Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Homebrew Log part 2

I mentioned on Monday that I had swapped some homebrew samples with James from A Homebrew Log. In addition to the IHP Pale Ale which was the original cause of the swap, we traded some other beers, in my case I gave him a 22oz bottle of Gael 80/-, LimeLight and a 12oz bottle of Black Rose. Coming the other way were 12oz bottles of James's Cider, Chili Lager, Apple Ale, Peter McCotton 80/- and Imperial Walker Texas Ranger Stout.

Last night I decided to try the ales from the collection, leaving the lager and cider to chill down in the fridge for a day or so, to be written about at some later date (probably a rare weekend post). First up was the Apple Ale, the recipe for which was inspired by a German drink called Graff, 80% cider, 20% amber beer.

As you can see from the picture, it is a nice golden colour, bordering on a light amber, topped off with a loose white head that thinned out rather quickly. I had no idea what to expect with this, other than a prevalence of apples on both the nose and in the mouth, and so it turned out to be. Behind the apples though was a very gentle sweet maltiness which added body to the liquid, I can't work out whether to call this a beer or what! On a hot, hot day, and yesterday is Charlottesville was a bloody hot, hot day, this chilled down was beautifully refreshing and something I plan to brew in the future, though possibly as a candidate for mulling in the depths of winter.

Following the Graff was Peter McCotton 80/-, an export ale in the Scottish style, which to look at was very similar to my Gael 80/-.

This one was definitely a beer! A deep ruby beer which had a very loose light tan head. The nose was very much coffee to the fore, with a slight toastiness in the background which kind of made me think of breakfast. The roasty notes from the nose played on through to the drinking, so be followed by a smooth gentle caramel flavour which rounded out the beer nicely. With the coffee and roastiness it would be easy to see this as a very toned down stout, but without the cloying feeling you sometimes get with stouts and porters. The finish was long and dry,

Having had stout in mind, it was time to move on to the big beast.

Imperial Walker Texas Ranger Stout is an 8.5% ABV brute of a beer which is very dark indeed, with just the merest tinge of crimson at the edges. Even before I got the glass to my nose I could smell the coffee, big walloping dollops of coffee, with an almost milky background and as the drinking wore on a distinct boozy glow. As with many a stout, coffee and chocolate dominate the flavours, espresso and dark chocolate respectively. In the depths of winter, this would be a great beer to come home to and sip by the fire, a lovely drop indeed.

So, 3 good beers from Fredericksburg and well done James!

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