Alright...first things first: the APA
(I've had two so far)
Uncapping / Pouring / Aesthetics:
The fill on all these bottles is definitely low. A suggestion in the future: add another 3/4". If you're using a bottling wand, stop---they don't allow the control you need. Anyway...the hiss was pretty forceful, and the pour produced quite a bit of foam---to the top of my big goblet. I believe this is a result of the extra oxygen in the headspace, but I can't be sure. The color on the first bottle was a weird cloudy pink-rust color...but they'd just arrived in the mail that afternoon. The second one I tried on Saturday morning during my Meph brew session looked much better. Still pretty cloudy, but a nicer orange color. The foam also wasn't quite as huge on the second bottle.
Ah, I love the smell of extract in the morning
. Yeah, the nose on this one is unmistakably malt extract. I can't pinpoint the exact smell, but I know it when I smell it---I've done plenty just like that. Not a bad thing, but obvious. There is a little bit of hop aroma, but I'd like to have smelled more. This could use some dry-hopping or some more late hop additions. But the nose, nonetheless, is Pale Ale, and it's squeaky clean.
Wow. I mean...wow. What yeast did you use for this? If I didn't know what this was, I would bet a LOT of money that you added cloves and perhaps allspice. I mean, I've actually added cloves to a pumkin beer before, and even that didn't have the same dominance of cloves as this beer does. I'm floored, absolutely floored. There's also a bit of savory something, like allspice. For an APA, it's not what I'd expect...but for a spiced beer? Oh yeah...excellent. None of the extract twang, very subtle bitterness and hoppiness, but the overwhelming flavor here, throughout the palate, is cloves. Cool!
Proximity to the Style:
Way off. You should call this clove brew.
The nose is not the most exciting thing in the world, but you can tell that it's a well-made beer. It could use some more clarifying time to get rid of some of the cloudiness, but that's a minor detail. But overall, I love this beer---not as an APA, but as a specialty spice beer. I love cloves, so I love this beer. I doubt you actually added cloves to an APA, so I'm chalking this one up to the yeast, whatever it was that you used. The rest of the profile is pretty clean and crisp, and I must say that it was refreshing to drink at 9am while my stout was boiling down. I know it's probably not what you were going for with an APA, but hey, whatever works...
Oh, and next time, don't sell yourself so short. Humility will only get you so far. This is a well-made brew, regardless of its proximity to the style.