Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Pale Tasting

Thought I'd check on Cat's Paw Pale and see how it's rounding out. The color is a little dark, and a little red for the style, but I don't care. It's a lovely, lovely color. The nose has a nice little hit of flowery hops--smells a little gerannial. It's not your usual Cascade-only nose--I threw in some Chinook at the end too. The result is a fairly dark, earthy hopping, rather than just a grapefruity high note--though there is a little of that too. The palate is fairly rich for a well-attenuated beer (1054 down to 1012). That dark crystal malt contributes a little raisiny sharpness and a lingering tea leaf character. The second effect I was definitely going for. The first one is maybe a little too pronounced. All in all, this beer probably needs a little lightening. I could imagine making just the same thing, but lowering the 120 a little, and perhaps replacing the Simpsons Caramalt with the slightly dryer effect I think Carastan would provide. Basically this beer just seems a tiny bit too much. I'd like to take the exact same concept and do a slightly more chilled out version, lightening the grain bill a tad, maybe omitting or reducing the late Chinooks, trying to go for something a little more session-y. But for what it is, it's balanced. And rather yummy too. Actually it's growing on me as I drink it. I also like the degree to which the nose integrates, rather than just layering, malt and hop elements. This is probably luck.

Gotta design an easy beer to keg and use for a party. I'm starting with Randy Mosher's English bitter recipe and tweaking it at will, so much so that it no longer resembles it actually. . .

"Cake or Death?" Bitter:

6.5 gallons
OG 1045
IBU 38

9 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb Victory
.25 lbs Crystal 55
.25 lbs Amber

Bitter with 1 oz Northern Brewer for 90 minutes.
One ounce EKG's at 30 minutes for bittering and flavor
.5 ounces Fuggle with five minutes remaining
.5 ounces EKG's at shut-off

Will be tempted to make those last additions bigger. Would that make it a special bitter? Leaving as is is probably about right though. Later I'll do a Young's Special London-esque thing and really fling the Goldings into it. .6 ounces each tops for this one.

Ooooh. That pale ale tastes much better a tad warmer. Drink only at English cellar temp. I love it. Take the above quibbling with a grain of salt. That's a lovely beer.


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