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Tasting – Bramling Bitter

25/02/2014

Bramling_Smash

My first try at Single Malt and Single Hop or “SMaSH” brewing was a beer made with Maris Otter and Bramling Cross, a British hop variety that I’ve been wanting to use for a while now.

Appearance: A very clear straw coloured body under a finger wide white head. Lot’s of lacing is left in the glass as the level goes down

Smell: A biscuity malt smell. Some ester yeast character that is hard to take apart and which I always label “British”. Very little hop character. The most common description of Bramling Cross is black currant and my girlfriend with her much finer sense of smell can pick it up but my nose doesn’t detect any.

Taste: Biscuit malt (think cream crackers) with some orange-like notes. A nice firm bitterness in the end that isn’t harsh or aggressive.

Mouthfeel: A fairly light mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

Notes/thoughts: An interesting experiment. I was expecting more character from the hops since most sources say that Bramling Cross has an assertive “American” flavour. Either my 2012 hops were of a  lower quality or the assertiveness isn’t all it’s made out to be. I’m thinking that it would be nice to do another SMaSH with the same amount of some American hop variety and compare the two. Perhaps Simcoe or Columbus? Perhaps chance the malt and yeast as well or keep them the same to really pin down the difference between the hops?

Despite the slight hop character the beer is very enjoyable. Maris Otter and the Fullers strain combined make for a very flavoursome beer. Sometimes less is more. I encourage every homebrewer to try out a SMaSH brew, I enjoyed both making and drinking this one.

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