February 18, 2016: Tasting Notes (Sunset Pale Ale, Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout)

First tasting of the beers was 2/13/2016. A second tasting was conducted on 2/18/2016. Of course we drank the beers between tastings! Check out this post for details for brew day and this post for details from kegging day.

Overall, we are pleased with the beers and continue to learn through the process.

Sunset Pale Ale:

2/13/2016 – Golden in appearance with a hint of red. Beer is cloudy. Excellent foam. Aroma was piney hop notes with underlying citrus. Drier finish that is bitter and slight astringent. Lingering bitterness, but not unpleasant. Paired well with food, especially foods with higher fat content (think cheese). Beer was tasted in the early afternoon.

2/18/2016 – Piney hop notes are diminished and there is now an oxidized character to the aroma. The chemical responsible for this character is trans-2-nonenal. Bitterness reduced and astringency increased. Tasting was done early evening.

Off aromas likely from oxidation due to a poor keg purge. There was also a significant amount of head space in the keg after beer was transferred in. Keg was also rinsed with chlorinated water instead of water passed through a charcoal filter. We will see if any aromas that could be attributed to 2,6-dichlorphenol. We also do not know what our water chemistry is at our rental; the chemistry could impact the flavor and stability of the beer, and may impact the pale ale style more significantly than others. It is fun operating in the blind.

Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout:

2/13/2016 – Dark brown, almost black in appearance. Excellent foam that was very stable. To borrow from wine tasting, the beer has ‘legs’ and coats the glass after swirling. Aroma contained roasted, chocolate and coffee characteristics. No noticeable hop character. Sweet and bitter characters with a silky mouth feel. Lingering bitterness, but not unpleasant. Beer is drinkable, and is filling. Gravity reading and %ABV need to be redone – it feels like it has and ABV higher than 5.5%. Beer was tasted in the early afternoon.

2/18/2016 – Aroma similar, perhaps with a hint of hop starting to come through. No major differences between tastings.

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