Universal Sanction IPA: tasting notes


If you can cast your mind back a bit, you’ll remember me whipping this one up: https://yeastismybitch.com/2014/07/09/universal-sanction-india-pale-ale/

Well, we’re gathered here today to see what it turned out like…

Out of the keg it’s quite hazy, but not yeastily so, I guess it’s the dry-hopping that’s done it.  The head’s quite good, is snow white and hangs about a bit.  A bit of lacing clings on merrily as you get further down the glass.

Aroma-wise, I’ve learnt a big lesson here – and that’s not to use seemingly well-sealed, but opened, hops from the freezer for aroma additions.  The Nelson Sauvin had gone past their best – meaning that we get plenty of hops in the aroma, but they’re not as fresh as I’d like them to be.

From now on it’s brand new packets of hops or I fork out for a vacuum sealer…

As for Citra and Nelson as bed-fellows, I remain to be convinced.  Their respective uber-citrusness and uber-white-whineyness seem to push against each other, leaving the hop profile weirdly confused.  Next time it’ll be Nelson on it’s own (a la Thornbridge Kipling) or Citra on it’s own (a la Oakham Citra)

It’s not to say that this beer is a disaster – everyone who’s tried it has liked it…but I know, and I can taste it’s deficiencies.  I also think that for something this hoppy, S04 yeast was a mistake, it’s character is also far too evident in the taste and doesn’t seem to contribute a great deal.

The Next IPA will be brewed with either US-05 (my one true yeasty love) or I’ll splash out on some liquid Californian ale yeast (WLP001, or something like that)

Body, mouth-feel, bitterness and all the other things are all fine, which is a further testament to my house malt bill (with reversible Vienna and Munich malt quantities…although the variation with a majority of Munich malt just has it on taste…)

I have a couple of kit brews to do soon – all-grain kits from the folks at BrewUK, which I was bought for my birthday by the Jimster.  I hope to get one of those on the go with him next week – that’s if my Belgian Saison ever stops fermenting.

Come Monday it’ll be three weeks in the fermenter…it’s Thursday today and bubbles are still coming through the airlock every 90 seconds.  It’s going to be a dry ‘un…

UPDATE (16/09/2014): This beer seems to have turned a corner.  It’s now much less yeast-led, and the Citra and Nelson seemed to have bedded down together making the whole hop profile seem less confused.  It’s a much more drinkable beer now – but it’s still a little way off from where I would have liked it to be…

The most sessionable of IPAs: Founders – All Day IPA

20140825_115722Even by my standards this is piss-poor photography…

So yesterday we all struck out for soggy Oxford in the hope of securing a “remote control” helicopter for Arthur, some sightseeing for Jacob; and some respite from the squawking, bellowing, etc. that’s produced by two bored kids stuck inside the house on rainy day…

And as we were in Oxford we thought we’d do lunch at Byron’s – mainly because they know how to cook, can get kids’ food out at the right temperature and on time (i.e. straight-away) and also have a craft beer menu: it’s because of all of these things that I love them so.

Amongst the very tempting things on the beer menu was Founders All-Day IPA.  I’ve heard a lot about Founders and am gearing myself up to have a test and review of their Breakfast Stout – whenever I can get hold of a bottle.


All-Day IPA is so-called because it’s a comparatively weak (4.7%!), sessionable, interpretation of a standard US IPA.  But being less-than 6% doesn’t make it any less of a beer, not by a long chalk.

Arriving classically IPA hazy and a typically orangey-copper colour, it looked just right.  The head was sea-foam slick and told me good things were in store. 

The aroma was marvellously hoppy and, although I couldn’t pin down any exact varieties, there seemed to be evidence of the famous “C” variety hops in there (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, etc.) as there was florality, citrus and pines galore.

Taste-wise, you wouldn’t have known that this was a sub-6% beer: rich and chewy malts with a really great mouth-feel reclined back on a huge bed of solid hoppiness. 

An excellent bitterness filled in a lot of the (admittedly, small) gaps where those points of warming alcohol would normally reside; and a lovely, lasting, after-taste of hops and bitter rode in afterwards to remind you that there was more left in the glass…and after that probably a lot more in the bottles in the fridge too…

What a great beer for a lunchtime and what a great beer menu from Byron.  Well done all.  I’ll be back.  There’s a 7% Odell IPA on that menu that’s got my name on it…


http://foundersbrewing.com/our-beer/all-day-ipa/  (It comes in cans too.  Can you imagine getting (responsibly) smashed on those at a picnic on a summers day.?)

The Beer Kitchen (Wadworths) – Wheat Beer

20140821_213453You know those time when you get yourself all worked up and really ready to enjoy something?  Yes?  Well that’s precisely what happened to me yesterday…

The previous night Eve was doing the shopping (in bed, online, on her phone, at the Ocado site – we’re so now aren’t we?  Ocado – this is the second plug you’ve had in two days.  Pull your finger out and send me a case of beers, please.  The reach of this site is unprecedented(ish)…)

Eve noticed that “The Beer Kitchen” range of beers was reduced (2 for £3) so she asked which ones I’d like to review (You’re not married?  Oh you should be.  See if you can find a partner like Eve.  She thinks of me and how I slave [hah!] over this blog)

Anyway, I selected The Beer Kitchen’s wheat beer (and also their IPA – which I will post here when done)

So there I was yesterday evening; poised at the front door for the 8.30pm – 9.30pm free delivery slot (as well as being very now, we’re also very tight).

Coiled like a spring I was ready to dive into the bag and liberate this beer for review and thirst-slaking.

Delivery-bloke had barely got the bag through the door before I had the bottle out, cap off and into a glass.

Ah.  It’s a “filtered” wheat beer.  In the Kristal Weizen style.  I was looking forward to tons of yeasty fruitniess, coriander, some phenols – the whole lot;  but, what I actually got was a startlingly clear, not at all yeasty, beer.  Oh well.

The aroma was very gentle malts (and wheat, I guess) and muted yeast aromatics.  Some straw, herbalness, maybe some drying hay and a suggestion of rubber or bubblegum.

Taste-wise it was brightly effervescent…and then nothing…for quite a while.  The some graininess came in.  Some spiciness followed. clutching a few herbal notes in it’s hand.

I got more fruitiness on the after-taste.  The aroma was way better than the taste.

Shame, really.  Next time I’ll definitely go for Franziskaner or Weihenstephaner.  Mit hefe.!


It just works: Marstons – Pedigree Pale Ale

20140817_175314(0)Here’s a beer that you see all the time, but probably don’t pay a great deal of attention to.  Like the poor, death and taxes – Marston’s Pedigree will always be with us…but in an understated, unobtrusive sort of way.

Arriving a very pleasant chestnut-brown colour and topped with the whitest of heads, it certainly looks the part.  Good.

The aroma instantly transports me to my youth.  Pedigree smells like the pints of beer that Dads used to drink out of dimpled, handled glasses in pub gardens in the summer.  It’s all malt and minerals and flintyness.  In a brief moment of childhood reverie I think I also caught the faintest whiff of Golden Wonder beef-flavoured crisps, too…

Pedigree is by no means a complex drop, it’s not in possession of a huge and satsifying malt body, either.  It’s just a good beer.  Not revelatory or world-shaking.  It’s honest, solid, tasty and refreshing.  A rounded malty-nuttiness (or nutty rounded-maltiness) completes the picture.

Pick this up in volume for the bargain price of £1.25 a pop from Aldi or Lidl or somewhere like that and take it to a picnic, party, barbeque or whatever.  It’ll all get gratefully drunk and won’t get in the way of the conversation or anything…