Jan 19, 2014

Tasting notes: Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale

This was the second beer for Jason's birthday BBQ. Brewed on December 14 and bottled on December 28. This tasting was on January 12.

Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale
OG: 1.057
FG: 1.011
IBU: 44
ABV: 6.1%

Aroma: Definite Maris Otter aroma, the 'sharpness' of white grapes/gooseberries, honey, herbal and dank.
Appearance: Gold moving into orange. Fairly hazy. Moderate head that thins out after 5 minutes but leaves some lacing all the way down the glass.
Flavour: Lightly herbal bitterness that's pretty much bang on for style and quite enjoyable. Lots of creamy malt, probably a bit much malt. It has that fruitiness that I can't describe but is very Nelson Sauvin. More malt sweetness than I'd expect for a 1.011 beer.
Mouthfeel: Low-medium carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.

A normal beer on a kids' seat or a giant beer
on a normal seat?
As I mentioned in my post when I brewed this beer, this is a recreation of an extract brew I made several times back in 2010-2011. Jason and I both feel pretty nostalgic about it so I had high expectations of the beer and my brewing. I haven't used Nelson Sauvin much since those days, partly because I was Sauvined-out for a while and partly because I had bulk supplies of other varieties. It's nice to be reunited with the hop and they certainly provide a nice highlight to the drink but it isn't quite the beer I'd like it to be.

I like Golden Promise in an American Pale Ale, especially if the hopping rate is on the high side. However, I think Maris Otter was a mistake. It's nice but it's just a bit much in this beer. On the positive side, Nelson Sauvin can easily be a bit much all on its own but that isn't a problem in this beer. The malt definitely keeps some of the Nelson Sauvin aggression in check. Some of the rough edges of the hop emerge but not in an unpleasant way. They're flavours that are interesting and can be safely explored which might not be the case in a less malty beer.

Overall I'm a bit disappointed with it but it's a decent beer with no production faults, just one or two recipe weaknesses. It's bigger than I was intending and the Maris Otter was a last minute inclusion to the recipe so this it's a bit different to what I had in mind. It did the job for the BBQ and the next one will be better.

Next time: use Golden Promise or an Australian pale malt. If I did that I'd probably use a gentler hop for the 60 minute addition and maybe reduce the other additions a little bit so the Nelson Sauvin doesn't overwhelm the malt completely. I don't think it'd take much effort to make this a great beer.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this one at the BBQ (ok, ok I enjoyed them all), and was lucky enough to score a bottle myself as a birthday gift, which I'm enjoying now in the sun after some garden work. Very refreshing, and just right for my current mood.



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