Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Basement Breweries Beer Tasting

Recently, I was able to sit down with three of my new beers that were now ready to drink, to see how they came out. The beers were all fairly different, an amber ale, a roggenbier (rye beer), and a brown porter, but they were all brewed using a similar method, the mini-mash. This technique lies somewhere between all-grain and extract brewing, and employs both a mash with malted grain and the use of malt extract. It allows the brewer to gain some of the enhanced character and body of brewing with grain as well as some of the ease and security that comes when using extract. But enough beer geek talk, lets get down to the beers.

Treeplanter Amber Ale - 4.75% abv
This beer has a sweet, malty aroma and is an almost brownish amber. Its emphasis on malt is evident with a caramel like malty flavour to its taste. It is medium bodied and drinkable with a nice lightly bitter finish, but the malt character is perhaps a bit one dimensional. In addition, it's sweetness, probably from the crystal malt, is perhaps a bit more than I would like.

Rye Revival Roggenbier - 5.5% abv

The aroma from this beer has a malty twang along with citrusy hop notes from the Cascades used to finish it. Its colour is a bright and attractive orange amber and it has a nice spicy entry and a dry malt finish that is characteristic of rye beers. It is possibly lacking flavour in the mid-taste but has a great mouthfeel, thick, and almost creamy in texture.

Beast of Burden Brown Porter - 4%

This brew is a dark, near black colour, with chestnut brown highlights. It has a nice head of fine bubbles from which rises the pleasant aroma of dark, roasted grains. It has a slightly tart entry, and a good roasted character is present in the flavour. It has a short and lightly bitter finish and is very refreshing and drinkable for such a dark beer. My only criticisms would be that for a porter it lacks some body, and could maybe use some complexity in its malt character, but this beer is probably the pick of the litter as it is satisfying, interesting, and drinkable.

Although I enjoyed all three of these beers, I think they have shown me some of the limitations of malt extract. The lack of compexity, tendency towards sweetness, and lack of body seem to be things that are hard to get around when using extract, and I think from now on I may stick to all-grain brewing.

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