Tag Archives: phenolic

Not So Clean Ale

This is the last beer I brewed before moving to Myanmar, which involved selling the larger part of my brewing gear. Therefore it was kind of a big deal. This beer was also an attempt to use up left over ingredients, mainly my last couple of kilograms of grain. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fermentables for a 20l batch, so I bought a beer kit for $10 and added that in. This is the first kit brew I’ve done in a while – thankfully it tastes OK. Not great, but good enough. Kinda.

The recipe was an attempt at a basic dry pale ale full of malt and little else.

Not So Clean Ale
1044 OG, 1005 FG. 5.4% bottle ABV. US-05. Canberra water, from tap.

Fermented at 17°C from:

58% :: Coopers Draught Beer Kit
42% :: Ale Malt

40m single infusion mash at 65°C.
20m boil, no hop additions (kit is pre-hopped) but yeast nutrient added at ten minutes.

The beer looks lovely, a rich, beautiful bronze colour with perfect clarity. In fact, I mistook the first bottle for a golden apple cider batch I did previously – it’s that kind of bold bronze. The aroma wafts biscuit, apple and cloves in equal measures; the clove-phenolic presence perniciously detracting from the overall bouquet. The beer’s carbonation is low to medium, with little retention. Typical of a Canberra winter fermentation.

On tasting a clean, full, malty hit disappears quickly with a thin dry finish. Very low bitterness. Malt is pancakes and biscuits, but like the aroma it is beleaguered – this time by fusels. The hot burn brackets the rest of the profile so as to not entirely ruin the beer, rather to simply restrict it from greatness.

So, an eminently drinkable beer held back by some clove and fusels. As it is, a pint at a time I think. Alas!

The fusels and phenols could be coming from anywhere – and given I am in mourning of much of my brewing gear, I don’t want to diagnose. Alas.

Maredsous Abbaye-Abdij Blonde 6

The Maredsous abbey beers are brewed by Duvel under license.

The blonde 6 (they also brew an 8 and a 10, referring to ABV) comes in a delightful bulbous bottle, sitting squat on the table. The beer rings in a capacious head on the pour, staying fluffy for the drink’s duration. The colour is deep gold, completely clear, not a freckle of yeast to be seen swimming which is unusual for the style. Spritzy carbonation is evident on viewing. The beer smells interesting – sweet marshmallow wafts between banana and the faintest, dimmest hint of spicy phenolics.

On tasting delightful balance prevails. The Belgian yeast notes deliver a smooth ride of clean, mellow malt and a balmy bitterness. There is nothing puckering, astringent or harsh; it’s a perfect example of a rounded, delicate bitterness that still keeps the malt in check. This is a fairly dry beer with a nice finish that is worrying at 6% ABV. Oddly there is a subtle vegetative note going on, a phantom hop flavour that I find difficult to distinguish and elaborate on. Perhaps some late hopping occurs – my bottle was as fresh as you can get in Australia.

This is worth the time and money to procure. A good example of a Belgian blonde and I will look out for their double and triple.

I bought this bottled beer at The Wine Republic, Northcote and drank it at home.