Moist Harvest Pale Ale Tasting Notes

Original Post: Moist
Style: American Pale Ale/Harvest Ale
Brew Date: September 9, 2014
Tasting Date: October 7, 2014
ABV: 4.7%
IBUs: 45ish
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Today (Tuesday, October 7, as I write this) is two weeks to the day since I bottled Moist. Considering that it is a wet hopped harvest ale, it seems only right that I get these tasting notes done in a hurry.

The carbonation sounds and looks good. A fairly large head died down to a thin layer of bubbles fairly quickly, but that thin layer isn’t going away. The color of the beer is a little darker than expected but it’s fairly clear considering how young it is and also the fact that it was bottled straight from primary fermentation.
I would describe the color as amber with orange highlights. The light is low in this room and it almost borders on brown sitting against the wall, but held up to the light the red/amber color comes out. It is still a bit dark for an American Pale Ale, but it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for an ESB or other English Pale Ale.

The aroma is malty and grainy with hints of spicy and slightly floral hops. Strangely, it seems like a mix of Nugget and Centennial hops. I say strangely because most of the Nugget hops were added as a first wort addition. Centennial, which are by far the most prevalent hop in the recipe are expected, but I’m a little surprised to get as much Nugget character.

Either way, hops are not the biggest attraction in the aroma. Again, it seems closer to an English Pale Ale with lots of malty aroma and a sprinkling of hops. The graininess of the wheat comes through, which wouldn’t fit in an English Pale Ale, but the overall balance matches those beers.

Taking a sip, that “creaminess” that the Red Wheat is known for comes out immediately. I wasn’t sure what to expect from that description of the malt, but as soon as I taste it, it all becomes clear. I’m still struggling to describe the flavor beyond “creamy,” but that really does seem to sum it up. And that is the dominant malt flavor. There is a little bit of Crystal Malt sweetness, but it definitely plays the background.
The bitterness, which I was worried could be a bit too high, based on a very loose idea of how much Alpha Acid may be in these homegrown hops, is actually perfect. That creamy wheat flavor takes a good amount of bitterness to balance it out and the 45-ish IBUs here are up to the task.

Now, the main attraction: those freshly harvested, home grown, wet hops. Their presence is felt, but it is far from overwhelming. The Centennial hops are obvious, but still slightly subtle. The Nugget hops, as mentioned, are also identifiable. The rest may be helping to round out the flavor, but they are not in the foreground.
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Those spicy hop flavors, whose spiciness is obvious but unidentifiably vague come out and I recognize them as Nugget. There are citrusy, floral notes from the Centennials. The floral part almost reminds me of Wildflower Honey, which is of course, from a variety of flowers rather than one specific variety. It is, again, obvious but not immediately identifiable as one specific variety. There is a good chance that the other hops are adding to this vagueness, but Centennial is the only one that is copious enough to stand out.

The citrus is more subtle. When you dig for it, grapefruit is obvious comparison, but it is subtle enough to get lost. That is not a bad thing. This isn’t a mess of too many hop varieties like I worried it could be. The Nugget and Centennial stand out and work well and the other hops add an unexpected complexity without muddling things too much.

This is not a very hoppy beer, but it is a pretty good one. I’m still not quite sure if adding all that Red Wheat was the “right” decision or not. It definitely brought a lot to the table and made this beer interesting and enjoyable. Would the hops have stood out more without it? I’m not sure. After last year’s debacle, I wanted to make sure I had a good beer and I got that. The wet hops may not be the stars but at least the beer is enjoyable. Speaking of which, it is about time to freshen my glass.

Tags: homebrew, tasting notes, beer tasting, wet hopped, wet hops, wet, moist, hop, hops, pale ale, ipa, harvest, harvest ale

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