Tuesday, May 5, 2009

International Session Ale - First Tasting

I brewed my International Session Ale just about a month ago. It is always nice to brew a beer with a quick turn around, unlike most of the bigger/funkier beers I tend to like to brew.

The basic idea was to use some Nelson Sauvin Hops and build up some yeast for an Adambier (more on that soon). The result was a beer somewhere between an American Brown and an English Mild. Too much citrus/pine hop character for a mild, and not enough malt/bitterness for a brown.

If you can't get your hands on any Nelson Sauvin, I would go with some Glacier or Crystal, even Cascades should make for a tasty beer.

-->International Session Ale
Appearance – Deep brown when viewed in the pint glass, but it turns clear amber/ruby when held to the light. Nice creamy tan head that leaves terrific lacing and retention for such a small beer.

Smell – Hoppy, close to something American like cascades, but not quite the same. The hops come across as pine with some fruit, but not really citrusy. I get hints of the Nelson Sauvin “white wine” character, but that may just be the power of suggestion. There is a decent dry toasty malt background (almost like a rice cake), with some light coffee notes as well.

Taste – Good interplay between the bright hop bitterness and the firm dark maltiness. The hop bitterness is very clean and crisp, and the hop flavor is similar to what was in the aroma. The malt again reminds me of rice cakes, toasty, but dry instead of rich like many beers. I would have liked the beer to have a touch more sweetness to back up the malt, but it is not unbalanced as is.

Mouthfeel – It feels a bit thin, but this is only a 4.6% ABV beer, still it could use a touch more body. I get a hint of rough tannins on my tongue, but that may be the result of the 10% old ale I drank before this (I haven't experienced tannins before with this beer). The carbonation is cask like, mellow and almost creamy.

Drinkability & Notes – A pretty solid session ale, very easy to drink. It could use a bit more sweetness (I should have taken the higher fermentability from a thin mash into account). It ended up at 78% apparent attenuation, I would have liked to see it in the low 70s.


hopshead said...

It sounds good. Would you share your recipe?

Unknown said...

I linked to the recipe right at the start of the post (click on International Session Ale).