for my latest BIAB batch, I decided to try a bit of a mix. The beer was brewed using Fuggles throughout the process, so the earthy tones should be there, but I decided to put in Goldings for dry hopping to get the floral aromas from it.
I’m looking forward to try this beer in a couple of weeks, and keep on being surprised at how this recipe is developing. I’m still not sure if the BIAB experiment worked, and might just try and do an extract batch again using different dry hopping (half Goldings and half Fuggles) to maybe do a more accurate experiment. So far so good!