Summer Swill Tasting Notes

Original Post: Summer Swill
Style: American Pale Wheat Beer (sort of)
Brew Date: April 1, 2012
Serve Date: May, 2012
ABV: 7.4%

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Yes, it’s the beer that was meant to be quick, cheap and strong for the Summer of 2012. I have unearthed one sole bottle of it and here is what I’ve found upon cracking said bottle.

It has a good head and a pretty dark orange, honey like color. The first sip takes me back to two years ago. For better or worse, it tastes much the same as I remember it. Maybe slightly better as the alcohol has faded a bit. It is still obvious that this is not a session wheat beer, but the burn is gone.

There is a ton of fermentation character. It has hints of the classic phenolic weizen yeast, but there is more going on here than that. It tastes like it was fermented very hot, which is probably true, and the yeast was stressed out. Esters, phenols, some acidity, it has all the things that can make a beer either very interesting or undrinkable. It is hard to nail this beer down. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but it is not as bad as I was expecting.

It smells like a combination of a hefeweizen and malt liquor. That label quote was really fortuitous. I can definitely tell there is some adjunct action going on here. I feel like twenty one year old me, chugging forties at a friend’s off campus apartment would really enjoy this. Twenty nine year old me, sitting on my couch waiting for my girlfriend to get home from work finds it interesting but is glad that it wasn’t a forty bottle that I uncovered.

For all of it’s problems, this is a surprisingly complex beer. I’m just now, about two thirds through my glass, starting to get hints of citrusy hops. If I remember correctly, I used Cascade hops only for bittering, but I feel like I’m getting a faint taste of them. It is on the bitter side for a hefeweizen (which it isn’t, but was modeled after) and I think that helps. Without the bitter backbone, the mess of yeast flavors could be overpowering.

I expected to be completely trashing this beer. Instead, I just can’t quite make up my mind about it. I’m down to only a sip or two left and I’m almost starting to think I need to try another experiment in a similar direction just give myself more of a chance to decide what I think. That is a stupid idea, right?

Right? Ah well. The beer is gone now.

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