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Old 10-01-2010, 05:11 PM   #41
Edcculus
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Ok, giving Spanish Castle's Vienna Lager a try:

Aroma:
Moderate malt aroma with a touch of toastiness in the background. Very slight caramel aroma. No real hop aroma. Very clean lager aromas. No diacetyl. No DMS. Very faint fruity esters when cold, however they disappeared when the beer warmed a little.

Appearance:
Brown copper in color. Has a haze when cold, even when I wipe down the glass. Clears some when warmed. Beautiful off white head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Flavor:
Nice round maltiness, giving way to a nice balance of bitterness. Toastiness from specialty malts brings complexity to the beer. Overall, a very balanced beer. I wouldn't describe it as overly malty or hoppy. Appropriately clean for a lager.

Mouthfeel:
Medium light bodied. Medium high carbonation. Finishes clean with a nice velvety texture.

Overall Impression:
Very tasty beer! This one is extremely sessionable. I didn't notice any real telltale signs of infection like Brian did, except for the haze part. I love the balance and the nice crisp lager finish to the beer. Thanks for sending it along!

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Old 10-01-2010, 06:52 PM   #42
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Glad you liked it Ed! I'm wondering if Brian just got a bottle that wasn't sanitized well. My bottles are a mixed bag and some sat in a closet for ~9 years. They always get a long PBW soak, then Starsan but that prob doesn't catch everything if the bottle is old/dirty. I'll have to be more careful.

I've noticed that most of my beers; after sitting in a keg under refrigeration for a while, then bottled and refrigerated again, are crystal clear. But if I then let it warm and then chill it again there is sometimes some haze.

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Old 10-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
Glad you liked it Ed! I'm wondering if Brian just got a bottle that wasn't sanitized well. My bottles are a mixed bag and some sat in a closet for ~9 years. They always get a long PBW soak, then Starsan but that prob doesn't catch everything if the bottle is old/dirty. I'll have to be more careful.

I've noticed that most of my beers; after sitting in a keg under refrigeration for a while, then bottled and refrigerated again, are crystal clear. But if I then let it warm and then chill it again there is sometimes some haze.
That could very well be it. After struggling with that same flavor in many of my beers and going through a bunch of equipment that I think was transferring the infection, I think I have finally gotten rid of it. But in doing so I developed a super-sensitivity to it that others may not have.

I've only done a couple lagers, but have noticed that they seem very fragile. Like you, I bottled a Marzen from the keg to take it to see family last Thanksgiving. Not only did the flavor degrade, it developed a haze it had never previously had. I left some of the bottles in the kegerator and they tasted as good as always.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:42 PM   #44
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SpanishCastleAle's Hartford Lager

Aroma - Citrusy hops (amarillo maybe?). Very "juicy", inviting aroma. Slight green apple esters. Very light malt aroma.

Appearance - Poured a crystal clear, beautiful radiant copper. Billowy white head popped up and receeded to a thin cap.

Flavor - Citrusy hoppiness greets the palate and is followed by a smooth malt and prickly bitterness one-two punch. Finish is lager-crisp and dry, but lingers with the hint of malty-sweet aftertaste. The hops manage to give the impression some grapefruit or orange juice has been added to the beer. A slight tartness is alluded to but never quite shows up. The result is that the very sides of the tongue get that "thirsty" feeling that can only seem to be quenched by gulping down large amounts of the beverage in question. In other words, the beer is highly quaffable and thirst-quenching. Caramel malt flavor begins to come through as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Just right. Medium body and medium carbonation work wonderfully here and suit this beer perfectly. The lager crispness and the carbonation act to dry the beer out and make it very satisfying.

Overall - I'm very happy to have tried this beer. I felt bad that I might have gotten an off-bottle of the vienna lager and was hoping this beer would not be affected by the same flavor (or I look like an overcritical jerkwad). Upon pouring this beer and having the citrus fragrance waft up to me, I knew this beer was good. I really like how you have taken an american ale recipe and fermented it with a lager yeast. The fragrant hops and rich malt are really allowed to shine through by the crisp clean yeast. I couldn't put this beer down and unfortunately it went much quicker than I would have liked it to. I could definitely see myself making quick work of a keg of this, especially if the weather stays like it is here today (mid-70s, slight breeze, sunny, fresh just-rained air). This beer was the perfect accompaniment to the weather and the perfect start to the weekend. Thanks for sending along such a great beer!

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Old 10-02-2010, 12:51 AM   #45
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Man, that beer looks beautiful!

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Old 10-02-2010, 12:09 PM   #46
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Glad you liked it Brian! Since you said you're really sensitive to that off-flavor I was curious if it would be a common theme, glad it wasn't in this beer. The hops are a combination of Tettnanger, Crystal, Cascade; pure Tett for bittering, Tett also used for flavor, Crystal for flavor/aroma, Cascade for the latest flavor/aroma additions. I actually dry hopped it with Cascade but didn't leave it in long enough and with the cold temps (and subsequent lagering) it didn't yield quite the impact I was going for. It's not a Brooklyn Lager and it's not a Boston Lager but is dancing somewhere around those neighborhoods, hence 'Hartford' Lager.

Looking at my notes, this was the first brew I switched to Whirlfloc and I used a full tablet in 5 gal (I now use 1/2 tablet). Egg-drop soup after cold-break. Maybe that contributed to the clarity. I almost never use any other finings.

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Old 10-02-2010, 04:04 PM   #47
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Sitting down with KingBrian's Herbed Saison right now:

Aroma - Nice spicy character from the yeast. Hints of herbs, but not overwhelming. It instantly lets you know there is something different about this beer - in a good way. Very slight hop aroma. What I'm perceiving blends nicely with the herbs and the sweetness of the malt into one harmonious aroma.

Appearance - Dark gold with a large fluffy white foam. Slightly cloudy, clearing as it warms.

Flavor - Light malt character. Medium high fruitiness. Well attenuated and quite dry finish. The herbs don't overpower the balance of this beer, and really add a nice complexity. Hop flavors blend nicely to balance the beer.

Mouthfeel - highly effervescent (appropriate for the style). The carbonation really picks up this beer to make it "pop".

Overall impression - Wow, what a great beer! A very tasty, dry refreshing Saison. The herbs really add a eluding and mysterious quality to the beer. Great job. The first sip instantly transported me to the first days of Spring. Fresh green fields waking up after the snow has finally melted away. A very nice reflection on the season as we are quickly moving into Fall.

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Old 10-03-2010, 01:24 AM   #48
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Thanks for the review Ed! I'm glad you liked it!

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Old 10-03-2010, 06:45 PM   #49
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Hookstrat's Imperial Pils

Aroma - Sweet malt dominates. Slightly grainy aroma comes through along with a white grape-like fragrance. Possible very faint noble hop-type aroma.

Appearance - Poured a mostly clear deep gold. I expected it to be a bit lighter but since it's "imperial" the extra malt probably darkened it a bit. A striking white head appeared and quickly dissipated to a thin cap.

Flavor - Sweet pilsner malt makes itself immediately apparent. It's a very clean but strong malt flavor. It definitely overpowers the bitterness to make the flavor very malt-forward. Very slight white grape flavor comes through. The noble hops make a very brief appearance in the finish. There's a bit of ethanol flavor in the finish, but it contributes no warmth.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and creamy. Unexpectedly smooth actually, but it's very nice in this beer. A moderate carbonation prevents the beer from being too creamy and helps the beer finish crisp.

Overall - A very good beer! I didn't expect the huge pilsner malt flavor. If anyone wants to know what pilsner malt tastes like, have one of these! It's like the pilsner malt flavor was distilled down into this sweet malty nectar. There is a smooth but firm bitterness that helps counter the sweet malt, but it's not so strong as to take over. This is definitely a malt-forward beer. The slightly vinous character along with the delicate ethanol that comes through suggest a bit of strength to the beer. I would have liked to have a strong saaz presence and a bit more carbonation, but that's getting picky. This is an outstanding beer as is, and is a showcase for the pilsner malt. It is very well-made and clean and I couldn't ask for a better beer. Thanks for sending it along!



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Old 10-03-2010, 08:42 PM   #50
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Thanks for the writeup Brian. I've never swapped beer before so it's really cool to see pictures and notes from someone else drinking my beer! I would probably up the hops a bit if I brew it again just to balance it out a bit. Overall though I'm pleased with the beer and I'm really glad you weren't too disappointed in the mixup.

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