May 19, 2013

Ugli Ass American Wheat tasting

This American wheat beer went into the kettle 28 days prior to tasting it. It's still a few days off of being properly carbonated but I had to mow the lawn for the first time this year and I thought that was a perfect time to break out a light beer. Clocking in at 3.5% ABV I definitely had no reason to fear getting slizzard while mowing. I'm a little disappointed this beer suffered low efficiency (I am fairly certain my grain mill plates had drifted too far apart, a problem since fixed) but this beer packs a lot of flavor so there's no harm.

Appearance: Typical wheat beer color, slightly lighter than copper. There's slight haze from the wheat. The head is icy white and fluffy, creating excellent lacing on the beer. It's actually a little too foamy because it needs a few extra days to carbonate appropriately so that should be a temporary problem.

Smell: The aroma is interesting. There's lots of lemon, lime and orange notes from the citrus peel. Hints of melon come through from the Belma hops. There's also hints of bread, toast and wheat from the grain. There's also a strange citrus note, presumably from the ugli fruit, that isn't foul but also isn't completely inviting. It's not so strange or uninviting that you need to hold your nose to drink the beer but it isn't an aroma I wish I smelled in beer all the time. Maybe like a 4 out of 10 on a desired beer aroma scale. Fortunately, none of that shows up in the flavor.

Taste: Wowz. The citrus and Belma hop mellon character forms an almost overwhelming flavor. The wheat and barley flavors come through well but the fruit flavors are right on the cusp of being too much. I don't know if I could drink this beer all night because the citrus and mellon flavor is very assertive, to the point where it could wear on your taste buds. It is an excellent flavor, however. It reminds me of a fruit juice I used to drink as a kid in the 1980s called Five Alive. For those of you who never experienced the joy of Five Alive, it was a blend of orange, lime, tangerine, lemon and grapefruit. Tasting that beer took me back to those hot summer days as a kid playing in the street. The yeast character is clean and non-existent, letting the grain and fruit flavors work unimpeded.

Mouthfeel: There's a surprising amount of body in the beer for being only 3.5% ABV. It's light and goes down easily but it isn't watery, mostly due to the wheat. It lacked a little spritz today but this is another issue I expect will resolve itself after another few days of carbonation.

Notes: Overall I am really happy with this beer. I am disappointed about the efficiency issue, although it isn't hurting this beer. I'd definitely rebrew it although I'd be interested to try different variants with a lesser amount of citrus peel to dial back some of the citrus notes and maybe blend in a hop with more kick, like cascade, to give it just a little more pop in the flavor. Those belma hops are very gentle, although there's actually a lot more flavor than people think, and a little more aggressive hop could make it pop. In spite of what I might play with in the future, this beer is one of my favorites of the year and I thoroughly expect that my wife and I will slurp this beer down in a hurry.


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