This will probably be quick. As unqualified as I may be to do mead tasting notes, it doesn’t come close to comparing how unsure I am about what to say about pickles. I will give it a try, though.
I opened these pickles a couple nights ago and tried a couple. I will dive in and eat several slices now to try to really pick out what is going on here now, though. I normally do spears for most of my pickles, but these were extremely overgrown cucumbers. I had to slice them and as a result of late harvesting, they’re not very crisp.
Aside from the texture, my first impression is saltiness. They are a bit too salty. After the salt, I get a bit of garlic and some heat from the pepper flakes. There is an odd flavor that I don’t recognize as hoppy, but is the only thing that is different from other generic pickles I have made with the pickle spice mix I used in these.
It is hard to describe. I used Cascade hops, known for citrusy grapefruit flavor with piny notes. I don’t get that, but there is some grassy, green flavors. These were freshly harvested wet hops, so that makes sense. They were also harvested a bit early, which could add to that even more.
While I think the hops definitely impacted the flavor of these pickles, it was not in the way that I expected. To get more hop flavor, maybe I should have listened to everyone else’s recipes and used some IPA in the brine. These hops were never boiled, just basically dry hopped, so it is not surprising that there is no bitterness. Maybe I could add the hops to the brine while it boils instead of to the jars and extract a little bit of bitterness as well?
Aside from being too salty and despite not being as hoppy as I hoped, these are still some pretty good pickles. The recipe will definitely need some refining, but I will definitely be trying again. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until next year for more fresh cucumbers and more fresh hops. I have a few more pints of these pickles so I will definitely hold onto at least one of them for a few more months or even until next Summer to see if I get any more hop flavor out over time.