I brewed my Coffee Amber Ale some time ago and the keg is just about the kick, so I thought that I would share my tasting notes with you in case you were curious and wanted to try brewing it. As you can see in the picture to the left, the beer is a nice clear amber color and has a fluffy white head. The nose has coffee beans in the nose, more green than roasted. There are some slight bread and caramel notes as well but the green coffee smell really wins out.
On the first taste I was surprised at the amount of caramel that comes out in the beer. It’s a very smooth and round caramel. It then transitions to coffee flavor. The coffee is reserved and not as bold as a “typical” coffee ale, but it does come though and helps balance out the sweetness of the caramel. There are not hop notes to speak of in this one.
My overall impressions with this beer are high. I’m thrilled that I was able to make a coffee amber ale. It was a challenge that I think I succeeded at. I would like the coffee to smell less green and have more roast in the future along with some pumped up coffee notes in the flavor of the beer. I’m not sure how to accomplish this without changing the color but I’m open to suggestions. This was a super simple beer to brew and I will be making a return to my brewing schedule come the late fall/early winter. I’m not sure if the coffee malt did anything other than add some color so I might try changing it out for a chocolate malt in order to get some additional roasty flavors. I’m a happy camper and I’ll be sad to see this one go.
I posted my recipe for the first version of my Belgian IPA not to long ago and I wanted to update you on how it actually tastes. The idea behind this beer was to blend an American IPA along with a Belgian Tripel. At the end of the day this beer came out to be 9% ABV and 75 IBUs.
The beer poured out of the tap a nice clear orange color. The image makes it look a bit darker than it actually is. The head is plentiful, a little too much so, and doesn’t fade until well into the drink. It leaves a nice lacing. I’m going to attribute the head to the hops and wheat malt. I did carbonate this one a bit higher than normal as well. The nose has a slight hop aroma but is overwhelmed by heat and Belgian spices.
The heat hits you quickly and then fades away. There is a decent malt body and it is very clean. I didn’t get any bready or toasty notes when drinking this ale. The Belgian spice notes are strong and a bit peppery. I think the yeast was a bit muddled and the true yeast flavor got lost. I’m going to try a different approach with the yeast next time out. This beer was built off of the yeast cake from two previous batches. I think the previous flavors and different fermenting temps gave the yeast a few characteristics that I would rather not have.
The hops were present, but they need to be there much more. I tried to cheap out a bit and go with higher alpha acid hops to get more bang for my buck and I don’t think it worked very well. The hops tasted a bit old. The next time I make this beer I want to add more bitter and aroma hops to help balance out the heat and malt.
I’m about halfway there on this beer. I like it a lot for a first run but it needs some help. In addition to the hop and yeast changes I wouldn’t add as much sugar and sub in more base malt. With a yeast cake the size of what this beer had to work with, I think the simple sugars produced a bit too much heat. I would also ferment this one a bit colder. All good things in time I suppose.
I made a commitment to start posting more about my homebrewing. I noticed that I post a fair number of recipes, but I never review them and explain future changes that I would make. I’m going to start making a better effort to do this and I figured I should review my Pumpkin Ale while I still have some left.
My pumpkin beer pours a nice clear dark amber color and has a thin white head that fades with time. The nose smells like pumpkin pie with a balanced dose of spices and some pumpkin meat.
The taste is pretty close to what I was shooting for. There is a good malt flavor with some hints of bread and graham cracker. The pumpkin pie spices come in and help clean up the beer. I really liked the aftertaste on this one. After all of the major flavor components have a chance to sit for a bit, they meld nicely.
This beer turned out exactly like I wanted it to with a few minor exceptions. The clove was a bit stronger than the other spices, so I will dial that one back a bit. I did think the spices were in balance with the beer though. This was not one of those overly spiced pumpkin beers. I want to add a bit more body to it as well. The oats didn’t give it as much silky texture as I would have liked. I’ll probably increase the mash temperature to help get some longer sugars out of it and as a result, more body. The mix of crystal malts worked nicely and I wouldn’t change a thing there. I might take a look at giving it some more bread character to better simulate the crust of a pumpkin pie. I would consider adding a touch of biscuit, brown, or carabrown malt depend on what I had on hand. I’m pretty happy with this recipe overall and I think I’m 90% there as far as how I want it to be.
Back in January I brewed a brown porter. You can read about the brew day here and find a recipe for the beer here. As any homebrewer should evaluate their beer according to what they wanted out of their beer. I wanted a beer that was super easy drinking, low in ABV, and something that you could enjoy in the cold and cool weather.
My brown porter came out being a bit darker than I had intended. It was a deep ruby color when held up to the light. Surprisingly this beer was crystal clear. The nose was full of roast and malty sweetness. I didn’t get any hops on the nose. I would have liked to had this one be a bit dryer on the nose, but what are you going to do?
The taste of this beer was exactly what I was going for. It has a nice round roastiness with some dark caramels and toffee flavors. It isn’t overly sweet and the hops combine with the roasty flavors nicely to cut the sweetness down a peg or two. It has a very clean flavor to it and each component rolls into the next flavor.
I’m pretty happy with how this one came out. A number of people have tried it and enjoyed it. My parents, who don’t like craft beer in the least, didn’t even mind it. I like the recipe and I think I got everything I wanted out of it. The next time that I brew this beer I’m going to shoot for a different type of yeast. I want something a bit more English in nature that gives off a few more ester and a little more dryness. I think that the additions of those flavors would really round this beer out better and make it better.