Friday, August 14, 2009

Bavarian Hefeweizen Review

Appearance - A pale golden color, nice and hazy, a thick rich rocky white head that lingers slowly dissipating to moderate lacing

Aroma - Lots of banana, very spicy but not like clove in the slightest way, much as you would expect of a hefeweizen, although there is a strong fruity presence

Taste - As the first sip hits your palate there is a nice spicy phenolic presence that again is nothing like clove, this gives way to stong banana finish. There is a very pleasant fruitiness that is noticeable throughout the beer. A nice bready maltiness rounds out the flavor, you gotta love a tripple decocted hefe!! This beers been in the keg awhile so a majority of the yeast has flocc'd, so there is very minimal contribution to the flavor from the yeast, which is a bit of a dissappointment, earlier in this beers life it had a substantial yeast presence.

Mouthfeel - Very light, but has an incrediably creamy body to it, again I attribute this to the tripple decoctions and a heavy hand with wheat. Carbonation is a bit light for a hefe, but I really like it this way, it allows the phenols/esters to really shine and I think the body is more creamy because of it.

Drinkability - A good hefe, although if you were shooting for a weihenstephaner hefe your no where near your goal. I really like what Wyeast 3638 does in a hefe, Im not the biggest fan of hefe's in general and the additional fruitiness that you get from 3638 really makes the beer much more drinkable for me.

Notes/Thoughts - I really enjoy this beer, Ive used 3638 quite a few times now and this is the first time that its been very spicy upfront. Im not sure why I got that in this beer, I fermented fairly cool as Ive always done. In no way is this spice unwanted though. The spice really adds an additional dimension to the beer and makes it much more interesting.
Monday, August 10, 2009

Poll Results - What Other Types of Fermentation Activities are You Involved In?

So somehow I managed 28 votes in my first poll, something Im quite happy about. There are quite a few things that I find quite interesting in the poll though, maybe I could get some who voted to comment?

1. Only 75% who voted brew beer!
2. 17% Ferment something other than was listed, what may this be??
3. 39% Make cheese, that's really cool, I didnt realize this was as common as that
4. 32% Make Kombucha, that surprised me, I didnt think the drink was all that well known
5. It looks like the baker and brewer are pretty close as they should be, with 64% baking bread

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vanilla Cream Soda Review

Ive been a bit lazy lately, I was planning on reviewing this a few days after I made it. At any rate here's my experiences with my first from scratch soda recipe

Appearance - A dark opaque brown, much darker than I anticipated, I didn't think my homemade vanilla extract would add that much color. Moderate tan head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving a thin layer around the edges.

Aroma - Vanilla and a bit of honey, has a bit of a bite to it when you inhale from the glass, kind of like when you get your nose too close to a freshly poured coke

Taste - Lots of vanilla. Honey is very apparent, albeit a bit strong. The honey flavor really accentuates the creamy flavor, but I think in the future I would use about half as much as I did, or a less powerfully flavored honey. Molasses flavor isn't very apparent, and is definitely hidden by the vanilla and honey.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly creamy. I really didn't expect this to have as lustrous a mouthfeel as it has. I'm sure the thickness of the honey really was an important factor in this one, and I'm glad I used it

Drinkability - A good first attempt. It tends to be a tad sweet for what I like, so sometimes I add a bit of water to the glass, others disagree with me. If your a big soda drinker it would be easy for you to put back 3 or 4 without thinking anything of it. Overall its a pretty easy drinker, and I like having one after being outside in the oven that is phoenix.

Notes/Thoughts - This one ended up a tad sweet for me, I think in future versions I will cut back the sweetness a bit, maybe ~0.5# of some type of sugar. The honey is a bit powerful in the flavor as well; while it really adds to the creaminess and is a great compliment to the vanilla, I think cutting the honey back by ~1# would make this a much better drink.

The color was much darker than I had anticipated as well. I expected more of a light brown color than I got. When making my vanilla extract I normally make two kinds, one only using everclear, and the other with vodka. The everclear only version always ends up a very pale yellow color, but the vanilla smell/flavor is extremely potent. While the vodka version is just as potent the color is more in line with what you would expect of vanilla extract, dark brown. It seems that the coloring compounds in the beans are not very alcohol soluble, and need water to be extracted. It may be beneficial for this type of soda, if you are using homemade vanilla extract, to explore using the everclear type. In my experiences with the extracts the everclear version also seems to be ready much sooner than the other.

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