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Tasting – Amarillo Nelson IPA

12/04/2014

AmaNelIPA

 

The Amarillo – Nelson Sauvin hopped IPA has been on the tap for about three weeks and has settled down nicely. Right after kegging this one had an unpleasant aroma of rotten tropical fruit and I decided to give it some time to mellow down. Now it’s much more balanced and is very drinkable.

Appearance : Three weeks of cold has cleared this one up quite a lot but it is still very hazy due to the amount of hops used. Colour is a pale copper and the white head is voluminous and thick when poured and the settles down to a finger wide ring.

Smell : Grapes, oranges and ripe mango-fruit. There is a certain sense of over-ripeness about the aroma still but it’s much more pleasant at this point in time. Right after kegging the aroma was much more on the rotten tropical fruit side to the point of being unpleasant. As time has passed the nose has become more balanced as the orange-citrus of Amarillo has gained some room. There is also a slight herbal note that has developed as the beer has aged in the keg.

Taste : The taste is a bit like eating fruit salad followed by a bitter bite. The bitterness has an edge of tropical fruit, something that I think is solely the result of Nelson Sauvin hops. It’s hard to explain but somehow the sense of bitterness is different in this one compared to some other hops. The malt character is very slight, this beer is dominated by the hops. Overall level of bitterness could be a bit stronger for my personal tastes.

Mouthfeel : The body is very dry. Medium carbonation as usual. Very drinkable for a 6% ABV beer.

Notes/thoughts : Of all the beers that I have hopped with Nelson Sauvin this pairing is the most pleasant as it now stands. Amarillo brings a nice counterpoint to the pungent aroma of Nelson Sauvin. In the future I think I’ll cut down on the proportion of Nelson as it can be very overpowering especially when the beer is fresh. It’s a nice and unique hop but at least for my tastes can be a bit too much so in the future I’ll use it to complement, not dominate the hop profile.

It’s hard to say whether the natural carbonation took away from the aroma, I suppose only a controlled experiment would tell that for sure. One thing it seemed to affect was the clarity of the beer, after kegging this one seemed to be more cloudy than a beer with the same yeast after a week of force carbonating. I did get to try the beer more fresh this way but it turned out that this time it was not a good thing.

I’m very happy with this one and I think my hoppy beers have gotten much better during the last six months. Kegging is of course the main reason but I think I’ve learned more about how to use hops in a more efficient way and also to make beers with a focused hop profile instead of a “general” hoppy taste.

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