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.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

XX Bitter

It's the ficklest of classics: XX Bitter.

Brewers all know it. Before I headed into the ether at Belgium Come to Cooperstown, I talked to a brewer (from Offshore Ales) about his "Hop Goddess." It was a consciously XX Bitter/Orval- inspired beer. It was great, by the by. My version from a year or so ago is way off the mark, but great. I brewed a hoppy Roeslare pale, trying to harken back to the days when XX was brewed with Rodenbach yeast. Drinking XX right now, mine is actually more interesting, but perhaps less balanced... It's a tricky style. Mine has amazing Roeslare aromatics, but an awful lot of bitterness for the slender, wild-yeast-attenuated body. The actual XX is more balanced than I recalled. It's bitter and lean, even a little severe, but balanced by a delicate maltiness and some subtle yeast aromatics.

The more I drink it the more I think I can compete. My next Roeslare pale will be less hampered by imitation. I'll just compose a simple, hearty grist, hammer it with characterful hops, and relax.

In other news, I've thought of a new Saison profile. With the Wyeast Farmhouse strain, I'll be brewing a Spring Wheat Saison with pils, wheat, and cara-wheat malts and lots of Sterling hops. Should be good.


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