Friday, 5 December 2014

Tasting : The Charlie Brownest (Brown IPA)

In what may be my fastest turn-around post ever, here are the tasting notes for my recent attempt at brewing a Brown IPA (aka hoppy American Brown Ale). I've probably picked a poor time to try to get caught up with my posts, since December is the craziest month of the year for everyone, but I'm going to at least give it a shot. When I posted about my brew day for this beer, I think I was actually already drinking it, or at least, just about to. At this point I've already brewed three beers that I haven't yet posted about, so I really have to get crackin'.

So, in a nutshell, I think I'm pretty happy with how this beer came out. Once again, I would like it to be hoppier, but I'm not TOO surprised that it comes across as a bit mellow, considering that the Nugget hops (the highest-quantity variety) were from the 2012 harvest. Not to mention that they're not the most aromatic/flavorful hop variety, at least not compared to a lot of others out there. But they DO come through, and I like the spicy, slightly-herbal qualities that they impart. When you add some additional dankness and fruitiness from the Citra and Columbus, it comes out quite nice. I like how these three varieties work together in these amounts, and in a darker beer like this.

Speaking of dark, this beer (as I worried in my original post) IS a bit too dark. In fact, you could easily mistake it for a Black IPA, I think. At 23.5 SRM, it's above the range listed in the new BJCP Guidelines for a Brown IPA (11-19), and actually is only 2.5 SRM lighter than the Black IPA I brewed earlier this year, my second Hill Farmstead James clone. Not that it makes a big deal - the beer isn't roasty or burnt-tasting at all; it's chocolately and toffee-like, which is what I was going for. But if you're concerned about keeping it lighter, I'd try cutting back on the Chocolate malt a bit till it falls into range.

Otherwise, an enjoyable Brown IPA. The next time I brew this style, I'll probably go for a lighter brown color, and use more hop varieties that will give more of a citrus/fruity aroma and flavor. I won't change the name of the beer, though; I think this is one of my better ones.

Appearance: Pours with a light tan, moderate-large sized head... very creamy and thick. Great retention. Body is dark brown, appears black at first glance. Almost fairly opaque until held to the light; some haziness from the dry-hopping.

Aroma: The dominant aroma is an earthy spiciness from what I assume to be the Nugget... a touch of fruit behind it, but firmly backed up by a caramel-sweet, toffee-like smell. All in all, balanced... the hops should probably be more forward.

Taste: Again, a caramel-like, toffee sweetness, followed by a spicy hop flavor. The fruitiness doesn't come through too much, here. Finishes moderately bitter, close to moderate-high; leans toward the sweet side.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation. Creamy. Smooth.

Overall: A good Brown IPA...but could use more hops. Or maybe, fresher hops?

1 comment:

  1. I just kegged a hoppy Brown Ale yesterday that I brewed 8 days prior, pretty typical turnaround for me on ales. I'm not sure it quite reaches IPA category, but this post is making me pretty stoked to come home and drink a pint tonight. Cheers!