Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Barley Bee Brewing: Nut Brown Ale

Well, this one didn't turn out as close to the base style as I thought it might. It actually ended up landing somewhere on the other half of the recipe ( It really turned out great though. This was the first beer I kegged, and waiting on all of that equipment to carbonate, etc. really forced me to be patient and I believe it paid off in this beer as the harsher alcohol flavors I was afraid of in testing mellowed out quite a bit. Here are the scores:

Overall flavor: (9/10) This really is a fantastic beer. I love drinking it and it is easy to drink. It is smooth and malty in the mouth but balanced to the point that you don't notice any sickening sweetness. The best (or at least most recognizable) comparison is to Newcastle. I would say that this beer is much fuller and not as sweet or syrupy as Newcastle tends to be. It also has that fresh flavor that is hard to find in Newcastle. Can't forget to cold-condition this beer for a week or two. A great beer that I will certainly brew again.

Mouthfeel: (7/10) I believe the larger mouth of this beer works with the overall flavor of the beer, but it isn't really true to either of the styles involved in making this beer. It is just a bit on the full side.

Sweetness: (9/10) I really believe the maltiness works well in this beer. I don't really want to adjust much between the sweetness and the bitterness, as I believe any sweeter would be sickening and any more bitter would add a strange flavor that didn't fit the overall beer.

Bitterness: (9/10) See above. Good balance.

Complexity: (6/10) I believe this may be where the beer has a bit of room to improve. It is a great beer exactly as it is, but it does seem to be a simpler brown nut ale. It goes down great, feels good (makes you feel good) and leaves the glass empty quickly, but a couple of interesting grain additions hiding in the background could easily be an improvement.

Conformity to Style: (8/10) This was brewed thinking it would fall on the ESB side of the recipe, but instead it has fallen on the "Nutty" part. I docked a point for that, otherwise it is dead on.

Alcohol: (9/10) This was the area I was most afraid of. It tasted like there would be way too much before I kegged it. I thought that the alcohol would overpower the other interesting parts of the beer. I was pleased that something I made had noticeable alcohol levels in it, but the finished product is a big improvement on the alcohol flavorings. Make sure to always serve on teh colder end.

Flaws: (9/10) There are no real noticeable flaws. The alcohol probably went a bit high due to upper-end fermentation temperatures.

Carbonation: (10/10) I would say that carbonating at 10PSI is about right. It could perhaps even take a bit lower carbonation, but I believe I prefer the carbonation at this slightly heavier level.

Well-rounded: (10/10) It has all of the parts and they all seem to work together very well.