Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tasting : Alpine Duet clone

Well, this beer has only been bottled for 2-3 weeks now, but since IPAs are usually better when they're young (and since this Duet clone has by far had the most page views of any other posts I've made), I thought I'd put up some tasting notes now, before the beer starts to deteriorate.

Appearance: Pours a medium-golden color (pretty light for an IPA), with a moderate-large, creamy white head that seems to have pretty good lasting power. Leaves a bit of lacing on the glass as it gradually fades to a full finger of foam. The body exhibits very good clarity, despite the recent dry-hopping in the fermenter.

Aroma: Big, citrusy hops... lemons, oranges. Some pine in there as well, but not as much as I was expecting. I'd prefer more pine, to be honest.

Taste: Just a touch of malty sweetness at the beginning, followed by (again) big citrusy hop flavor. Juicy. The pine comes through more in the finish, as does the moderate bitterness (close to moderate-low, as expected with the lower-IBUs compared to most IPAs). The 7% alcohol is hidden very well. No real flaws to complain of.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Do I like this as an IPA? Yes. But, the real question, is this a clone of Alpine's Duet? The only way I could tell for sure is if I HAD a Duet to do a side-by-side tasting, and I don't... and I'll be lucky to ever try it again. I remember Duet as having an even BIGGER hop aroma and flavor, and to be more prominent on the pine. The Simcoe hops I used were purchased from my local homebrew shop, which is really more of a wine-making store, and I really can't vouch for how old the hops were, OR how they were stored. If I were to brew it again, I'd make sure the hops were as fresh as could be (Simcoe hops are notoriously difficult to get when they become available) AND had been stored properly. I'd also make larger hop additions at all points. The look and feel of the beer is about as I remember Duet being... I just think this is, unfortunately, a more watered-down attempt.

UPDATE: I've had 10-15 of these beers now, and I think now that the recipe I used got a little closer to the real thing than I originally thought. Once the Amarillo started to fade a bit in the aroma and flavor, the Simcoe came through more. Definitely a great IPA, either way!

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