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Home Brew Forums > Home Brew Market > Sampling and Critiquing and Beer Swapping > Beer Swap III - uwjester's beers
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:51 AM   #1
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Default Beer Swap III - uwjester's beers

I sent out the beers a while ago. They are a wheat beer similar to Odell's Easy St. Wheat and a belgian pale ale along the lines of New Belgium's Abbey although a bit milder.

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Old 11-24-2007, 06:07 AM   #2
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Wheat beer. My apologies up front - this is not a style I drink a lot, so I am not very qualified to comment on it. Take this FWIW.

Aroma: Banana is all I picked out right now - I have a bit of a cold, so I will drink the other one after it clears and edit this. No hops perceived.
Appearance: Amber, light haze, big head that lasted about 5 minutes. Yeast was flocculant and would not rouse from swirling - went into the glass in chunks.
Flavor: Banana flavor up front, slight sweetness, creamy but not heavy. Low hop bitterness and flavor, but a small spiciness picked up.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, moderate carbonation that dissappated over 20 minutes.
Overall impression: Since you included a commercial beer you were trying to clone, I'll give my feedback relative to that.
-The commercial beer had a bit of a leak - the exterior was sticky and it was 3/4 full yet it still had a small "pffft" when the top was popped.
-The commercial beer was an American wheat, but it seems to me that yours was more of a German wheat. I am not very familiar with what strains commercial American wheats use, but the charts on White Labs web site show 001, 008, 011, 036, 051, and the number one candidate, 320. If I had to guess, the result of your choice of yeast is the banana flavor that is in your beer but not in the commercial beer. I will defer to the other folks that got your beer to confirm.
-Not that it is important to brew a beer that fits perfectly into a judged style (you can make plenty of beers that taste great that don't fit into any style particularily well), but this is a bit too dark to be an American wheat. Since it actually tastes more like a German wheat, it is somewhere between Hefeweizen and Dunkelweizen. Probably it is due to the steeped Munich malt, which I actually like in here but was definitely not in the commercial sample provided.

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Old 11-24-2007, 09:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the review. I sincerely apologize about the leak in the commercial bottle. I hope nobody else had the same problem. To answer a couple of questions, the yeast was white labs WLP029 which is, in fact, a German strain, although not specifically a hefeweizen. Maybe I'll try out some of those other strains for future batches. As for color, I am still doing extract brewing, so I'd guess the extra amberness is part munich and part caramelization.

Cheers,

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Old 11-27-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
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Default Belgian Ale

Belgian Ale


Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics: Good pressure at uncapping, suggesting proper carbonation. Upon pouring, this is confirmed. A nice, tight bubble matrix makes up a slightly off-white head that actually lasts for a minute or two. The color of the beer is reddish brown and slightly cloudy.

Aroma: Whoa. I smell vanilla. Hardcore vanilla. Supple, round, warming, inviting, bready, doughy, dessert-like. I also get notes of cloves, allspice and cream. Virtually no hop aroma.

Palate: Again, thi is like dessert. Creamy, vanilla, bread, cake. Spices don't dominate, but they're definitely there. The yeast makes its presence known, certainly, and is very enjoyable and complex. No hop flavor. This reminds me of the bourbon cream that I made for a cheesecake over thanksgiving. Yum. The mouthfeel is full and sweet.

Proximity to the Style: This style is pretty wide open, as I see it, but this is a very Belgian-y ale as far as I'm concerned. The spices and esters are right on. It might be a little sweet for the style.

Overall Impression: This is a true winter sipper. Giggity giggity goo! It's like dessert, I'll say it again. The complexity is excellent, and I love the spice. If anything can be said as a critique, I'd say that the plush mouthfeel and apparent sweetness distract the palate from the spicy complexity, and that tends to sort of homogenize and muddy up the flavor profile, rather than having more distinct flavors. I'd like to see a few FG points dropped off, and that would clean up the palate profile a lot.

Versus the Model: This was based on New Belgium's Abbey Ale. Never having had anything from NB before, I was pleasantly surprised. It had a distinct spiciness and not quite as much roundness as jester's version. The palate flavor profiles were a bit more distinct, but it also lacked that vanilla cream character that I loved in jester's beer. The yeast esters are more prevalent here, and this seems to be more Belgian in style. The color is a gorgeous clear red. But I have to say: it's a toss-up. I like both of them, but I'm really impressed with jester's brew. Aside from the fullness being a bit over the top, I can find no substantial flaws.


SCORE: 39/50
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:36 PM   #5
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Unfiltered Wheat


Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics: Slight hiss, possibly undercarbonated. The head is bright white, but not very substantial. It dissipates quickly. The color is a light golden yellow, and it's relatively cloudy (though, I've seen cloudier wheat beers).

Aroma: Being used to hefe or wit versions, this seems a bit subdued to me. Very clean, almost no hop aroma, and lacking the estery quality that I have come to expect.

Palate: The palate has a twinge of extract sourness. Having made plenty of extract beers before I went PM/AG, I know this all too well. It's VERY subtle, but I could tell this was an extract batch, even if you hadn't sent the recipe. Aside from that, the palate is clean and lacking esters, again, but it's got a nice wheat character and is ultimately refreshing. The hop bitterness is moderate to low. The mouthfeel is slightly sweet, right in style.

Proximity to the Style: For an American wheat, which doesn't have the ester qualities that I'm used to, this is pretty close to style.

Overall Impression: I'm more of a hefe/wit guy than an american wheat guy, so the lack of banana-clove esters that come from using hefe yeast or the spicy phenolics from wit yeast are missing for me. That having been said, aside from the slight extracty twang, this seems to be pretty close to the American wheat style. Not my thing, as it seems to be missing a lot of complexity, but that's just me. Personally, if I were to do anything different, I'd showcase a bit more citrusy hop flavor and aroma in place of the missing esters and phenols. All in all, this is a great lawnmower beer for the warmer months.

Versus the Model: This was based on Odell's Easy Street Wheat. I've never had it before, but it's a perfectly fine American wheat. Nothing to write home about, but the one thing I did notice is that it has a bit more ester character than jester's and some nice hop flavors and aromas. Still a very clean beer, and just a touch more complex than jester's brew. But the attempt hit pretty close to the target as far as I'm concerned.


SCORE: 34/50
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 11-28-2007, 05:05 AM   #6
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Belgian:

Appearance: Slight haze, ruby color, moderate head, good carbonation

Aroma (haven't quite shook this cold yet): No hop aroma. I do pick up the vanilla aroma quite strongly as well. It is hard to describe - it is not quite like vanilla bean, but more like bread pudding or custard - a creamy vanilla. Not picking up spiciness at all, but I will hold off on trying the second bottle until after my sniffer is back on line.

Flavor: Slight banana initially then strong creamy flavor that coats the palate. Spiciness comes through if warmed. I also pick it up in the aroma now that it has warmed.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was good, but didn't cut through the creaminess.

Overall: Damn good beer. I don't usually care for Belgian beers, but this one and the commercial beer may have opened my mind a bit.


The commercial bottle was a bit different - slightly different style being a dubbel. It was extremely clear. It had more alcohol warmth and alcohol in the aroma plus more pepper flavor, especially if you let it warm to and past its recommended 50F serving temperature. Malty sweet with some raisin flavors and a bit drier finish - does not stay on the palate.

There were things I liked about both yours and the commercial beer. Only two things I would do to yours to improve it - one is ramp up the alcohol content. I really think the alcohol warmth in the commercial beer adds a complexity that would take yours to a new level. As an experiment, you might try using more extract in your next batch, then try it the next time with candi sugar and compare the difference. I looked at your recipe and saw 1/2 lb of Crystal 120 and Special B, but the flavors of those grains (some of my favorites) don't come through as strong as they do in the commercial beer. I would maybe use a bit more (12 oz. total) or steep it longer. With more alcohol and more of the raisin flavor from Special B plus the creaminess advantage you had over the commercial beer, you would have something that is like a rum raisin ice cream and that stuff rocks!!!


You got me thinking I should drink more Belgian beers and that is saying a lot. Good job on this one!!

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Old 07-25-2008, 01:32 AM   #7
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Default Better late than never

Preface: This beer was enjoyable, but suffered at the hands of it's judge (me). Unfortunately, I thought I had consumed all the light beers I received and I stuck the rest aside aside to lager (~8mos) My apologies. I judged the beer in situ, but suffice it to say that this beer would have been much better about 6 mo ago. Never the less, it was a good beer and I enjoyed both. Thanks for sharing!

Note: Despite the long term storage, this beer showed no signs of oxidation, bacterial growth, or off flavors from contamination. Great job with sanitation and bottling.

Philip

P.S. The belgan won't survive this weekend. I'm looking forward to a few bottles of well lagered belgan ale..


Aroma: Bottle Aroma = A+ (clove/banana) Glass aroma = C (none) (6/12)

Appearance: Pours mit hefe as expected with nice white fluffy head that persists through the beer. Nice lacing, good job! (3/3)

Flavor: Light, crisp, finishes clean, but with a hint of bite (Extract beer?) Great summer selection. (15/20)

Mouthfeel: Light and citrusy , but too watery/light . Needs a little something to "thicken it up" (3/5)

Overall: A very nice summer beer that should have been consumed earlier.(7/10)

Total: 34/50

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