Evan!'s beers (Aug., '07)
Well, the fiancée and I sampled these last Saturday and I finally got around to transposing my notes last night. Even though I am not a BJCP certified judge, I'm going to give these an overall point rating using the BJCP scale of 1-50, as shown at the bottom of this sheet - just for the hell of it! :D I'm just wingin' it here with the numbers, so take it with a grain of salt.;)
Per your suggestion, I am holding off trying your Brown Ring of Fire Pale Ale until it ages a bit longer. I'll try it weekend after next and post my review then.
Hop Beatdown Double IPA
Appearance: Nice, quick pffft sound when uncapped. Nice 1-1/2 finger off-white head dissipates after about a minute. Nice amber color, right to style.
Aroma: Very slight hop - I really had to sniff hard to pick it up. Malt aroma is there, but this is a lot like my IPAs and DIPAs. It seems malt aroma diminishes on a daily basis as the beer ages!
Flavor: Wow! This is a nearly perfect balance of malt to hops. My fiancée called it "dead on"! The malt is up front, then the hops soon hit mid-taste and hang on in the finish, but soon yield to a non-cloying, slightly sweet finish. Perfect to style! Very well done!
Mouthfeel: Nice, medium-heavy, full mouthful. Just what you'd expect from a DIPA!
Overall Impression: I want another! If you can somehow kick up the hop aroma, this could win some awards, IMHO. Excellent job - very well done!
Appearance: Nice pffft sound when uncapped. Pours a nice two-finger tan head which dissipates after ~2 minutes and linger thinly on top the whole time. The color is as black as night!
Aroma: Mild, roasty aroma is evident. No hop aroma is discernable, which is correct to style, but there was no smoke aroma, either.
Flavor: Nice malt flavor with a slight bitterness from, I'm guessing, some black malt. Not as much burnt/coffee flavor as I'd expect this style, nor did I detect any smoke flavor. To be fair, my fiancée proclaimed it to have a "very slight, almost imperceptible smoke flavor". To be honest, this reminded me more of an export stout than a porter! With that in mind, I really enjoyed this beer a helluva lot!
Mouthfeel: Nice, smooth, creamy mouthfeel - again, very stout-like!
Overall Impression: I really liked this beer and could easily drink nothing else all day on a cozy evening! I'm no expert, but I think if you were to enter this 'as is' into competition as an Export Stout, you might take away some hardware! Excellent job - very well done!
Rating: to style: 28; as a stout: 36
Vanilla Bourbon Winter Ale
Appearance: Nice pffft sound when uncapped. Pours a nice one-finger off-white head which soon dissipates to a thin layer. The color is nearly black in the center and deep brown along the sides of the glass.
Aroma: A subtle, yet definite vanilla aroma stands out! Malt in the background with no hop aroma, which is correct to style.
Flavor: A slightly fruity/bourbon taste hits immediately, then the malt with a plum/raisin profile in the back. Finishes with a warm, slightly 'hot' alcohol finish, but nothing overpowering - actually very nice, IMO. Surprisingly, no vanilla flavor that we could detect - which is fine with me; I'm not a fan of strong vanilla flavors in beer.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel, very nice.
Overall Impression: There is no roast or burnt flavor noticeable, so this definitely specialty ale and not a porter or a stout. That said, if there were a bit of roast character, this would make for an excellent bourbon porter! Still, this was a well made beer and I'd have no problem ordering another. Well done!
Rating: As a specialty ale: 29
Thanks so very much for giving me the opportunity to try your beers. I only wish I had more!
Beerswap 2007 v2.0: Evan!'s Beers
Well, given that the previous thread from the last swap is out of date, I'm going to create this new one and see if a Mod wouldn't mind moving Rhoobarb's recent critique over here.
Here's what I sent out:
Evan's Pacific Gem Special Bitter
Not really sure. Youd better send me another. :mug:
Just kidding. Nice pffft and cloud of CO2 when opened. On pouring, got a ton of foam (even with beer chilled in 40F fridge for 36 hours). Maybe still agitated from the trip? Slowed down, and eventually got a great-looking pint...slighty hazy medium copper beer, with 1' of thick off-white head...almost meringue-like, lasted forever. Let it warm and de-carb for 5-10 minutes. Aroma mostly malt at first, which was a little weird given the dry hopping. Got more hop aroma as it warmed -- hop aroma was fruity, but not really citrus. First taste malt, followed by a little caramel, then nice hop bitterness. On the finish, something a little smoky or woody (maybe this is the PG hops?). Really drinkable...this one went down fast, and I was wishing I had another. A little less carbonation (at least in this bottle) and it would be damn near perfect.
Evan's Smoked Porter
Poured opaque black, with 1/2" tan head. Good head retention, with some lacing as the beer vanished. Mild coffee/chocolate aroma, smoke aroma not distinct, but well blended . Big malty flavor, sweet but not cloying, and then the perfect amount of smoke on the finish. Slightly more than a hint, but much less than an "I am a smoke beer" headwhack.
In the interest of constructive criticism, I'd like to see just a touch more bite on the finish...maybe a few more IBUs of bittering hops, or a couple more ounces of roast grains.
Another damn fine beer, though (I haven't had many smoked beers, but I'd take this over any of the commercial examples I've tried).
Yeah, I've found this to be one of the most drinkable...goes down fast, a little too fast sometimes.
That woody note on the back end is definitely the Pacific Gem. I've described it as "brambly" before...like chewing a live twig from a small bramble/bush.
Thanks for the review! I appreciate your honesty (at least that's what I hope it was ;) )Sorry it was so foamy, but that's just how it goes. :D
Evan's Vanilla Bourbon Winter Ale
Poured a dark amber/medium brown, with a slight touch of cloudiness and a 1/2" beige head which dissipated pretty quickly.
Initial aroma is bourbon. No noticeable hop or vanilla aroma.
Taste is bourbon up front (not overpowering, but unmistakeable) followed by a kind of tartness that I wasn't expecting. Then a little bit of malty sweetness, and finally some alcohol. No noticeable vanilla flavor.
Mouthfeel was a little thinner than I expected...not thin, but not rich, either.
All in all, I really enjoyed this beer, but I guess I had something different in mind before I tried it (stupid expectations!). What I'd do differently: half the bourbon, twice the vanilla, boost the malt flavor, and get a few more unfermentables in there for a richer mouthfeel. But that's just me.
Note: didn't read the recipe until after I drank the beer and wrote this review. I think the tartness I was trying to describe was from the oak. And looking at your specialty grain lineup, it seems like it should have been more malty and full bodied than what I tasted. Maybe I need to drink one in the dead of January in front of a roaring fire, or something.
The lack of thick mouthfeel, I believe, comes from the addition of all that bourbon. I thought it'd be maltier myself, but then again, it's been aging in bottle for quite awhile now, and has dried out considerably from when it was first bottled. I completely agree WRT the oak, bourbon and vanilla amounts. I'm gonna have to try extract, because in order to get the vanilla I'm looking for, I'd need to spend about $30 on beans. No dice. The bourbon was just trial and error, and while I'm not disappointed in this batch, I do think that I could dial it down like you said. I'm looking for a bourbon barrel taste rather than a fortified beer taste, if that makes sense.
Thanks alot for the review...I guess I should have changed the name (omitted "vanilla") prior to offering it up for the swap, but oh well. Li'l bit of false advertising I guess...even though there is vanilla in there! :mug:
Review of Evan!'s beers
Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics: The fill on the bottles seemed a bit high to me before opening, only being about 1/2" from the top of the bottle. Nice pffft upon opening, followed by some medium gushing - I had to keep sucking off the foam going 25 feet from the fridge to my chair. It poured very nicely, retaining almost a 1/2 finger head for about 30 seconds with nice lacing. At first appearance I was surprised by the apparent 'thickness' of this brew, as it appears a bit more cloudy than other Hefe's, but has a very nice color probably in the 5-8 SRM range.
Aroma: There is an apparent 'fruity' aroma that smells like both orange and lemon, but I'm guessing that it's only orange. Overall the aroma is very pleasing and adds to the anticipation of drinking it. There is little to no hop aroma present, which I would expect for a Hefe.
Palate: This beer has a very nice fruity ester taste. This taste seems a bit to strong to have come from yeast alone, indicating some type of fruit (most likely orange) added to this brew furing boil for flavor. The carbonation was overpowering in the first couple of drinks (maybe also the cause of the gushing upon opening?), but subdued quite nicely in future drinks.
Proximity to the Style: A stronger fruit taste that what I would expect from Hefeweizen (correct me if I'm wrong, Evan, but I'm guessing that this is the category which you intended this brew to fall under), but it was much welcomed.
Overall Impression: This is a well made beer, and the 'gushing' was most likely due to my own impatience as I chilled it and opened it the same day that I received it. Overall I would give it a 36/50 (Evan if you are interested let me know and I'll get you an official BJCP scoring sheet - which by the way I recommend that everyone use in the beerswap). This is certainly a good beer, but by my personal tastes, I feel that it could have benefited from a bit more hop presence to balance the fruit flavor a bit more, but in the end is a VERY good brew.
This is most *certainly* a beer that I could drink in great quantities and would easily pay upwards of $7-$8 per 6 pack for.
Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics: The fill on the bottles seemed a bit high to me before opening, only being about 1/2" from the top of the bottle. Nice pffft upon opening. It poured very nicely, retaining a light tan colored 1 finger head for about 1 minute with nice lacing. A very nice deep amber/brown color that I was expecting.
Aroma: The aroma is exactly what I would expect from a bock. Strong malt aroma with little or no hop aroma present (or at least noticeable). Being a big fan of bocks, the aroma leaves me with great anticipation to taste this brew.
Palate: A very suprisingly mild flavor considering the aroma present before tasting. I've taken 3 drinks now and each time I'm surprised by the supremely mild taste and drinkibility of this brew in contrast to its aroma. VERY well done!
Proximity to the Style: While the aroma certainly presents a Bock, the taste of this brew and the abv may make it a bit short of the Bock guidelines, but without knowing the abv I can't state this for certain.
Overall Impression: This is what homebrewing is all about, Evan. you have been able to capture a style that is very difficult to brew, and you have done it extremely well. I am going to be very sad in about 15 minutes when I take my last sip of this beer. Please give me your recipe for this immediately. I give it a 42/50. No beer is perfect, but this is about as close as I'm prepared to make one. I try to objectively score my own beers on the same scale, and I have only brewed one beer that met or exceeded this score. VERY, VERY well done, Evan.
This is most *certainly* a beer that I could drink in great quantities and would easily pay upwards of $8+ per 6 pack for.
Thanks for the in-depth review, brewtus. Much appreciated. A couple answers to your guesses/assumptions/questions: First off, there's no fruit. This is a very simple hefe recipe: 3 lbs wheat, 3 lbs vienna, 3.5 lbs wheat LME. But as I mentioned to you earlier, this batch (along with the Coriander Wit) were originally primed with laaglander DME, and never really carbonated. As such, they sat around in bottle uncarb'd for awhile. Thus, I think that this period of aging is what gave it its estery fruity quality---which, in my opinion, makes it taste exactly like a belgian saison, rather than a hefe. The recarbing process on these brews (uncapping, dropping in carb tabs, recapping) has made for a few gushers here and there...as there was no way to tell whether a bottle had been properly carb'd the first time around (most weren't). Thus, some are gushers, some are perfect. Kinda sucks that you got a gusher, dude...sorry about that. I learned my lesson on these two batches: use dextrose for priming (and find the idiots who make laaglander DME and kill them, but that's for another time). As such, the CW might also gush, so be careful. They're spotty too...some are perfect, some are gushy. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
Wow...thanks for the complements! Very glad you enjoyed this one...I'm loving it too. I think you're right...the palate is pretty subdued and mild for a bock---but, remember, this was supposed to be a Dunkel, but I just ended up with ridiculously high mash efficiency---thus pushing the OG up to the bock category. The alcohol content is only 5.5%, because my FG was pretty high (1.030). But I'm actually glad that it finished that high, because the residual sugars are what make this beer, IMHO.
The recipe is in my pulldown...but, again, you need to shoot higher on the malt bill to 1.070, as my efficiency was OVER 100%. Impossible, I know---what happened is, this was the second of two mashes I was doing. I sparged kinda weakly on the first batch---so when I went to sparge this batch, I just dumped the grains and mash water and everything else right on top of the first grain bed...meaning that this batch got most of the sugars that were left behind from the first batch. So...yeah, you'll need to adjust the grain bill to get to 1.070 OG. And I'm sure you could find a better yeast strain---the bohemian pilsner strain isn't exactly built for bocks, but it's what I had in my library.
Again, thanks for reviewing these brews...I'll do the same for you when yours arrive. :mug:
'Coriander? I Hardly Know 'er' Witbier
Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics: The fill on the bottles seemed a bit high to me before opening, only being about 1/2" from the top of the bottle. Nice pffft upon opening. It poured very nicely, retaining a white 1 finger head for about 45 seconds with nice lacing. It's a bit darker than I'd expect for a Wit, but still light enough that it's unmistakable. I had to leave a bit more in the bottle than normal due to some chunky sediment, but I've had some brews do that as well so it's not a big deal at all, just FYI.
Aroma: DAMN that's a lot of orange!!! I like it! Very strong orange aroma nose. I'm sure that there's some corriander and hops in there, but neither are present beneath the strength of the orange. Just out of curiosity, how much orange peel did you use in this?
Palate: Suprisingly this beer drinks rather smoothly given the very strong orange aroma. A slight hop note along with corriander is present in the back of this brew once the orange in the front subsides.
Proximity to the Style: The orange taste and aroma is a bit strong for the style, but I know that it was exatly what you were shooting for and you achieved it very well.
Overall Impression: This is a wonderful summer beer to enjoy on a hot, humid day (which is exactly what I'm doing as I type this). The strong orange aroma grabs your attention before you even take your first drink and instantly leaves you with the anticipation of tasting it.
Brown Ring of Fire Pale Ale
Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics: The fill on the bottles seemed a bit high to me before opening, only being about 1/2" from the top of the bottle. Nice pffft upon opening. It poured very nicely, retaining a white colored 2 finger head for about 1 minute. A very nice copper color that I would expect from a Pale Ale.
Aroma: The aroma is expectedly malty, as one would expect from a Pale Ale. There is also noticeable hint of hops (noble?), giving this brew a nice variation in aroma from the typical Pale Ale. After letting it warm for a few minutes, the nose begins to present a bit of the fruit that I reference below.
Palate: Nice malt tast in front and some type of fruit ester taste in the finish yeilding no detectable hop presence. I've given it 4 sips now to make sure that the mild fruit finish was actually there and not leftover from my previous brew, and it's certainly present in this brew. I can't put my finger on what the source of this may be... what yeast strain did you use and how long was this brew in primary?
Proximity to the Style: The more I drink of this the less it tastes like a Pale Ale to me. It's still a very good and interesting brew, but if I hadn't known that it was a Pale Ale I would have had a hard time believeing that's what I was drinking now that I'm halfway through it.
Overall Impression: As I mentioned above, I 'm having a hard time putting my finger on the fruit-ish aroma once warmed and the same fruit-ish finish. Did you happen to use some LME in this brew? It almost tastes like extract 'twang' with a bit of fruit to it. Although it's not one of my favorite styles, I can appreciate a Pale Ale with the best of them. This beer presented me with the color and nose that I expected when I first poured it, but surprised me with the flavor that I have yet to identify.
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