Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Showdown : Suits Us Amber vs. Anderson Valley Boont Amber

When I brewed this clone recipe of Anderson Valley's Boont Amber last year, I was pretty pleased with the results. The recipe was definitely a bit odd... very little pre-flameout hopping (with equally low bitterness), with a large addition of Cascade at flameout to provide a good amount of hop aroma. I had had Boont Amber before, but that was more than two years ago, so I really couldn't say whether my clone was close to the mark or not.

Now, over a year after the clone was bottled, Boont Amber is available in Canada. Not in New Brunswick, of course, but my brother was able to bring a couple of cans with him from Calgary at the start of the summer. Luckily, I still had two bottles of my clone left over... not exactly ideal, of course, comparing the two beers when my clone is so old, but better than nothing!

Appearance: Very, very similar. The clone version seems to be just a hair darker (less so than it appears to be in the picture), and the head is a touch larger and has better retention.

Aroma: The Boont is pretty mellow... it has a nice caramel quality to it, about what you'd expect from an American Amber... not sure where those late-addition hops are, though. The clone's aroma is stronger, and the citrusy hops are very dominant (even after a year bottled, oddly enough), with the caramel far in the background.

Taste: The clone beer is way past its prime, here. While the caramel sweetness still comes through, with a bit of citrus hops behind it, it finishes sharp and a bit oxidized. The Boont, however, is quite sweet (caramel, again) and malty, with a bit of hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Both are medium-bodied; the clone has a bit more carbonation than the Boont, and some astringency in the finish.

Overall: Not really a fair test, as the clone beer has some obvious flaws in the taste that I don't remember being there months ago. Still, I'd say that the recipe I used DOES make a beer that comes out at least fairly close to the real thing.

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