Today I had my first taste of the IPA I brewed on January 29th.
Appearance: The color is right where I wanted it – a nice 10 SRM copper. It looks maybe more like 12 or 13 in the picture, but that’s just the picture. As you can see from the image, it’s still quite cloudy. It was bottled 13 days ago. It only spent 24 hours in the fridge before opening it. I feel that the rest of the beer will clarify with more time in the bottle, and a proper amount of time in the fridge before opening, say a week. 4% of the grain bill was wheat malt, so it will likely never become fully clear, but it shouldn’t remain this cloudy.
Smell: A good bit of Cascade & Centennial aroma comes through, quite grapefruity. Not as strong as I wanted, though. I was going for something kind of like Two Hearted, but I just didn’t hit it on the hop aroma levels. I think one can’t get that level or aroma without dryhopping. I’ll likely brew this exact same recipe again, only adding some dry-hopping. As the beer warmed up in the glass (I poured it at fridge temp – 36°F), the aroma became more pronounced.
Taste: There it is. That’s what I was looking for. The maltiness is great on this one. Bready, light crust. The hop flavor is fantastic. It pops. The flavor is so abundant, it makes you wonder what happened to the hop aroma. The flavor and aroma are kind of out of balance. I have a feeling the hop tea I made from the bittering hops really pushed the hop flavor skyward.
I think I ended up with a higher IBU level than I was going for. I was shooting for 55. My totally scientific tongue tells me this might be more like 80. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. That said, IBU levels are still sane. It’s not even close to the realm of , say, Stone Ruination or Bell’s Hopslam.
Edit: I just realized I had BeerSmith set to use the (default) Tinseth formula for IBU calculation. I usually work with Rager. Tinseth tells me this beer should be 57 IBUs. Rager says 68. 68 makes sense.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation isn’t fully developed yet. I do believe the priming sugar has all been consumed, but the carbonation isn’t fully incorporated into the beer yet. However, the overall mouthfeel of this beer is fantastic. It has a full, creamy body.
Drinkability: This beer is very drinkable. I could have many. At 7.2% abv, that could be fun. It pairs amazingly with Dubliner cheese.
Overall, I’m pleased with this beer. I want to re-brew it and get the hop aroma higher and maybe lower the IBUs a bit, but this is one that friends will enjoy. I’ll post another tasting review some time down the line once the beer has matured a bit in the bottle.