Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tasting Notes for Kathleen Round 3 - More Hops!

I wanted to increase the usage of hops in this beer and add some dry hopping to see if the discussions we had on the Saison Facebook group had any effect on the head retention for this beer.  I also used Bob's carbonation technique to see if that would give me better retention as well.  Here are the tasting notes for the most recent batch of Kathleen.  Brew day post is here.

Drinking on 6-25-16

ABV: 5.88% (estimated after blending)
SG:  1.048 or 11.91°P
FG:  1.002 or 0.51°P
Apparent Attenuation:  96%
Actual Attenuation:  78%

Glowing in the sunlight.

Appearance:  Hazy golden straw in color with a rough white head when poured.  Retention is decent but I still want it better.  The beer looks as if it is glowing in the light.  I enjoy clear beers but I also really like when a beer like Kathleen has this appearance of slightly murky.  Plays on a rustic note to me.  Carbonation runs of the edge of the glass and continues to bubble as I drink it.  Head finally gave way and there was just a ring and a patch of bubbles floating.

Head retention still leaving me wanting.

Aroma:  Citrus, pear, and white grape are what I get at first sniff.  Then I get more floral and grassy notes as I dig in.  Some funky dried hay aromas are there too.  Tropical fruit and the great fruity brett notes that I like of pineapple and maybe even white grape show up.  I really like the brett strain that is in the C2C blend.  Those flavors are also one of the reasons I tend to like Drie or Trois Vrai strains as well.  

Flavor:  Definite white grape in the flavor.  More citrus and pear notes but this time it's more like a white grapefruit flavor that is bitter and dry just like when you eat a white grapefruit or if you are having a Salty Dog cocktail.  It's very refreshing.  The grassy and spice notes are at the very end with the tartness.  May be a touch acetic but that may just be me over analyzing it.  If it is, it's not offensive by any means.  The increased bitterness is very nice.  This may be one of the highest perceived bitterness beers I've done in a while.

Mouthfeel:  Medium mouthfeel, spritsy carbonation and a clean finish.  The tartness makes you want another drink and the bitterness creates such a clean finish that I really enjoy.  

Overall:  I'm more impressed with this beer than any I've done in a long while.  I've loved the previous batches of Kathleen but this one really shines above the rest.  Increasing the bitterness a bit, adding more hops, and dry hopping generously has really made a beer that resembles the previous batches but has even more in flavor and aroma.  I really enjoy the increase in bitterness.  It adds to the drinkability of this beer and really creates a clean finish.

The head retention is still leaving me wanting.  I used Bob's technique on this Saison that was brewed with brett and it really seems to have better head retention.  I think having the acidic beer blended in is something that is effecting the retention on these beers.  I may try and shoot for a 3.5 vol level instead of 3.2 vol like I did this time.  I may have to do that and see if it yields better results and lets the head linger just a bit longer.  Dry hopping didn't have too much of an effect this time but again that may be due to the acid beer having an effect on it.  The dry hops did however seem to have an effect on the clarity but, I'm not overly concerned with that.

I really love brewing and drinking this beer.  I think the process of blending in the sour, mature beer is something I'll continue to do in my brewing practices.  It's not required for all beers but it really is great when used with Saison and similar styles.  This glass was so easy to drink on a 98F degree day here in Mississippi.  It was so good, I think I may have another glass of Saison to follow it up!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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