Monday 15 July 2024

Raspberry Sour - Tasting Notes/Review

Our inaugural attempt at crafting a sour beer has yielded delightful results that exceed our expectations. Utilizing Philly Sour yeast proved to be a winning choice, aligning closely with the experiences of others who have explored its capabilities.

To begin, we characterize this brew more as a "tart" fruit beer than a "sour," offering a nuanced tang that remains approachable, even for those typically averse to sour styles.

Visually striking, our creation boasts a brilliant ruby-red hue, complemented by a fluffy, pinkish-white head - a stunning result of incorporating 2.5kg of defrosted raspberries directly into the fermenter. Its remarkable clarity further enhances its appeal.

The aroma is dominated by ripe raspberry notes, subtly underscored by a hint of funky complexity, offering a preview of its intriguing profile.

Upon the first sip, raspberry takes the lead, its natural sweetness tempered by fermentation yet still discernible, delivering a refreshing burst of flavor. The tartness gradually emerges, accompanied by a pleasantly dry finish that invites repeated enjoyment.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with minimal hop presence, aligning with our deliberate low IBU strategy. We are intrigued by the idea of slightly increasing IBUs, possibly to 15-20, to explore how it might interplay with the raspberry character.

The raspberry essence is pronounced throughout, so much so that one might mistake it for a raspberry cider, albeit with a fuller mouthfeel that distinguishes it from typical ciders.

Ideal for summer despite its winter inception, this brew proves exceptionally refreshing.

We are immensely satisfied with our inaugural batch and look forward to further experimentation. Future iterations may feature different fruits - passionfruit or mango perhaps, while maintaining our current fruit dosage, which we find perfectly balanced.

Considering adding lactose to enhance residual sweetness is another avenue we contemplate, albeit cautiously, to avoid straying into the "milkshake sour" territory.

Moreover, we are eager to fine-tune bitterness levels to achieve better harmony with sweetness.

Special commendation goes to Philly Sour yeast, which truly shines in this brew. Its simplicity in use, sparing us from more aggressive bacteria or culture introductions, makes brewing such beers far less daunting.

With this success under our belt, we eagerly anticipate refining our skills with future sour beer endeavors.


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Wednesday 10 July 2024

Awesome 4Some - West Coast IPA - Tasting Results & Review

Here’s a quick update to wrap things up – unfortunately, this brew didn’t make the cut (i.e., we ended up pouring it down the drain). It’s only the second time we’ve had to do this, but life’s too short to settle for subpar beer.

We’ve pinpointed where this batch (and a previous one) went awry: elevated sulfate levels and a particularly high sulfate-to-chloride ratio stripped away all hop flavor and aroma. What remained was a beer that was overly sweet yet aggressively bitter, far from enjoyable.

We followed the "Hoppy" water profile in Brewfather, a tool we’ve used in several other brews. Reflecting on those, we did notice a lack of hop aroma as well, prompting us to make adjustments for future batches. This particular water profile recommends nearly 300ppm of sulfate, which, while not uncommon, hasn’t delivered the desired outcomes for the styles we aim to perfect.

Our brewing techniques are solid; we’ve achieved success with heavily hopped beers like our Hazy Pale Ale, which notably didn’t use the Brewfather hoppy water profile!

It’s disappointing to see a beer not meet expectations, especially considering the investment in quality ingredients like a substantial grain bill and generous hop additions.

We remain confident in the recipe itself and are convinced that tweaking the water profile (reducing sulfate levels) will yield a vastly improved brew. Thus, we’ll likely revisit this recipe in the future.

In brewing, not every batch is a triumph, and we’re not afraid to share our setbacks in hopes of aiding others. These experiences contribute to our growth as brewers in the long run.