Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sorachi Ace Lime Cherry Flanders Red

Hop Lime TeaThe Iron Mug competition was started last year as a inter-club event between the DC Homebrewers and the Wort Hogs of Northern Virginia.  The basic concept was borrowed from Iron Chef; each brewer is given secret ingredient(s) and a limited amount of time in which to brew a beer.  Beers are judged by an celebrity panel (local brewers and the like) to see whose brewed stuff is the good stuff.  The scoring is done based on general taste/appearance, and also on how creatively each beer showcases the chosen ingredients.

Our "chairman" is Derek, the owner of My LHBS homebrew store in Falls Church, VA.  This year he the secret ingredients he selected were dried lime peel and Sorachi Ace hops (appropriately a Japanese variety, with prominent lemon notes).  The first year, which I didn't enter, the ingredients were woodruff and white wine concentrate.  

Purging to get rid of the oxygen before carbonating.The obvious choice for lemon and lime flavors is something light and summery like a saison or a wheat beer, but I wanted to have a bit more fun.  I took one ounce of the hops and 1 tbls of the lime peel and mixed them with 12 oz of ~180 degree water in my coffee press.  After 5 minutes I slowly depressed the plunger and poured 5 tbls of the liquid into a 2 liter soda bottle.  To this extract I added four bottles of my sour cherry Flanders Red that was still only partially carbonated.  After tasting the mixture I added another 5 tbls of the hop/lime extract to bring up the citrus flavors a bit more.

I used my carbonator cap to add a bit of extra carbonation to the beer before finally pouring the beer slowly into four clean/chilled/wet bottles. Not sure if it will be enough for me to get my name on the Iron Mug, but hopefully one of the DC Homebrewers is able to avenge our loss in the inaugural year. 

Cherry Lime Ricky

Not the most attractive beer I've made for sure.Appearance – Murky is the only way to describe this one. I'm blaming the hop/lime tea, which I added just two days ago.  The head pours big and bubbly, but quickly sinks to nothing.  The appearance reminds me of a poorly made American red.

Smell – Despite the added hops and lime the cherries are still the first thing I get out of the aroma. There is a slight herbal-citrus hop edge, but they are secondary notes. As it warms I get a slight whiff of vinegar, nice in a Flanders red.

Taste – Potent tongue coating sourness, that luckily doesn't come off as sharp or harsh. The cherry flavor from the aroma carries through in the flavor along with some subtle citrus. There is a toastiness that I get in the plain version of this beer as well.  I like it, but I can see many non-sour heads complaining about just how acidic it is.

Mouthfeel – With such a sour beer the moderate carbonation is all that's needed.  The acidity dominates the mouthfeel making it hard to tell how full the body is, but it certainly isn't too thin.

Drinkability & Notes – I like it, but it doesn't have nearly the same great combination of hops and sourness that the dry hopped Flanders Red did. I'm not sure if the variety or the method (hop tea vs. bottle hops) is to blame.

Update: Despite the popularity of this beer with the judges it didn't have enough hop or lime character to advance.


Seanywonton said...

The name sort of reminds me of a rocket pop, remember those things? Frozen popsickles with lemon/ lime, cherry, and some sort of "blue" flavor. In Red White and Blue of course.

Dustin said...

Mmm, Cherry Limeade beer. Only, not. But that IS the first thing I thought of when I saw the title. It's about 5x more creative than I would have been in any case.

I'm sure a lot of people will go wheat with this one, but I initially thought of Short's Key Lime Pie beer.

Beer Made Clear said...

VERY curious to see where folks go with this one. I'm guessing NOBODY thought of French Press, so props there Mike. Won't be able to make it to the homebrewers meeting tomorrow, please tell me you're not bringing any there? I take it w/4 bottles this is a very limited "one off." If not, save me one! Cheers,


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I am bringing 3 bottles, but that is just my entry for the competition. If the beer does well I’ll recreate it and bring some to a future meeting. I’ll certainly bring the base cherry Flanders Red when it carbonates fully.

I’m chilling down a few bottles of my hefeweizen and I’ll pull a growler of its sister, the hopped up hefeweizen to take with me tonight.

Matt said...

Do you think you could do a raspberry lime ricky sour beer? Your idea has intrigued me but I was thinking of doing a sour beer then racking it onto raspberries. When would you add the lime though? Would you rack it on some lime after the raspberries or at the same time?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Raspberry lime would certainly work in a sour beer. I think I would just go with fresh lime zest (maybe 4-5 limes worth?). You could add the zest to the fermenter a couple weeks before bottling. You could also do a vodka extraction, I've done that with lemon zest to add to a pasta sauce with good results and add to taste at bottling.