Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tasting Notes: Belgian Dry Stout

I’m pretty busy with work and school at the moment, so I haven’t had a chance to write some of the posts I had planned for this week.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to continue the Farmhouse Ales series this weekend with a post on blended beer.  In the meantime, though, I thought I’d post some quick tasting notes on the Belgian Dry Stout I brewed a while back.

A quick preview: the beer is OK---pretty tasty, in fact---but not quite what I was going for.  As I mentioned in the original post, it was inspired by De La Senne’s Stouterik, but as it stands its a very different beer.  For one thing, I’d be surprised if most people would pick up on the fact that this was brewed with a Belgian yeast, unless you told them.  I also think the creaminess from the flaked barley ends up suppressing some of the dark chocolate and roasted notes I wanted: they are there, but very subtle.

I’ll certainly be brewing this one again, but next time I think I’ll replace the barley with malted wheat, and perhaps add a dash of extra dark crystal or even some Special B.  I think such a beer would still fit the “Belgian Dry Stout” description: if anything, these changes bring it closer to something like Beamish rather than Guinness (see Michael Dawson’s `Beamishish’, featured in the most recent episode of Chop and Brew).

IMG_1752[1]Appearance: Looks black in glass, but more like reddish brown when held up to light.  Thin off-white head.  Moderate lacing.

Smell: Bready sweetness and some very light spice (could be from aroma hops or yeast).  Maybe some dark fruit, and very subtle roast notes, becoming more pronounced as it warms up.

Taste: Sweet at first, coating tongue, then more fruity with coffee-like roasted flavours, almost ashy, but very subtle; blending quickly into a nice bitterness in the mid to back palate.  Very slight tartness. 

Mouthfeel: Silky and full, especially for such a low gravity beer.  More than I would like in fact: I think it covers over some of the roast and chocolate notes, and makes the beer seem less dry.  This is one of the reasons I’m going to try wheat in place of flaked barley next time.

Drinkability & Notes: Like I said, a pretty nice beer, but not what I was going for.  I want more of the dark and chocolatey notes, and something drier and less silky.  I’m happy that it doesn’t scream “Belgian yeast!” at you, and I think I can push it further in the direction I wanted with a few modifications.

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