Original Post: Gunslinger Graff
Style: Graf/Apple Ale
Brew Date: September 4, 2012
Tasting Date: October 4, 2014
The immediate impression when pouring this is that it may just be carbonated apple juice. That is the color and the level of clarity. Its got perfect carbonation, though like most ciders, the head retention is pretty pour.
In the nose, there is a lot of apple, a little bit of malt and some slight oxidation character. Apple is definitely, by far, the signature aroma.
The first sip is surprising. Its almost all apple up to this point, but the body of this is that of a beer, not the thinness I expect from a cider. It seems slightly strange at first to taste apple cider with the texture of beer. Not bad strange, just unexpected strange.
Behind the apples, there is a bit of maltiness, but it is kind of hard to place. There is a hint of vanilla, which could also be fermentation character, but I think is somehow a result of the apple juice and malts intermingling. In the back of the throat, I get a slight toast flavor, bordering on roasty. This is characteristic of the Amber malt in the recipe.
Maybe malty is not the best description of the flavor. Before the toast, and mixed in with the apple and vanilla is a sort of graininess. It tastes like the aroma you get while milling grains. There is some slight cracker flavor, but none of the heartier bread like flavors I normally associate with malty beers.
There is no trace of hops in this, which isn’t terrible, but I’d like a bit more bitterness. It finishes slightly sweet, which goes along with the apple flavor okay, but some balancing bitterness could make it even more drinkable.
I normally associate hard cider with Autumn and Winter, but this feels like a Summer drink. I haven’t had that Redd’s Apple Ale that I see ads for all over the place, but I imagine it to taste like a sweeter version of this. I am actually enjoying this more than I remember. The added body is the real uniqueness of this drink.
There is some malt character, but it is minor. The texture is somewhat of a revelation. That may be overstating it, but that first sip was a real surprise. Now I’m about to take my last sip, so I guess it’s about time to wrap this up.