Tasting Notes: Alex’s Amber and BVIP

We brewed our Imperial Amber Ale October 29, hoping to replicate the success of our August brew. The clarity was decreased slightly (okay, it is still a pretty clear beer, just not so clear that you can read a car’s license plate through it). Changes between the brews were

  1. Cascade went from whole hops to pellets. We wanted pellets originally, but our local home brew shop did not have pellets in stock when we brewed in August.
  2. Went from 1/2 tablet Whirlfloc to 1 tablet. This may be the cause of our clarity issue, since too much Whirlfloc can be a bad thing in regard to clarity.
Alex's Imperial Amber on the left and the Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter on the right.
Alex’s Imperial Amber on the left and the Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter on the right.

We are still very happy with Alex’s Imperial Amber. Hop aroma contributes a floral/citrus character; there is also malt and a dried cherry component to the aroma profile. Due to a over vigorous boil, our yield was slightly reduced, so all we can do is enjoy a home brew and make some more.

If we manage to brew this for a third time and achieve similar results, a good beer brewing streak will be established.

We brewed our base Imperial Porter recipe October 22 hemming and hawing over the addition of vanilla and bourbon. We decided to go for it and added vanilla beans at secondary fermentation and bourbon at packaging (~68 mL bourbon/gallon beer).

We did our initial tasting while we were both suffering head colds and were disappointed in how it turned out. Not much roasted character, hardly a hint of vanilla, and just tasted thin. Then our sinuses cleared, and what a difference a clear nose makes.

The roast character was immediately apparent, the mouth feel was fuller. The vanilla was more present, but there is room to add more. The bourbon mellowed nicely after a week with the beer; next time we brew this beer we want to impart bourbon character without adding bourbon or aging in a barrel (bourbon barrel pieces in secondary?).

The porter had a third taster. The HVAC guy saw our brewing equipment in the basement and got to jawing with Dave. Turns out the HVAC guy loves porters and was more than happy to taste test ours. He likes a little more vanilla character (we concur), but overall enjoyed the beer.

We are very happy beer drinkers with both of these beers.

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