Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First impressions of the Hogsmeade Mild Ale

Tried really hard to get a good picture of this. Oh well...

It's still young, and my VERY first impressions of it were, well, not impressive. The beer had picked up a slightly-too-strong banana ester, which is not appropriate in really any English style. It is quite possible that the beer fermented slightly too warm, or maybe I left it on the yeast a little too long. Anyway, after carbonating and sitting for a bit, here is my first critical review of Jeff's Hogsmeade Mild Ale:

Appearance: Quite lovely actually. Very dark chestnut brown with pretty ruby highlights on the side of the glass and a finger and a half of cream-colored head that dissipates into about 1 cm of persistent foam. A little bit of lacing, even on my poorly-cleaned college student beer glass. Nice, well-flocculated clarity. Visible carbonation.

Aroma: Much better without the banana esters...caramel and brown sugar, with a nutty, toffee-like sweetness. Subtle tones of raisin, but no spice like in the WB. Not too shabby.

Flavor: Caramel and toffee define the sweetness, with a nice backing of toasted walnuts. Light fruitiness in the beer with some mild esters that are only slightly more than I would like. Nicely balanced hop bitterness really rounds it out, and the finish leaves a little taste of bittersweet caramel on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: A little high on carbonation for the style, but nice medium body and a little smoothness from the addition of flaked oats into the recipe.

Overall: Considering this could have been a total throwaway batch (even NOT considering that), it is really quite good. This beer has really come through for me. Just goes to further Charlie Papazian's philosophy of "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew." It's good to have standards and try to hold them, but even when brew day seems like a disaster, one should really try to RDWHAH. Definitely a recipe for the books, given that the goodness of the recipe can even override my shoddy brew day and lack of temperature control.

Notes on products: Cooper's Carb Drops are awesome on the convenience factor, but so are Munton's Carb Tabs and they are like 1/3 the size and thus allow you to control the carbonation level better. This isn't over-carbonated necessarily, but the carb levels are still high. I really like the profile of WLP002 and will definitely want to use it again for more English-style ales. I tend to be a Wyeast guy (mostly because they have a great website and good descriptions of their yeast strains), but this is a really nice yeast.

Original Brew Day Post from 2/20/11

1 comment:

  1. Note: tried this the other night and it was better still. Maybe the carbonation from those Cooper drops had to settle a bit.