Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pomegranate Kolsch Tasting

Reviewed 7/11/12

This beer has been on a bit of a journey. It started as the secondary batch of a seat-of-my-pants brew day. Half of the red wort got Citra hops and Brett C and became La Rouge. This half got some extra water to adjust the gravity down, a too-heavy dose of Sorachi Ace hops at flame out and was fermented with Kolsch yeast for a spritzy summer table beer. I was a little nervous about it as it was kind of a weird concept, and because I had heard mixed reviews about the Sorachi hops.  And sure enough, the slow to flocculate Kolsch yeast combined with the wacky hops in a pretty muddy way that I really didn’t like in the fermenter. To remedy the batch I added pomegranate syrup to the secondary fermenter with the intent of upping the acidity a bit and complimenting the lemon and dilly hops with some earthy fruit flavors. Even then, it took another month or so in bottles for the dill character of the hops to fade into the background. But it came together and is drinking quite nicely now.

Appearance: Quite a hazy muted orange that has a pinkish tinge in the light. I hate that I didn't do any water adjustments when I brewed this one, it should be a lot clearer. Rocky off-white head that is big at first and falls to 1 finger after a few but never quite goes away.

Smell: Lemony tartness front and center, with a fresh and clean dew-drop sweetness. The smell has a similar zing to a glass of white wine with some weird grape skin and tart cherry whispers in the background form the pomegranate.

Taste: The taste is different than the smell suggests. The lemon juice flavor is even bigger than expected, so much so that I think you may be able to tell someone that it was served with a squeeze. There are some interesting herbal notes coming from the hops that were way too dilly while the beer was young, but have mellowed out into a neat earthiness over the last two months. There is a hint of maltiness towards the end of the sip that instantly makes way for a thirst quenching finish. The pomegranate only shows itself as a hint in the background that reminds me of a strawberry/ balsamic reduction.

Mouthfeel: Dry, light, tart, and crisp with a pleasantly high level of carbonation. I think that if I hadn’t used the munich malts in this one it might just pass for a bubbly wine.

Overall: Turned out great! It was muddy and dilly for a while, but it really turned a corner once the yeast finally cleared and the hops mellowed out. Not totally what I expected, but it is a great summer time refresher. Next time I’ll leave out the dark malts and just go for a crisp pils, wheat, and fruit combo with this yeast and hop paring.

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