Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tasting : Fiery Planet (Modern Times Blazing World clone)

I've brewed 17 beers so far this year, and I'm happy to say that I've been lucky enough to have been pretty pleased with how most of them have come out. They haven't been perfect, of course, but a lot of them have been quite tasty, and there hasn't been any major screw-ups yet (knock wood). But this beer - my clone attempt of Modern Times Blazing World, a hoppy Amber - is the first beer where my first smell and pour from the tap made me think: YES.

This was one of those brews where I knew before packaging that it was going to be good; heck, I could tell before dry-hopping it. When I took a gravity sample, I had a small taste as I always do... and it was pretty darn fantastic. I figured adding the hefty dry-hop of Mosaic, Nelson and Simcoe certainly wasn't going to hurt it. And as suspected, of course it only made it better!

As you'd expect from these hop varieties, the beer has a huge tropical nose to it, with a nice amount of dank hop character as well. And the flavor is pretty fantastic... once the beer warms up a bit, you get this great combination of caramel malt sweetness, tropical and citrus fruit, dankness... it's pretty awesome. Moderate bitterness in the finish, the beer doesn't have a harshness to it at all, which I was worried about considering the high calculated IBUs from the recipe.

I mentioned in the brew post that I've actually had the commercial version of this beer. I really liked it, but not as much as this homebrew clone. I'm certainly not saying I'm a better brewer than anyone at Modern Times; I just think this recipe works really well on a homebrew level. When you compare it to the one linked to from the Modern Times website, this one has noticeably more hops in the flameout and dry-hop addition, so that makes sense. If you're at home thinking of brewing this beer, I encourage you to use the one developed by the Mad Fermentationist.

That's two for two with Modern Times recipes for me (the Fortunate Islands clone, a hoppy Wheat, was another favorite homebrew of mine). I'm not sure if I'll attempt their other two flagships, but it's possible... their Black House, an Oatmeal Coffee Stout, is pretty fantastic. Either way, I'm really happy with this Amber recipe, and encourage anyone who can get their hands on these hops to give it a try. Now.

Appearance: Poured with a moderate-sized, creamy, off-white head that lasts for a while before fading to 1/2-finger. Body is a dark-red color, almost brown, and very hazy - I’m pretty sure that’s my fault, as I'm starting to think I forgot to add the Irish Moss tablet during the boil.

Aroma: Beautiful aroma: huge on tropical fruit, with a complimenting malt character. Not roasty, but caramel sweetness without being overpowering. Some nice dankness in the hops as well.

Taste: The malt sweetness (caramel character) is there at first, but the strong tropical fruit from the hops comes through immediately after, with a bit of pine and dank hop character as well. Finishes nicely balanced between sweet and dry, with a moderate hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Very creamy.

Overall: Fantastic beer. Up there with my Maine Beer Co. Zoe clone for hoppy Ambers that I’ve brewed. Delicious.


  1. I'm also brewing this at the moment (currently sitting with the dry hops). mine unfortunately crapped out at 1.020, (from 1.069) have swirled the fermenter and bumped up the temp slightly to try and rouse the yeast and finish off the last bit of ferment. I noticed mine is incredibly dark amber/brown - how does this compare with the actual commercial beer? (we don't often get to see it here in NZ).

    1. It's pretty dark, from what I remember. Check out Untappd and search for it, there's plenty of pictures that beer drinkers have snapped.

      Mind you, I find my beers always look darker in the fermentor, compared to when a much smaller volume is poured into a glass. Even the glass style can make the color look different!

    2. Just a little follow up to my reply - my local bar (Brother's Beer) just received some kegs and a shipment of cans. I bought blazing world and fortunate islands, and while there sampled BW off the tap and to my amazement - its lager like yellow/gold! what the hell. Even the can has the change in recipe to using Pale/Munich and midnight wheat opposed to the caraffa and roasted barley that we brewed! I love the taste of that original recipe especially with the dark amber colour! what would you do to improve yours for a rebrew?

    3. Wow, really? That's really odd. Even if the recipe was changed, with Midnight Wheat it shouldn't be yellow/gold... it doesn't take much MW to change the color of a beer!

      To be honest, I don't think there's much I WOULD change with the homebrew recipe. It's pretty fantastic. It's also been a little while since I had it; I wouldn't mind trying it with a different yeast though. Maybe Wyeast London Ale III?