April 29, 2013

Hot Carl 2.0 Tasting

I bottled this beer very early April after dry hopping with Belma. When I bottled it there wasn't a lot of flavor going on but the Belma hops added some interesting melon flavors to the beer. After a few days in the bottle a massive pellicle formed in each bottle. This weekend I decided to give it a taste and see how it's progressing.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear and yellow. The beer pours an initially fluffy white head but the head quickly disappears. Beer almost looks still but there are a few bubbles floating around in the beer.

Smell: Funky, brett aromas dominate with some melon notes. The melon notes are coming from the Belma hops but the funky, barnyard aroma lets you know there is a lot of funk coming your way with this beer. Since it's a wild beer it's hard to know if it's brett or some other wild yeast putting out those flavors/aromas. The aroma isn't overpowering and some of that might be due to the lack of head and low carbonation.

Taste: Lots of funk. The melon flavors from Belma come through slightly but the funky yeast character is driving the beer. No malt character comes through but the yeast provides enough flavor that it's an interesting beer. There's leather, horse blanket, and lots of character that's a complex mix of musty cellar and barnyard. Fortunately no fecal character in the flavor. The funk is dominant, like in Orval or Saison-Brett, but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is dry and probably would be a little thin if not for the low carbonation. For whatever reason the organisms in the beer under-produced CO2 so the beer did not carbonate well. The low carbonation actually helps the body of the beer. The beer feels dry on the tongue, which is likely a combination of hop character, the lack of residual sugars and yeast compounds. It's not quite tannin-like astringency. It has a similar mouthfeel to Orval but without the intense carbonation.

Notes: I was expecting to taste a bland beer with some dry hop notes but that's definitely not what this beer is. The Belma hops are subdued as many other people have suggested although I didn't find them quite as subdued as others have. Maybe that's my low interest in IPAs coming through. The yeast character is an interesting turn of events. I planned on drinking this beer quickly to enjoy the dry hop character but I'm more interested in the funk in this beer so I plan on slowly working through the remaining bottles to see how it matures. I'm a little disappointed about the low carbonation but it's a fair trade off for the funky flavor. I guess the wild character came through in this beer after all.

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