Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fears, Smells and Aromas

Have you ever poured that first new beer of a batch, looked at the copious foam on the top of the pour, taken a deep whiff and thought, "Damn! it's all screwed up! What is that 'spicy' note?"

I did, the other day,  How can I describe it? I smelt a spicy, almost pepper-like, seemingly chemical or 'bug-like' aroma. It's the kind of aroma I usually associate with oxidized beer. To me, personally I find it slightly unpleasant and certainly an undesirable quality in my beer, yet many barely notice it.

The interesting thing is, the flavour profile shows no hint of this spicy, nose flaring, aroma. Its a smooth, mildly bitter, mildly malty, with a moderate to soft mouth feel, low carbonated, easily drinkable beer. Ok, it's supposed to be a Red Ale: more by happy accident than by deliberate planning; which foams easily but has low head retention with mild, initial lacing of the glass.

I'm really quite surprised.

Materials
19L Batch, 1.5kg Czech Malt (3 EBC), 1.4 kg Aust. Pale Malt (4.9 EBC), 1 kg Munich Malt (18 EBC), 0.375 kg Karamel Malt (50 EBC),  15g Cluster@60 min, 7.5g Cascade@20 min, 7.5g Cascade@5 min, re-pitched live brewery yeast.
Mash
30°C x 10 min in 20 L; 63°C x 60 min - pH 4.9; Gravity = 1035
7L sparge; Gravity = 1020; pH 5.0
Post Boil
Gravity =1030; pH 5.3; Fermentation Temp 17.5-22.7°C x 2 days; Final Gravity = 1005
Kegged in 18L Cornie with 500 ml Unfermented Wort Primer. Color approx. 7.5-9°L (Light Amber). Sampled after 19 days.



So, there it is, a troublesome worry sitting in the back of my head - what is that aroma, and how did it get there? Yet, in the taste test there's nothing for me to worry about. Strange indeed. Cheers!

Until next time,

It's Your Shout, Mate!

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