Monday, February 11, 2013

Sonorval Tasting

Reviewed 2/1/13

This beer is coming together wonderfully. It’ll be changing quite a bit over time given that I bottled it very early on in the development of the Brett from the Orval and Brux dredges. As it stands it is a very hoppy American Pale with a hint of Brett funk and a giant nose of floral and fruity hops. The Centennial and Calypso dry hop combo is spectacular—something I will be using again I’m sure. Flowers, hay, and lemon with subtle funk. I honestly can’t tell where the hops end and the Brett begins.

Appearance: Sunny golden with moderate haze and the prettiest big, fluffy, pure white meringue head I’ve seen. There are some floaty bits of yeast but it is still a looker.

Smell: Perfume floral nose with bright Meyer lemon skin and a backdrop of Brett funk that is like sweet, wet hay. Super aromatic, with an enchanting rose blossom quality. Slight goat and grainy sweet. The way the hops put up such huge flower and lemon aromas without smelling resinous or “dank” is un-canny… and unexpected. These Centennials are so fruity and smooth! No pine or pith. All hops and Brett in the aroma, with barely a hint of the pils malt or English yeast. It smells exactly like Lemonhead Candies to me.

Taste: Candied lemon peel, smooth Bretty dryness, and a hard candy-like floral note that reminds me of those rose flavored French hard candies. There is some Powdery yeast in the finish with a clean and bready malt palette. Hardly bitter, but super hoppy. There are solid apple skin and pear flesh notes in the taste that are absent in the nose—I’m not sure if they are the Brett or the Calypso hops.

Mouthfeel:  Grainy, with medium carbonation (which will inevitably get bigger with time), and a clean finish that lingers with rose-water and very subtle vanilla tinged tannins from the oak. To me, pilsner malt as the base is most apparent to me in the mouthfeel, and this is no exception. Dry, not bitter, and pleasingly, subtly farmy.

Overall: Crazy good and bound to get better. The oak is hard to pick out but adds some depth, the hops are brilliantly complimentary to the Brett, and the grain bill is well balanced with a pleasing subtle sweetness. The carbonation isn’t quite there yet, but it will come with some more age. It is a little low on the IBUs right now, but as the Brett dries it out more and more I think the balance will be just right.

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