Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lost In Details

I love reading. Whether it be blogs, magazines, or books, I love indulging in the written word, getting different perspectives on things and learning more about a given subject. I will books time and time again because with each reading you notice something that perhaps you glossed over before. I read a fair bit about beer in particular, in between bouts of David Hume, Umberto Eco or Douglas Coupland, and this morning I picked up Stan Hieronymous' 'Brew Like A Monk' to remind myself what he said about Orval.


I have half a mind to try and brew my own version of Orval at some point in the future, when I have restored my complement of carboys back to 4, so I am working through a recipe in my mind. As I read, a comment from legendary brewer Jean-Marie Rock leapt off the page:
"It is impossible to produce a good beer with details"
I sometimes wonder, especially when listening to beer geeks waffle on about IBUs and alcohol by volume, whether we lose the wood for looking at the trees?

I really couldn't give a shit if your Imperial IPA has sufficient IBUs to strip the tastebuds from my tongue, stamp them into submission and leave them screaming for mercy. I am not impressed that you have managed to freeze distil your beer to the strength of a whisky. All I care about is how your beer tastes. IBUs, ABV, SRM and all the other numbers used in brewing are just that, numbers, details. They tell me little about the flavour, aroma and complexity of a beer.

Rock's adage could quite easily be extended to:
"It is impossible to appreciate good beer by focusing on details"
I am sure I am just as guilty when it comes to getting hung up on certain details, such as the 'black' in Black IPA or Black Pils, so I remind myself here as much as anyone, it is only beer and appreciating the aromas and flavours involved is what it is really all about, preferably with mates, and preferably in a pub.

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