This beer has now been in bottles for a couple months and is really starting to come into its own.
It pours with a dense creamy white head over a slightly cloudy gold with copper highlights. It does clear a bit as it warms, but I still wish the clarity were better.
The aroma is strongly hoppy with earthy and floral notes. A backing of caramel and maybe dried apricots or pears? Some bready notes come out as the beer warms.
It is intensely bitter, but not harsh. Hop character is earthy with some spice. There is a good deal of malty caramel sweetness that balances the bitterness nicely. Some fruity notes try to show, but get beat down by the hops. The finish is long and dry with that hoppy goodness that lingers for ages.
Mouth feel is Medium-Light. The malt sweetness makes it seem a bit heavier than anticipated. Well carbonated, but with more of a prickly carbonation than foamy if that makes any sense. The finish is somewhat dry, which I think helps balance this beer out.
Overall, I feel this is one of the best beers I've brewed. All the elements in it are strong in their own right and could have been overpowering in other beers, but they come out strangely well balanced. Not insanely bitter and harsh, not overly sweet and cloying. I've set aside several bottles for aging and a few more for the State Fair competition.
It's a real shame that I'll probably never be able to recreate this beast, but at least I get to enjoy it while it lasts.
Primary: Little Rocktoberfest Alt
Bottled: Red ESB
Drinking: Ginger Kombucha
On deck: Rye Kvass experimental brew, Apple Cider Vinegar