Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bottle Day and Tasting - Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout & Electric Citrus Saison

After the trouble of a double brew day I was looking forward to tasting both of these beers.  My original plan for the Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout was to let it sit over a couple vanilla beans for a week.  Between my work trip at the beginning of December and then travelling home to Canada for the Holidays, I didn’t have time to let it sit for only a week.  So in order to still get the vanilla flavour I planned, I decided to use vanilla sugar for bottling.  The specific sugar that I used had little pieces of vanilla bean in it.  I used 41g of the vanilla sugar, planning on the carbonation being very low.  Bottling was smooth and I was able to get 18 Full 0.5L bottles from the batch, though the beer was a little cloudy, I thought it might still clear in the bottles. Checking the gravity, the beer seems to be a whopping 7.8% alcohol, this could be dangerous.  The beer was also nowhere near as dark as I wanted for this stout, coming out maybe a little darker brown then the Ye Old Confused Brown Ale.

Three weeks later I decided to try my first Stout.  The top popped and when poured the carbonation was great, just enough to tickle the tongue a bit and bring out the aroma.  There was a little bit of a head formed, with big bubbles, but it didn’t last long and left no lacing on the glass.  It was still the dark brown but it hadn’t cleared at all from bottling, if anything it was cloudier with little bits of vanilla bean floating around.  The yeast cake on the bottom was about 3mm thick, though pretty stable.  The smell right off is clearly of hops, with a little hint of chocolate and nothing of vanilla.  The taste is bitter, almost harsh, with a long aftertaste almost of citrus.  There is a slight sweetness to compliment the bitterness and a good mouth-feel, thick but not really creamy.  Overall, this really isn’t a stout but I’m not sure what it could be classified as, maybe a brown American IPA??  About a month down the road, I’ve had a couple more of them, and it seems the harshness has mellowed.  It’s still bitter, with more of the hop flavour and chocolate come through.  Age is bringing out the positive qualities of this beer, maybe this will be a re-brew in the future, and I just need to figure out how to get it to clear.  Aww well, part of the fun is in the trial and error.

Continuing with the double trouble theme, I bottled the Electric Citrus Saison on the same day.  Since this was just a 4 litre trial, I’m not overly concerned.  I decided to continue with the honey additions and bottled with 37g of Acai Blossom Honey, giving the Saison a very high carbonation.  When pouring into the bottling bucket, the beer was crystal clear and very pale yellow.  This resulted in 8 full 0.5L bottles and a final alcohol by volume of 6%.

I popped one of these just after the first Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, and I was sorely disappointed in the carbonation.  It was almost flat, thought the smell was very nice and refreshingly citrus.  The beer was very clear with a really pale yellow.  Citrus and hops warred with each other as the prominent smell, the coriander and cardamom taking a back seat.  The taste was nice, tart and refreshing, though a little cloying without a good carbonation.  About a month later the carbonation is perfect, helping produce a beautiful white head when poured, which fell to about half a centimetre, lasting to about half way through the glass.  The citrus notes are there in the aroma, and in the flavour, though the honey hasn't come out that I can tell.  This will be a nice beer to enjoy in the summer and may require a full batch brew.

Photos courtesy of Mrs. Thirsty