Monday, 6 January 2014

Tasting : Mosaic Session IPA

Well, I've been drinking my first stab at a Session IPA (I still think I prefer this term over "India Session Ale") for a couple of weeks now, and one of the first things that pops into my mind is, "I told you so". "I" meaning me, and "you" also meaning me.

I'm often a glass-half-empty kind of guy when it comes to my own homebrews, so let's start with what I'm getting at. I was originally worried that I put together this recipe too quickly, and mashed the beer too low (149 F). I like my APAs and American IPAs finishing dry, but in this case, I thought AFTER I had brewed the beer that the mash temp should have been higher to give this 4.4% ABV beer more body... it's just too thin. Oddly enough, the carbonation is also a bit lower than I'd like - I had to give the bottles a few weeks to carbonate, probably due to lower ambient temps in my house (it's been damn cold here lately), but I think they've reached where they're going to stay, and I'd prefer just a bit more carbonation.

Ok, but on to the positives! Despite the too-thin body, this is one fine-smelling and tasting beer. The Mosaic hops REALLY came through, and what a delicious hop it is! While I don't think I can pick out the blueberry character that you hear about with Mosaic, there's still a really big berry presence in the aroma and flavor. After only a few weeks, however, I find that the hop character is shifting to another level... sometimes I'd swear I can smell and taste pine in this beer. That's not a character that you normally see described with the Mosaic hop, so I don't know if it's just me, or if I overhopped the beer (mainly in the dry hop), which is something else I was worried about after the fact. Again, with the low ABV, some feel that too-high hop additions (especially in the dry hop) can lead to increased grassy flavors in the beer.

Luckily, I don't find the beer overly-grassy at all, so if I got a bit of pine from a large Mosaic addition, so be it! In a nutshell, I really enjoy the beer; if you ever decide to do something similar, just increase your mash temp to 152-154 F, and I think you'll be very happy with the results.

Appearance: Poured with a moderate-sized, creamy white head that eventually fades to a thin film on the beer. Body is a burnished-gold color, with pretty good clarity.

Aroma: Big hop aroma... fruity berries. A touch of caramel sweetness in there backing it up, but the hops easily dominate. A bit of pine. No diacetyl.

Taste: Again, a very hop-forward beer. The hop flavor is almost sweet due to the high berry presence; maybe some caramel malt character, but again, lots of hop presence. Seems to get a bit grassy towards the end. Moderate-high bitterness in the finish; dry.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied... too thin. Moderate-low carbonation.

Overall: Love the hop aroma and flavor, but the beer needs more body and carbonation. Easy to fix next time; I’d be happy to brew another all-Mosaic beer again.


  1. I recently made a similar beer. It ended fairly dry (1005, from memory) but it was surprisingly sweet, which I could only put down to the fruitiness of the hops and Irish Ale yeast. I found the mosaic gave mango and guava flavours. It shouldn't surprise to have some pine - mosaic is derived from simcoe.

    1. Yeah, I remember reading about it being derived from Simcoe... but having said that, it seems whenever you read about the hop, there's more talk about all the tropical berries, and very little mention of pine. Either way, I definitely get pine from my beer, and I'm not the only one who's tried it to say that!

      Glad to see you also found the Mosaic gave your beer a "hoppy sweetness", although I imagine the Irish yeast had a little something to do with that. Surprised to see a FG of 1.005 with that type of yeast!

    2. I was surprised too. Mashed around 67C. Don't know how the FG got so low. Both other beers I've brewed with the irish ale yeast jave ended up with a strange sweetness; not unpleasant, but different somehow.