It is interesting to drink two glasses of beer side-by-side made from wort separated 18 months ago (recipe post). In addition to the recipe differences between these two Adam-variants (maple syrup and bourbon vs. dark candi syrup and calvados) the aging and serving were also different. I recently reconnected the maple/bourbon half (tasting) to the stout/nitro tap now that the weather has cooled off. The candi/calvados half has been aged at cellar temperature in bottles. The maple half is cleaner, with less dark fruit. Its ethanol is also more up front, although it is also a somewhat stronger beer.
HoTD Matt - Inspired
Smell – Interesting blend of dark fruit and earthy smoke. Much less direct than the maple-bourbon. The smoke melds in with dried fruit, caramel, and aged maltiness.
Appearance – Dark russet, amber crema. Head falls relatively quickly. Good clarity when held at an angle to the light.
Taste – Sticky, reads sweeter than the maple (less simple sugar and liquor to dilute the malt). Saturated with dark fruit, dates especially. The malt is rich, caramel and cocoa powder. No apple specifically, but a nice baked fruitiness. Finishes pleasant campfire singe.
Mouthfeel – Full, but the medium carbonation is a bit disruptive, more than I’d prefer.
Drinkability & Notes – Warmer aging and lower alcohol have resulted in a beer that has aged faster and perhaps peaked younger. The smoke, intense malt, and fruit-brandy blend into a unique combination I haven’t tasted before. This beer is based on a German style as brewed by an American brewery with Scottish yeast and malt, infused with Belgian candi syrup and French apple brandy... a real mutt!
Changes for Next Time – Clean up my bottling process… given that approximately one in three bottles have picked up a mild Brett character. Otherwise the "clean" bottles are what I wanted them to be! Still haven't had the beer that inspired it, Hair of the Dog's Matt, so can't judge how close I came.
Bonus Quick Tasting: Hoppy Halloween Adam
Before flying back to DC after a couple days in Fargo, ND for Hoppy Halloween 2015, I stopped by a brew day a few local homebrewers were having at Eric Sanders' house. They were brewing a 20 gallon batch of Adambier, so I brought along the last bottles of my original and "authentic" batches. When I bumped Tom Roan (the guy who had coordinated the whole thing) at NHC in Baltimore, he handed me a couple bottles of that batch (plus one of his delicious wheat wine)! Finally getting around to drinking one now that a rich smoky malty beer sounds good!
The results are really pleasant, good balance of intense-malt and apparent smoke. Dark fruit is more subdued than mine. The result is somewhere between my more and less authentic batches. Interested to try a sample of the version they fermented with Roeselare some day!
Boil Time: 90 min
70.1 lbs. Munich Malt
7.5 lbs. Dark Munich Malt
7.5 lbs. Smoked (Bamberg)
7.5 lbs. Torrefied Wheat
3.0 lbs. Thomas Fawcett Pale Chocolate
1.5 lbs. Weyermann Carafa Special III
1.5 lbs. Weyermann Caramunich II
1.5 lbs. Dark Crystal
Magnum Pellet to 42.0 IBU - First Wort
Wyeast German Ale 1007