Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz Tasting Notes

Original Post: Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz Brew Day
Style: 14B. American IPA (intended…)
Brew Date: May 20, 2014
Tasting Date: June 17, 2014
ABV: 8.8%

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The aroma of this beer gives an immediate hint that something is not quite right. An IPA should smell pungent with hops. This smells hot with alcohol and only traces of spicy Saaz hops. The first sip is a bit more mellow than the smell of alcohol would have me believe.

After a couple more sips… this beer tastes pretty good. Nothing like an IPA, more like a barley wine, but adjusting my expectations in that direction I enjoy it. There is some hop bitterness, but not nearly enough for an IPA of this size. It would be an appropriate bitterness for some sort of English strong ale. The hop flavor is a similar story. Spicy Czech Saaz hops may be out of place in that English beer, though. I can’t think of a German equivalent, but if there were one, that is what I’d call this. There is a surprising bit of pine from the hops, but it is subtle.

There is some malt flavor in there. I know it wasn’t very much in the recipe but I think the Munich comes through. Only a little. This beer is mostly about the complexity of subtle malts, some spicy hops and lots of alcohol.

It is definitely a sipper, almost the total opposite of the Elkland Golden Lager I talked about yesterday. This is not the beer I’d reach for on a hot Summer day (like today, oy), but after a long day at work on a cold Autumn night, it could be just the ticket.

The beer has the color of an IPA, but it’s a bit cloudy. Not terribly so, you can see through it but there is a haze. It is, again, more akin to an English ale than the American IPAs that are popular today.

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So my American IPA tastes like a cross between an over-hopped German beer and an English Barley Wine. As long as the Galaxy batch tastes more like an IPA, though, I guess I’m okay with that. I knew the gravity got a bit out of control and I was unsure if the Saaz hops could have handled the job even before that, so the fact that this beer is at least drinkable will go down as a win in my book. I’ll probably be saving a good portion of it for the colder months, though.

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2 thoughts on “Single Hop IPA #3: Saaz Tasting Notes

  1. Pingback: Single Hop IPA #4: Galaxy Brew Day | Non-Existent Brewing
  2. Pingback: Single Hop IPA #1: Cascade | Non-Existent Brewing

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