Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wigram Harvard Honey Ale (6%)

Keeping with the theme of honey from the last honey beer I had from my stash, I decided to try out this New Zealand attempt.

The translucent copper body holds a slight veil of head. The honey has a much better aroma in this than the previous honey beer I had. With a lighter malt, it mixes better with the honey, and without a sense of artificial sweetness on the nose, I am definitely more tempted to try this one. The first thing I really notice with this beer is the texture. It almost coats the tongue like honey, and the sensation of it rolling over the palate is quite enjoyable. Of course, the honey dominates in flavour, and the malt seems to simply be a vehicle for the honey in the beer. There is one thing that I think honey in general takes away from beer. All the honey beers I have tasted or attempted to brew have had a taste like there has been too much dextrose or carbonation sugar used, leaving a zing across the tongue and a sort of residual sweetness that doesn't smell of taste like honey, but must be a by-product of the process of brewing with honey. It does take away slightly from the beer to have this high noted aspect that does leave a little bit in back palate/aftertaste, but I guess it is only through having such a decent version of a honey beer, I can see this must just be something that is common with many honey beers. Luckily though, this aspect does not linger long. I guess it is the same thing that turned the honey porter into something that taste like cola. Still, this is probably one of the better honey beers I have had, so well worth a try.

A few weeks ago, I noted finding a beer style called sahti, and have been lucky enough to find some more bottles of it around. Therefore, I had a chance to taste it a week ago. The juniper berries do actually come through quite a bit, but like these honey beers, the honey in it dominates quite a bit. This doinates brings with it a slight medicinal aspect which I think is just a bigger sign of the aspect I have found in most honey beers, but by far the biggest thing in this beer is the alcohol, at a staggering 11.3%. The alcohol doesn't sting, but then doesn't quite have the warming aspect (in taste anyway). Mind you, it doesn't take long for the bodily effects of the alcohol to start coming through. I have to say I was pretty impressed overall.

After my recent taste of the Mountain Goat Coffee IPA, I did a couple of days work this week doing a bottling run of this beer, and have to say it does have a lot more coffee sense the fresher it is. The gang did leave the beer to sit on the beans for a bit longer, and the body of the beer has definitely improved through the process. The hop aspect is slightly diminished through this, but with good carbonation in the bottle, the body of the beer really holds up well. Mind you, I had this beer after two days of hard work bottling the stuff, so my enjoyment of seeing it was all over may have slightly affected my experience (for the better). I also took in a bottle of our Mulberry Molasses Beer for the boys to try, and am happy to say they were pretty positive, and got us talking about fruit beers in general. It is quite sessionable and the fruit sort of fits between raspberry and blackberry in the beer, bringing a good balance of sweet and tartness. I noticed there was a little more acidity in it that may come from age, and something I wasn't getting so much from the keg. I look forward to us trying it again, and remembering what the the recipe actually is...

Well, I missed out on brewing last weekend, but hoping to make up for it this weekend to put on a brew that has been rolling around our heads for a little while. Am wondering if it is a good thing to come up with the name for a beer and then trying to build a recipe around that. Well, looks like we will find out soon.

But before that, have found Biero has a black beer friday this week, so looking forward to a situation similar to the the Font of Darkness I had recently at the Wheaty. Let's see what I can remember from it to put up here.



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