Sunday, December 14, 2008

Operation Dunkelweizen: Tasting Phase (part three)

As I discussed previously, Leah and I will be brewing a Dunkelweizen for celebrate the birth of our second child (e.t.a. 2/14/09). Tonight I wrapped up the tasting phase of Operation Dunkelweizen by sampling a bomber of Two Brothers' Bonfire Dunkle Weiss.

I should start out by noting that Bonfire, at 7.5% ABV, is really more of a Weizenbock than a Dunkelweizen. That being said, let's check it out...

This might actually be the darkest of the five Dunkel-weizens I've tried. Holding it up to the light, barely any actually makes it through the beer. Like all Weizens, it leaves a nice, thick, rocky offwhite head.

Sticking my nose into the glass, I find subtle banana and clove fragarances are competing with bready, Munich malt smells I generally find in a Doppelbock. Yeah, this is gonna be a heavy beer.

Taking a sip, the high gravity of this brew is immediately noticeable. The flavor up font is all malt, with the aforementioned bready Munich malt (along with generous chocolate malt--maybe chocolate wheat?) being tamed only by a slight tang from the unfiltered Weizen yeast (much like you find in Schneider-Weisse). You get a little banana and clove in the finish, and it comes out more as the beer warms up.

I have to say, I didn't really like this beer too much when I first took a sip, but it got better and better as it warmed up. I really like that it has a melanoidin-like sweetness to it as opposed to a caramel malt sweetness. It's interesting to note that, despite its color, there's really no roastiness here.

Now that I've tried all five, I'm thinking my beer will actually be somewhere in the middle of all of these. I hate to say it because it sounds like a cop-out, but I would like the melanoidin sweetness of the Bonfire, a little of the toastiness of the Erdinger, the copper hue of the Ayinger, and the subtle caramel and cocoa notes of the Franziskaner. That being said, now it's time to come up with an actual recipe. So it's on to Operation Dunkelweizen: Recipe Phase!

In other news, the Helles is still chugging away in our controlled-temp fermenter. I also finally put our Altbier under pressure one week after kegging. I ended up having to let the Alt sit at room temp for a week, but I'm using my indoor freezer to ferment the Helles and we had a brutal cold spell so I was nervous about throwing the kegs out in the garage fridge. Anyway, the Christmas Ale is at 16 PSI, and while that's carbing I added 30 PSI of CO2 to the regular Sticke (since I don't have a splitter to carb both kegs at once... though that gives me an idea!).

Next up... I'm thinking we might brew another gluten-free beer on Christmas Eve (just like we did last year). I'm thinking of trying my stout-like creation with dark Belgian candi syrup and coffee. After that it'll be time to brew the Baby Beer--only two months until the due date!


Blogger Alice said...

we used to beer brewing in college...under the sink...and we all ended up with a terrible headache! ;)

10:55 PM, December 14, 2008  

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