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Tasting – English IPA

29/12/2014

english_IPA

Occasionally a beer totally surprises you and the English IPA I brewed with WLP 006 a while back is one of those. I really thought that the hops used would contribute a different aroma profile but it turned out not to be what I expected, not that I mind a bit.

Appearance : A clear copper body. I turned the carbonation down a bit and not much head in this one when poured. Some nice lacing is left in the glass. Nice looking pint.

Smell : I think i mentioned in the recipe that the hops used would probably result in an earthy aroma – turned out that this beer is very fruity, with notes of peach and some citrus. There is also a whiff of pine needles, quite atypical for English hops. I was really surprised how this turned out.

Taste : Nice malty body, once again I have to say that I really like what Maris Otter malt brings to the table. There’s also an interesting cream candy note from the invert bitter that I find enjoyable. Bitterness is on the smooth side but firm, hitting the back of your mouth after a sip. The hops lend an interesting taste in the middle of the palate that I can’t quite place.

Mouthfeel : I have to say that the body is on then thin side even with a low carbonation level, I think as a result from using the invert bitter. I should really try to use it in a bigger beer where it wouldn’t be an issue. Still, not what I would call watery, just thin.

Notes/thoughts : The hop character is not what  I expected… Perhaps the First Gold used as a dry hop lend most of the fruitiness to the beer and the hops on the hot side don’t come through as strongly. The aroma is also quite strong, usually I expect less of “oomph” from English hops but this one really shines. I’m pleasantly surprised by the hops and the only thing I’d do differently the next time around is leave out the invert sugar, or brew a beer with a higher starting gravity.

I have to say that this beer really makes me think about the effect that dry hopping has on the hop aroma… Some experimenting might be in order, trying different hops on the hot and cold side to see which aromas dominate. Finally, based on my two last beers I think the wlp#006 is a stellar yeast to use in a malty or hoppy style of beer. It seems to accentuate both the malt and hop flavour while giving the beer some yeast character. I’m really pleased with both beers I fermented with it.

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