Original Post: Jade Otter
Style: Belgian Pale Ale?
Brew Date: November 27, 2013
Tasting Date: August 21, 2014
IBUs: 41 (tastes much higher…)
This is a lively beer. I didn’t quite fit the whole bottle in my Chimay glass because of the voluminous, fluffy, white head. The color is light orange-ish yellow and it is not as clear as I’d expect a beer of this age to be. I get a lovely, bready scent with hinds of that Duvel yeast. I’m surprised by the malt in the aroma.
The first sip is prickly. Between the high carbonation and the bitterness, it stings. But pleasantly. Past the initial impression, the beer opens up to the spicy yeast and more malt flavor. Pepper is the dominant yeast character. The Maris Otter brings fresh baked bread.
The hops bring… bitterness. At almost a year old, I wouldn’t expect much hop aroma to stick around, but there isn’t really any at all that I can tell. It is still bitter, though. Too bitter. I don’t think it is quite as harsh as it was initially and I really think the yeast has come through a lot stronger with time, but it is just too bitter.
It is crisp and dry, which is good normally, but it brings out the bitterness even more in this case. I am getting more flavors now as it warms up. There is something earthy coming out. Almost like a winter squash? Does that sound crazy? I don’t know, but I’m getting squash and some slight hints of vanilla. I’m thinking this is mostly tricks of the yeast. Wherever these strange but delightful flavors are coming from, they’re being undercut by extreme bitterness as soon as the beer passes to the back of my mouth.
Jade Otter 2013 is a seriously flawed beer, but it is also very interesting. I’m pretty sure that I’ve corrected the over-bittering problem, but I’m starting to think it could have been fun to keep the Duvel yeast. I love the Saison II yeast I used this year, and I’m excited by the idea of using it in a bunch of similarly low gravity, highly hopped beers, but I have less experience with this yeast and I’d like to learn more about it.
Well, I just finished the beer, so I guess that is all of my tasting notes. I’m excited to try this year’s batch a few short weeks. Okay, they’ll probably be long weeks.