Thursday, March 13, 2014

#18 Dry Irish Stout - Tasting

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

Wow, I pretty much nailed this one.  There was a lot that didn't go according to plan on brewday, but the end result is a pretty solid beer, and definitely one I'm happy with.

After it finished carbonating, the first pour from the tap looks exactly like Guinness--complete with rolling, cascading foam--despite the lack of nitrogen.  The mouthfeel is about as you'd expect from the look of it, deliciously creamy.  I love slurping it through the cap of dense foam.  The taste is not especially bitter, with a hint of milk-like sweetness that may be a bit out of style, but is still pretty tasty.  It's--like the oatmeal stout-- not as roasty as I hoped, but definitely the kind of beer I go back for sip after sip without thinking about it.

Since it's an Irish stout and St. Patrick's Day is coming up, I better say a few words about how it compares to Guinness.  The last time I had a Guinness was almost two years ago, but I've had so many before that I'm pretty confident I remember what it tastes like.  As I mentioned above, the appearance is pretty dang similar--thicker if anything considering I don't have it on nitrogen. The foam on mine is more of a grayish tan than the clean white on a Guinness, but it's a small difference.  Once it hits your lips, the Guinness has a bit of a dry, sharp, burnt taste to it with an acidic/sulfury note in the background (it's been awhile, please leave a comment if you have a better descriptor).  The roast malt bitterness on mine is substantially more reserved, and melds into the faint, creamy sweetness for a smoother, if less flavorful package.

This beer is definitely not perfect, but I would say it's closer to what I was aiming for than it is to Guinness.  As I noted in the brewday post, the mash temperatures got way out of hand, lending it that extra body and sweetness.  A rebrew would be substantially drier, and I would definitely up the roast malt to bring the bitterness more to the front.  Then again, I'm enjoying this beer as it is, so I guess either way works.  I'm especially enjoying the flaked barley; it has a subtle flavor that I really love, and I will definitely be using it in more beers that call for that extra creaminess.  Stouts obviously, but any other ideas where it would be appropriate?

UPDATE 4/1/14:
When I wrote this I was really excited that it even came out well considering all the difficulty on brewday.  Maybe it's not quite as good as I made it sound--all the flaws mentioned in the last paragraph certainly still apply--so I have some work to do, but at least it's recipe tweaks rather than process flaws.  Drawing up new recipes is the fun part.

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