Hefeweizen IV Tasting Notes

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Well looky here, if it isn’t a whole month and a tiddle since I brewed up this Wheat beer…bet you’re straining at the leash to find out how this one came out, aren’t you?

All I can say is: this beer puts me at least a couple more steps further up the mountain towards the pinnacle of the perfect wheat beer.

There’s no weird off-flavours in this batch (thank you, brew fridge) and there’s a nice balance of sweet, and a very gentle sour note that helps round it out a bit.  Any bitterness keeps itself to itself – meaning there’s no off-putting bitter twang.

In the phenolics, there’s an array of restrained banana and clovey undercurrents that swirl along merrily in both the nose and the taste.

So: the nose is good, the taste is good and the head retention is passable (not great, but you takes what you can these days…)

It’s very refreshing and – just off chilled – I can drink one down, all nice and right-down into my tum in hardly any time at all.

But…and there’s always a but.

It’s not very exciting.  And the body could do with being a little more full as well.

Maybe next time I’ll chuck in WLP300 instead.  The Mangrove Jack wheat yeast did a perfectly good job – it just doesn’t seem as expressive as the 300.

With all things remaining equal (and with either WLP300 or MJ’s), I reckon I need to rile up the yeast a bit more…you know, really provoke it by dialling the fermentation temperature up beyond 20c, so it can go mad and produce more flavour.

Maybe I’ll even do some more fancy mash rests to try and capitalize on the alpha and beta amylase phases:

Instead of the old 66c trade-off single infusion business, I’ll rest it for a while at 63C (or so) and then move on up to another rest at 70c (or so) which will give me a decent trade-off between wort fermentability (i.e. maltose production) from the 63c rest and a shovel-full of unfermentable dextrins for body from the 70c rest.

God, I almost sound like I know what I’m doing…

Golden Summer Shower Ale – tasting notes

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Jeez.  I’ve nearly slaughtered this keg already.  I mean, I did have some help along the way: quite a lot of “Ooooh, can I have another one, please?” from certain quarters (Graham, mainly)

So, this is apparently a golden ale see here: (https://yeastismybitch.com/2017/04/11/golden-summer-shower-ale-ivpa/).

You can see it in there, pretending to be one in the photo.  Trouble is that’s where the similarities end…

Yes, it’s got a dear little fluffy head and yes it smells like a golden ale too – only just a lot more hoppier as I ended up dry-hopping it with 50g of home-grown cascades…and you can see the dry-hopping by the haziness of it…

This ale has hops and bitterness and strength (by god, doesn’t it just: two pints of it in the hot sun whilst tending a barbecue and I was feeling distinctly “Wahey!“)

But, everything’s in balance; well, everything’s in balance if you wanted a massively amped-up version of Hopback Summer Lightning, I guess.

This is very much NOT a barbecue slammer, unless of course you’re the one that wants to be slammed.

Saying all that, though…it is dangerously drinkable…and such a cinch to brew, too, with it’s minimalist malt bill.  Make a mental note to brew with pale malt only, you won’t be disappointed…

Hibiscus Berliner Weisse – Tasting Notes

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After having a good rummage about in Evernote, I found some tasting notes that I didn’t ever get around to getting out on the blog.

Remember this?  https://yeastismybitch.com/2016/10/18/inadvertent-lambic-berliner-weisse-mini-mash/

Well, it actually all ended up coming out rather well…

As you can see from the pictures, the colour of this beer was more akin to Cherryade than anything else, and due to it’s appearance probably shouldn’t be served in anything other than a dainty wine glass.  I think it looks bloody magnificent, but I would, wouldn’t I?

Let’s get this out there right now: this is about as close to a proper Berliner Weisse as you can get, in fact it’s probably one of the most “to-style” beers that I’ve ever brewed.   I’m wildly over-happy with how this one came out.

I say “as close to a Berliner as you can get…” I mean, OK, so just for a laugh I did re-hydrate some 30g of dried Hibiscus flowers in 100ml or so of boiling water and distributed that during bottling – but other than that it’s a Berliner alright…

It’s SOUR and mightily so, but the softness of the lactic acid means that it’s an enjoyable sour and not chrome-strippingly acidic.  There’s also a mild wheaty graininess to it, too.

And, well – let’s be honest about it – there’s LEMONS.  I mean loads of them – but nicely.  Somewhere there’s also faint malt-sweetness, but mostly it’s refreshingly tart…and that’s just how I wanted it.

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The carbonation is spot on and the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety…this means that there’s a lively frothy head, which – rather gratifyingly – does seem to last for a while…

The aftertaste is clean and there’s a very enjoyable dryness which fades to leave rhubarb, tart apple and sherbet echoes.

Hah.  I absolutely completely and utterly nailed this style.  Thus I rule hard; and in doing so, take my leave of you until my next post…

Belgian Dubbel with Cherries – Tasting

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Well.  It seems I’ve managed to produce a largely clean (i.e. non-Sour) beer in the time it normally takes to produce a full-on aged and soured beer.

But look at it…doesn’t it look pretty?

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This was supposed to be last year’s Christmas beer…but it’s sort of ended up being this year’s potential Christmas beer.

Here’s the original post and recipe: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/10/01/deck-the-halls-with-festive-bollocks-a-christmas-belgian-dubbel-with-cherries/

As I said in the post, I was hoping it’d only sit for a couple of weeks on the fruit, but it seemed so happy and looked like it was having another ferment so I put it into two demijohns under airlock and forgot about it.

I bottled it a few weeks ago (a year later) and now it’s time to taste…

As I said previously, it’s a nice colour with a good running bead.  I got the carbonation smack-on this time.

The nose is largely neutral, clean smelling but with some trace of fruit.

The body is thin, and we’re not exactly in complexity-central with the taste.  The finish is fairly dry and there’s some fruit – but it’s not sweet fruit, it’s fermented out fruit.

It’s not particularly sour as such, but there is some tartness – and that’s coming directly from the sour cherries, so it’s a malic acid (think crab apple sharpness) sour contribution rather than any microbial action – and that malic acid might also be contributing to the overall dryness.

I can’t discern any Brett character, so what we’ve got here is probably an aged dry fruit beer…a style that I seem to have invented, only for it to fall immediately into obscurity.

I’m in two minds about whether I like it or not.  I can’t quite work out whether the malic acid is too much, or if it’s a bit “something and nothing”.  I’ll keep a few bottles back and see how it goes…another year can’t hurt, can it?

Next time I try this: I’ll ferment the base beer cleanly, then bung in fruit and a culture of lacto and some interesting bacteria to do the job properly.

Keep your eyes peeled for that one…

In the meantime, I’ll let my taste-testers deliver the final verdict…

PS: The un-fruited Belgian that this beer is based on is still going strong – which is code for still having bottles of it left; big corked bottles too.  I tried one the other week and it’s not bad at all, despite my initial misgivings.  So there’s a lesson for us all…age your Belgians for a year or so in the bottle and see how they change.  Same for Saisons: I have one coming up on two years in the bottle – I’m looking forward to trying one of those at Christmas…

Gigantic Grapefruit IPA – Tasting Notes

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So many of you* have written in to ask how this beer turned out, that it’d be a public disservice if I didn’t write this review.

And god knows it’s nice to hear from people from time-to-time.  Very often blogging is like casting pearls to the wind; and people, that’s one mixed metaphor you certainly won’t have heard before.

(*alright, so it was actually two people: Dan and Simon…but I was very happy to hear from them all the same…)

Anyway.  Here is the post about making the Grapefruit IPA:

https://yeastismybitch.com/2016/04/11/gigantic-grapefruit-ipa-recipe

Annoyingly, the half keg of it I had kicked half-way through a barbecue, so I had to break out some very nicely-aged Brett Pale Ale instead .  The rest was bottled – which are way more “fridgeable” than the corny keg.

The Grapefruit IPA arrives in a glass with a fearful chill-haze; but, hey, it’s an American-style IPA and they’re always hazy so everyone wins.

The head is magnificently retentive and that’s down to the wheat malt (as is, probably, the chill haze…)

Bear in mind, that because it’s 7.7% it has to be served cold, and there’s no two ways about it:  warm it’s like Gold Label (Barley Wine) from the days of yore.  Cold: it’s refreshing, fruity, zesty and suicidally drinkable.

There’s more than enough aroma, which is all West Coast hops with not so much dankness, but more of the fruitiness and juiciness that I was looking for.

It’s a big old taste, with lashings of warming alcohol, fruity hops and a solid bitterness – after that comes a wave of fairly pokey citrus ‘n’ grapefruit.

All-in-all, it’s just what I was hoping for. It runs the Ballast point Grapefruit Sculpin pretty close – and on that basis alone, I’m happy.

Honestly, it’s the best beer I’ve made this year; and do you know what?  I might end up adding citrus zest to all of my hoppy beers – as the hops fade the zest takes over and seems to elongate the sensation of hoppiness.

Again, as with some of my other beery efforts, those who have tried it have offered to buy it in quantity.  But I couldn’t do that… the thought of the excise men battering down my door in the middle of the night leaves me cold and clammy.

God, I wish very small-batch brewers (i.e. under a barrel – 117Litres per month) were allowed to flog their beer like the cider farmers can.

I’d only sell to make a tiny profit, meaning the rest covered the cost of ingredients and electrics.

Essentially it would mean that I’d be able to do more of what I enjoy, and that’s making lots of beer and have people buy, drink and enjoy it.

No-name HefeWeizen III – Tasting Notes

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Here’s a review of another Hefeweizen, brewed as part of my eternal quest to brew the perfect representation.

You might remember the brewday from here:

https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/11/05/no-name-hefeweizen-iii/

Well, I’ve been drinking this steadily since a bit before Christmas and can’t make my mind up whether it’s smack on the money or whether I’m just a hopelessly picky bugger.

(My money is on the latter)

So, looks-wise: it’s not as luminous as I’d like it to be. Maybe luminous is a bad word. Hold on, *consults thesaurus* It’s not as effulgent as I’d like. I’m not sure whether that helps or not?

Let’s just say it’s not as prettily glowy, when back­lit, as I’d like it to be…

The colour isn’t as glowily orange as I’d like it to be, either. It’s nice enough ­ but I’d like it to be more pretty.

The head, however, is much better than the last effort, but still doesn’t hang around like it should. Mind you, it’s meringue-­white, so that’s something to be happy with.

In the nose I got a sweetly ­clean malt-breadiness with some spicy clove and banana notes. It’s not at all “banana bomb” like the last one…but it’s certainly fruit forward and I like that in a Weizen.

The carbonation is much better this time around and it stays sparkly-­prickly right to the end of the glass.

As with all my wheats so far; it’s mouth-­filling, immensely drinkable with enjoyable spice and clove/banana flavours.

This particular beer feels way more complex and in balance than the other Hefeweizens that I’ve made…there’s even some excellent creaminess that floods in at the end…

BUT! There’s a faintly annoying bitterness that creeps in at the end of the creaminess and ever so slightly mars the whole thing.

My trusty tasting panel are split 50/50: some love it because they usually drink bitters, so a twang on the end is what they want to keep the consumption going. The other half think any bitterness in a Hefeweizen is out of place and slightly jarring.

I quite like it, but in my heart of hearts I know that it’s not to style and not what I intended…and that annoys the piss out of me.  15 IBUs of bitterness does seem a touch too much…

Next time it’ll be the same recipe with 11 IBUs of bittering hops…and maybe swap some pils malt out to make it into a dunkleweizen.

Maybe the next one will get a name.?

The BEST Beer Kit: @coopersbrewery – Thomas Coopers Wheat Beer

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Seasons greetings, Happy New Year and assorted other sundry greetings to you…

If you hadn’t noticed I took Christmas off, you know: family stuff, crap weather and a general lack of motivation kept me away from the keyboard.

But I’m back now and I’ve got a nicely effusive start to the new year in the form of a review of the Coopers Wheat Beer kit.

Now, this is a canned kit and costs about twelve quid so I wasn’t expecting much…but you can be surprised sometimes…

(I’m not going to bore you with the details of how to make a canned kit (you can see my review of the Woodfordes Wherry kit for that: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/01/19/on­test­woodfordesale-wherry­beer­kit­with­a­twist­or­two/ for a simple procedure)

Being a good boy and not wanting to piss off Father Christmas too much (NEVER “Santa”, I’m English for Chrissakes) I followed the kit instructions to the letter – ­including adding the 500g of DME and 1Kg of white sugar…in fact, I followed them diligently, right up until the bit where it said “sprinkle in the included yeast”.  At that point I dumped in a great load of WLP300 slurry from my just­-bottled all-grain Hefeweizen, straight out of the just emptied fermenter.

How d’ye like that Father Christmas? Huh?

Four hours after pitching and the WLP300 had erupted everywhere to spread it’s festive payload of merry sludge onto to the carpets and internal decor of the house. But it smelt good, damn good, just­ like warm freshly baked bread.

God I love WLP300, it’s just so crackers.

Two weeks later I transferred the lot to a Cornelius keg, not bottles. (Yeah, what’s that you say Father Christmas?  You should always bottle a wheat beer?  Yeah?  Deal with it, man…)

Two hours after kegging I was drinking and enjoying a criminally under­carbonated, but fresh and tasty, Coopers wheat beer.

After another week or so – and despite my best efforts – the beer had dropped crystal clear, I tried agitating the keg a bit to get the yeast back up in suspension, but didn’t have any joy.

But, as a clear wheat beer, it was really great, like a Kristallweizen with it’s pretty straw-yellow colour. As a bonus the head hung about for a bit too.

I will say that it took a bit of farting about to get the carbonation right in the corny keg, but that’s only because I have no kegerator and have to rely on the ambient temperature…but as the carbonation came right this beer became a complete joy.

In the nose it’s pure wheat with a lovely dusty-grain note. There’s hints of citrus there somewhere, but it’s mainly that lovely wheaty gorgeousness.

For a canned kit it’s a bloody taste revelation: mouth filling and wholesome­ despite the smallish ~4% ABV.

OK, it’s a tad thinner in body than my all-­grain wheats, but it’s bloody great all the same: a solid wheaty complexity with a welcome sourish zippy tang at the end.

There’s also a gorgeous creaminess that just goes on and on. It’s not quite a true German hefeweizen/weizen, which is fine because it’s not meant to be. What it is, is a cracking wheat beer.

I’ve drunk pints and pints of this beer over Christmas and every single one has been lovely, ­ yeast or no yeast.

When (that’s not “if”) I make this kit again I’ll be sure to bottle it just to see the difference.  I might even try the included yeast. If Coopers can put a kit together as good as this, then the included yeast is probably pretty good too…

Coopers, to use your local vernacular: “Good on Yer!” this kit is a ripper of a bargain and makes me well and truly believe that you can make excellent beer from a canned kit.

If you haven’t home-brewed before: do it with this kit. It’s simplicity itself and you’ll be delighted with the results (assuming you’re not some kind of cack-­handed idiot who can’t follow simple instructions…)

You can invest (and it is such a small, but worthwhile investment) in the Coopers wheat beer kit from Greg at BrewUK ­ who’ll also happily sell you all the starter brewing gear too if you need it.  You can even get a vial of WLP300 yeast too if you’re so inclined…

When you order Just tell Greg: “I want to make wheat beer and Jon from YIMB sent me.” it won’t count for anything, but at least he’ll know you have taste, are well-read, urbane, stylish and enormously well-endowed.

http://store.coopers.com.au/thomas-coopers-wheat-beer-1-7kg.html

http://www.brewuk.co.uk/coopers-brewmaster-wheat-beer-1-7kg.html