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Tasting – Hoppy Tripel

20/09/2014

Am_Tripel

 

The Nelson Sauvin dry-hopped Tripel has now had ample time to condition in the bottle. This beer surprised me positively, I was afraid that my clumsy control of temperature during the fermentation would make for a so-so beer but it turned out nicely in the end.

Appearance : A slightly hazy golden-yellow body under a centimetre high head that does stay around for a while. I’ve dry-hopped in the primary with pellets lately and I’ve noticed that it leads to a haziness in the beer which even lots of time in the cold doesn’t clear up. When the hops are contained the beer tends to clear up over time. It’s not anything I’m particularly concerned about since I’d rather take the aroma than clear beer but I do wonder if you could have achieve both with some technique.

Smell : Nelson Sauvin is the one hop I tend to pick up even with my not-so-great nose in commercial beers. Here again the aroma is very strong, black currant leaves, fresh grapes and a slight overripe “tropical” note. I’m glad I didn’t have more of it available, even the 45 grams of older hops used in this one gives quite a robust aroma. Perhaps as the beer ages some yeast character will come through, as it stands now not much else is evident.

Taste : Spice from the yeast, very “Belgian”. The hops give a certain  tropical flavour that I really can’t pick apart. The bitterness is nicely balanced with the sweetness from the malt and alcohol. No solvent hotness, despite my fears.

Mouthfeel :  The body is very light despite the high ABV, the apparent attenuation was almost 90%. Very drinkable. Carbonation is on the high side which lightens the body even more. I think this beer is closer in mouthfeel to the real Trappist beers than my Duppel was.

Notes/thoughts : An interesting beer. I’ll sample this occasionally as it ages in the bottle. Hopefully it will reach a point where the hop character leaves a bit of room for some other notes to shine through. If I were to brew this again I would go with a bit less Nelson Sauvin or choose another hop entirely, say Citra if you want that Tropical fruit note. It might also be interesting to use a more traditional continental variety in the late boil in a similar beer, perhaps Saaz or some Goldings variety.

Update 21/1/14 : I enjoyed a bottle of this beer last evening and the hop character has mellowed down a lot. Now there is an almost white wine like aroma in the beer with just a hint of black currant. Some yeast derived spice comes through from the warm fermentation but in a pleasant way. The taste is not so “tropical” any more and it’s much more softer. This beer has really aged well.

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