Strange-steve's Homebrew Reviews

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strange-steve

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... oh by the way would you be surprised if I said I used metabisufite in the keg? It seems to have helped the oxidation in your bottle. Anything stick out when you were tasting?
That's interesting, I dosed my last IPA with metabisulphite and I had convinced myself that I could taste it as a harsh gypsum-like flavour, but I certainly didn't notice that in yours. How much SMBS did you use? Also there were no signs of oxidation, the colour was nice and bright (lighter than it looks in my pic) and didn't seem to be suffering from hop fade.
 
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That's interesting, I dosed my last IPA with metabisulphite and I had convinced myself that I could taste it as a harsh gypsum-like flavour, but I certainly didn't notice that in yours. How much SMBS did you use? Also there were no signs of oxidation, the colour was nice and bright (lighter than it looks in my pic) and didn't seem to be suffering from hop fade.
A very small amount I think half a tablet so about 0.3g in 19l of beer I believe it was. That also had about 400g of whirlpool and dry hops.
 

strange-steve

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A very small amount I think half a tablet so about 0.3g in 19l of beer I believe it was. That also had about 400g of whirlpool and dry hops.
Yeah I used a full tablet in 20L so maybe that's too much. Also that's a hell of a hop bill, certainly explains the intense aroma!
 

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Tonight's beer is a Passionfruit Cerveza which sounds very interesting, kindly sent by @Markk...

Aroma
Very clean and subtle but a nice soft, spicy hop aroma, with an earthy, slightly nutty aroma.

Appearance
Pale straw colour with good clarity, and really good head retention. Very pretty beer.

Flavour
Again a slight nutty, grainy flavour initially, but otherwise really very clean. A gentle herbal hop flavour with a crisp, clean, prominent bitterness in the finish with just the merest it of malt sweetness.

Overall Impression
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this beer, whether it was a fruit infused beer or maybe packed with tropical hops to deliver the passionfruit flavour, and I'm not really sure what cerveza is either, but presumably a Mexican style lager? And after drinking it I'm honestly still not sure, and I had actually wondered if it had perhaps been mislabelled. I'm not picking up any fruitiness at all and if I was to try to classify this I would have guessed a German pils. It has the dominating hop bitterness and lovely grainy malt background in support. I'm curious about what base malt you used because it has an interesting nuttiness to it that is very pleasant. Actually this was really lovely and went down incredibly easily regardless of what it was intended to be. It just drank like a good lager, right up my street and I appreciated the lower carbonation level, perfect for me. Thanks very much for sending this mate, really enjoyed it :hat:
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Thanks very much for your feedback Steve. I think the main issue here is that I named this beer before I’d actually tasted it. Although I have been brewing AG for almost a year now, this was my first ever SMaSH and was simply Pilsner malt and Galaxy hops. It was the first time I’d used Galaxy hops and since they are supposed to give a Passionfruit aroma and flavour and Cerveza is just Spanish for beer I gave it that misleading name. The recipe is here: Mark K’s Brewdays

As it was, I too didn’t get any passionfruit or any other tropical flavours, possibly as the hop amounts were very conservative, but I do think it turned out to be a very nice lager which I will definitely make again, but name it something different 😂
 

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Thanks very much for your feedback Steve. I think the main issue here is that I named this beer before I’d actually tasted it. Although I have been brewing AG for almost a year now, this was my first ever SMaSH and was simply Pilsner malt and Galaxy hops. It was the first time I’d used Galaxy hops and since they are supposed to give a Passionfruit aroma and flavour and Cerveza is just Spanish for beer I gave it that misleading name. The recipe is here: Mark K’s Brewdays

As it was, I too didn’t get any passionfruit or any other tropical flavours, possibly as the hop amounts were very conservative, but I do think it turned out to be a very nice lager which I will definitely make again, but name it something different 😂
Actually the first time I made a galaxy smash it had an amazing fruity aroma for about 5 days after bottling and then it faded to nothing very quickly. What brand of pilsner malt did you use out of curiosity?
 

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Tonight's beer is the second of @Markk's brews which is simply titled Summit Pale Ale...

Aroma
Subtle herbal, earthy, and lightly fruity hop aroma with hints of orange and lemon, and a really nice bready malt aroma coming through. Smells like a good English golden ale.

Appearance
A lovely gold colour, just a bit of hop haze with a thin white head which lasted really well.

Flavour
An unusual herby, spicy, floral hop flavour is dominant up front, interesting notes of lemon and black pepper, and a lovely nutty base malt flavour which balances out the flavour nicely (is this Crisp malt again?) Well judged bitterness leaves a clean and bright finish.

Overall Impression
On the face of it this drinks a lot like a golden ale, it is very drinkable indeed, hop led but not one-dimensional and plenty of supporting malt flavours to fill it out, all of which is very enjoyable. However on closer inspection there's definitely something more interesting about this beer. Presumably the "summit" in the name refers to summit hops which I have never used or knowingly tasted. I'm guessing that's what's giving that intriguing peppery/lemon impression that reminds me somewhat of a saison yeast character, although much more subtle here (I wonder what a summit saison would be like 🤔). It reminds me also that my hop knowledge is very limited and that something as simple as using a different hop can add an interesting and different dimension to a standard style. I really enjoyed this beer mate, it went down an absolute treat so thank you for sending it :hat:
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Thanks Steve. I‘m glad you enjoyed that and really appreciate your detailed feedback. I think the one I sent you was what I made using the last of my Summit hops along with some Mandarina Bavaria. I thought the flavours of the Mandarina would compliment the Summit and was really pleased with how this tuned out. This was the first brew I wrote about in my brewday thread here: Mark K’s Brewdays
Yes, crisp malt again. This was 1kg of their MO and 4kg of their Clear Choice.
🍻
 

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Tonight's beer is something very interesting and ambitious from @BeerCat, a Rodenbach Clone. I love a Rodenbach so can't wait to try this...

Aroma
Earthy brett funk, some acidic sharpness leaning towards acetic, fruity esters with hints of acetate but not unpleasant. Complex and intriguing.

Appearance
A beautiful deep red colour, excellent clarity with a small white head, decent retention.

Flavour
A smooth, fruity acidity initially of sharp raspberries and lemon juice, very slight vinegar, which fades to leave a complex array of flavours, from earthy brett with quite a subtle funk, to a lightly toasty, breadcrusty and doughy malt flavours, some spicy/aromatic notes, and amazingly the clean, fresh, herby noble hop flavour is definitely still present somehow.

Overall Impression
It's been a long time since I've had the Rodenbach Classic, but the Grand Cru is one of my favourite beers and for me it's the quintessential Flanders Red, so that's what I'm going to compare to (although technically this might be more "vintage" as it's presumably unblended). The impression I always get from the Grand Cru is sweet balsamic vinegar with intensely fruity berries and it's just wonderful, so you have big shoes to fill trying to clone it. I think you've done a good job and made a really nice beer, but it doesn't quite have the level of sourness or the deep fruity flavours that you get in Rodenbach. I can't really offer any constructive feedback on how to achieve that intense depth of flavour, because I don't know how they do it! That's all I'll say with regards to comparison, because as a standalone beer this is very well made without any noticeable defects. The hint of ethyl acetate in the aroma doesn't come through much in the flavour, it's subtle enough to come across as fruitiness which is quite pleasant. The acetic flavour is also low enough that it doesn't dominate the palate, again it is rather nice and actually I'd even welcome a little more to be honest. There's a complexity of flavour but it's far from muddy, everything is crisp and nicely defined which in itself is an achievement. I really enjoyed sampling this and if my Flanders Red turns out as well I'll be happy. Thanks for sending this mate :hat:
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An early start this afternoon with another of my favourite styles, a Tripel courtesy of @Hazelwood Brewery (please excuse the poncey glass)...

Aroma
Very fruity, lots of banana up front, a gentle peppery spice, and the distinctive bubblegum aroma. Very lovely indeed.

Appearance
A nice golden yellow colour (nothing like how it looks in he pic below actually), hazy with a decent fluffy white head.

Flavour
Initially a lovely crisp spiciness which lingers on the palate right through to the finish, the fruity/bubblegum isn't quite as prominent as expected from the aroma but still plenty of yeasty esters, a bit of lemon in there. A soft, grainy malt flavour which adds an interesting complexity. Perhaps a touch of diacetyl, finishes with a slickness on the palate. Otherwise the finish is surprisingly clean and light. Barely noticeable alcohol flavour.

Overall Impression
First impression is that this is a lovely beer, and despite being 8%+ it went down beautifully, the alcohol is very well hidden and I could happily get through a few of these of an afternoon. As far as "pleasantness to drink" goes this is right up there for me. If I'm being critical though (and HB is a great brewer so I'm sure he won't mind) then style-wise there could be a couple of tweaks. The aroma was on point, exactly what I want from a tripel, the flavour perhaps had a slightly more prominent maltiness than I'd expect which lent a sort of bready hefeweizen quality to it. I'm not sure if this is down to the recipe or the water or what, but also the mouthfeel was a tad more full than I'd expect which in turn meant the finish wasn't quite dry enough for the style. Those are only minor things that might knock it a couple of points in a BJCP competition and really aren't important to me because I loved this beer. The more I drank the more I enjoyed it and I was very disappointed when it was finished. Thanks again for another delicious beer :hat:
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Thanks for the review Steve. I agree it’s a little sweet for the style, but I still enjoyed it! 😉 I used a stepped mash and I think I need to shift the envelope down a little.

I didn’t pick up your observation about the malt though so I’ll focus a little more on that when I next pour a glass (soon, now you’ve put the idea in my head!). This could be the grain bill or the water profile that needs a tweak.

I’m glad you enjoyed it.
 

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Today's beer is a pilsner kindly sent by @Leon103...

Aroma
A sweet and pleasant graininess, the hop aroma is herby and earthy, a hint of DMS on the nose but personally I don't mind that in a lager.

Appearance
Very pale straw colour, a little haze (could be because I served it a touch cold), poured with a great head which lasted very well.

Flavour
Very hop led up front with an assertive spicy/woody/earthy flavour and rather prominent but smooth bitterness. Otherwise very crisp, clean, and refreshing. The finish is dry which leaves a very pleasant thirst-quenching effect. The light grainy malt comes through right at the end.

Overall Impression
Getting a light lager right is a tough thing, because there has to be a good balance of what are often relatively subtle flavours. For my taste I think the hop flavour has rather dominated a bit which masks the beautiful bready pils malt flavour that we all know and love. I could be way off here, but to me this drinks more like a pale ale than a pilsner and I'm wondering if this is maybe a pseudo-lager, and I'm also curious about your hop choice. I'm not getting the delicate, floral, noble hop flavour that's typical of the style and I'm wondering if that's down to a large 60 min addition of a low AA hop, or if maybe you've used something less traditional (I'm getting an "English" hop impression), or something else entirely? Anyway these were just my general wonderings as I drank it, and it went down really nicely. I found it very easy to drink, the sort of beer that would be very welcome on a summer day, and even though it's about as far from a summer day as it's possible to get I still enjoyed it, so thanks for sending this mate :hat:
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Today's beer is a pilsner kindly sent by @Leon103...

Aroma
A sweet and pleasant graininess, the hop aroma is herby and earthy, a hint of DMS on the nose but personally I don't mind that in a lager.

Appearance
Very pale straw colour, a little haze (could be because I served it a touch cold), poured with a great head which lasted very well.

Flavour
Very hop led up front with an assertive spicy/woody/earthy flavour and rather prominent but smooth bitterness. Otherwise very crisp, clean, and refreshing. The finish is dry which leaves a very pleasant thirst-quenching effect. The light grainy malt comes through right at the end.

Overall Impression
Getting a light lager right is a tough thing, because there has to be a good balance of what are often relatively subtle flavours. For my taste I think the hop flavour has rather dominated a bit which masks the beautiful bready pils malt flavour that we all know and love. I could be way off here, but to me this drinks more like a pale ale than a pilsner and I'm wondering if this is maybe a pseudo-lager, and I'm also curious about your hop choice. I'm not getting the delicate, floral, noble hop flavour that's typical of the style and I'm wondering if that's down to a large 60 min addition of a low AA hop, or if maybe you've used something less traditional (I'm getting an "English" hop impression), or something else entirely? Anyway these were just my general wonderings as I drank it, and it went down really nicely. I found it very easy to drink, the sort of beer that would be very welcome on a summer day, and even though it's about as far from a summer day as it's possible to get I still enjoyed it, so thanks for sending this mate :hat:
LZsfoRy.jpg

Thanks Steve for taking time to review. For this version I moved away from the noble hops and used Centennial, mainly to use some up. At 7.00% AA, you were right, a larger than normal bittering addition to bring up the IBUS. I hadn't picked out the DMS but will go looking for it when I next have one. I haven't tried the bottle version and luckily this is the last of my bottle conditioned beers after investing in a counter flow filler.

I think I will go back to noble hops in the future.
 

strange-steve

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Thanks Steve for taking time to review. For this version I moved away from the noble hops and used Centennial, mainly to use some up. At 7.00% AA, you were right, a larger than normal bittering addition to bring up the IBUS. I hadn't picked out the DMS but will go looking for it when I next have one. I haven't tried the bottle version and luckily this is the last of my bottle conditioned beers after investing in a counter flow filler.

I think I will go back to noble hops in the future.
That's interesting, thanks for the further info. I've often seen DMS described as a creamed corn aroma but I have no clue what that's like, to me it's like tomato soup or ketchup which sounds terrible but it's not too bad in a lager actually.
 

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That's interesting, thanks for the further info. I've often seen DMS described as a creamed corn aroma but I have no clue what that's like, to me it's like tomato soup or ketchup which sounds terrible but it's not too bad in a lager actually.
This is interesting to me as my current lager has a touch of what I assumed was diacetyl but to my taste it's less buttery and more, almost ice creamy flavour. It thankfully seems to be fading as it ages, but how does one get and therefore avoid, DMS?
 

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Today's beer is a delightful sounding Brett Saison courtesy of @SteveH...

Aroma
Intensely fruity with a noseful of pineapple initially along with some over-ripe orange, an interesting floral/aromatic lemon zest aroma, noticeable but not overly prominent brett funk.

Appearance
A light gold/orange colour, plenty of fizz so poured with a big head but it dissipated quickly.

Flavour
Deep fruitiness, not the bright citrus as expected from the aroma but more of a ripe stone fruit flavour. The typical dry, leathery brett flavours are more subtle, but adds a lovely complexity here. A pleasant boiled sweet flavour comes through along with a light spicy/aromatic quality, before a crisp and refreshing dry finish.

Overall Impression
First of all, this was delicious. On the first sip I was struck by the lightness on the palate; not watery, but dry and crisp like you get from champagne. That's also not to say it's light in flavour, because there's a lot going on here but everything just works in harmony to create an exceptionally refreshing beer, which is all the more impressive considering this is almost 7% abv. An odd comparison that came to my mind was that of gin and tonic, which I think came from the spicy/aromatic quality combined with a bone dry finish, and I really enjoyed that. I'm curious about the fermentation here, it doesn't have the big barnyard funk that is typical of a brett B secondary fermentation (well it was more subtle at least). I'm wondering if this was maybe brett C, a blend, or maybe if the brett was added early which might account for the more fruity flavours? Whatever you did though I think this was a winner and I can't offer any suggestions for improvement. Thanks for sending this mate :hat:
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