It is a great thing to experience something new in the world of beer, and have to say last night I had one of those moments when Stass and I had our taste off with Jarrod and Harriet for this little challenge.
It is one thing to taste off two similar styled beers, and even more interesting if you are tasting off your own attempt with commercially developed brews (eg, choc stouts). However, when you have a taste off and both teams of brewers are together, there is an amazing depth and understanding you can achieve, as each team knows what they have done to achieve what they have, and the nuances of difference in the tasting can be understood better from a process point of view. This was the experience I had last night, and while I was pretty tired (and had a few beers before), I am really excited with what came from it.
OK, it was meant to be a bit of a battle between us, but seeing the differences we saw in each brew, we have to say that we each did well making what we ended with. Stass and mine has come of age in the bottle, so the carbonation has died a bit to allow the texture through better, and the raspberry flavour is probably at its best before it starts to sour off and water the beer a bit. There is not much choc flavour to it until it starts to warm up a bit, and raspberry dominates the smell as well. As for Jarrod and Harriet's, the chocolate smell is quite strong cold and there is little head. The raspberry is quite subtle and needs warming before it come through. the body is quite light (they made a bigger batch with more water) and carbonation comes through in the mouth almost like a spritz, showing it is still a little young I guess. It needs a couple of weeks for carbonation to go through the beer, then will be interesting to see how it comes through after that.
So, it has been great to see the differences in these niche beers and to understand how they have come about through comparison of process. Funnily enough, both seem to be easy drinking enough to enjoy even in the warm temps we are having at the moment, but maybe a step towards summer beers should be looked at for the next batch. too bad it won't be ready for Australia Day. Still, Stass has so much home brew at his place, it could become a lucky dip event of beers we have brewed over the past 18 months (or so?).
Big Thanks to Harriet and Jarrod for going along with the challenge, and is great for Harriet to be able to say that the first beer she ever brewed turned out great, and was a choc raspberry stout. I don't think many people can say that.