Friday, October 19, 2012

Awesome Special Brown (ASBII) Tasting

Reviewed 10/18/12

Good, but not great.

ASBII is a bigger, browner, more bitter riff on the original ASB. The original was a really good beer, and I felt I could capitalize on its strong points and move it further in the “hybrid” direction.  

The target was a hop-forward, cleanly malty, bitter brown, and I’d say I hit the mark. I am not completely happy with where the recipe is right now though, and will be re-brewing it again with some new adjustments.

So here we go:

Appearance: Leathery brown that shows garnet red where the light shines through. Significant chill haze, but clear enough (I though the yeast was going to flocc better, but it is pretty young still). The head is big, creamy, and doesn’t fall.

Great head J

Smell: Main impression is toasty, coffee like, nutty, and grassy. It gets more aromatic as it warms and the fruitiness from the yeast begins to open up. Some, but only some, bright hoppy notes that push a hint of peach with some grass/ herbs. The usual hint of caramel sweetness, but this isn’t a sweet smelling beer.

Taste: Bitter and toasty with a grassy edge and an assertive “brown” character. The malt profile is surprisingly crisp and powerfully nutty, biscuity, and coffee like with almost no sweetness. As it warms there are some new subtle layers of toffee and dried apricots. The finish is bitter, clean, and dry.

Mouthfeel: Slick, full, and bitter. The carbonation should be lower and the bitterness softer. Next time I guess.

Overall: Drinks a lot like SN Tumbler, which Kel and I had alongside for comparison. We made some notes for how they compare… Tumbler: Slight smoke, cleaner yeast, creamier sweetness, half as bitter… ASBII: More aromatic, fuller body, apricots and peaches, coffee and nuts.

EDIT: After some age, it has developed quite a prominent sweetness. Good, but needs a certain smoothenss that was lost somewhere between it's bitter youth and sweet sunsetting.

My thoughts on how it compares to the original ASB:

    Making it bigger by upping the base malt was unnecessary. The original OG/FG worked wonderfully with the higher ratios of specialty grains, and this one could use the additional sweetness that the original had.

     Turning it brown was awesome. The added toast balanced out the caramel perfectly.

      The 15min/ flame out/ DH quantities were an improvement this time. I like the effect of less hops in the flavor dept. Next time I’ll skip the 15min altogether to let the malt shine.

     The Timothy Taylor yeast is good, and only subtly different from the London Ale that I used last time, but would be better suited to a paler beer. I’ll go back to the WLP013 for the next re-brew as I really loved the apple/ pear/ and woody notes it provided. The WY1469 has some amazing apricot/ peach type esters going on, and a very nice perfume-like powdery thing that shined in the 2 bottles I saved of the starter wort (which hilariously turned out to be a very solid “blonde”).   

      I overshot the bitterness on ASBII by quite a bit. Next time I’m going to aim a little lower on the IBUs.

No comments:

Post a Comment