|Kveik in the Winter Sunset|
My last post on my blog was the brewing of my advent beer for this year – a Norwegian-style Kveik, “reimagined” using ingredients that would have been available (minus the malt) to the Vikings who set foot in Canada over a thousand years ago.
Last night was this beers “turn” in my brew-clubs annual advent exchange, so its time for some tasting notes.
Appearance: Pours with an effervescent light copper body and a thick white head.
Aroma: A spiciness that is hard to describe – vanilla, pepper, and a bit of a generic “spice”.
Flavour: When young the beer had a notable orange ester character, alongside a spiciness that had discernible vanilla, pepsi and allspice-like notes. As it aged these flavours mellowed into a more generic spiciness (still good, but without the dominant & discrete flavours) and a more subtle citrus-ish ester character. This spiciness was built on top of a malty backbone with a low-level hop bitterness. Balance is malt-forward. Aftertaste is a lingering malt sweetness and spiciness from the spruce.
Mouthfeel: Moderate-to-high body, creamy and smooth, but highly effervescent. A lower level of carbonation would likely have been better for this style of beer.
Overall: I really enjoyed this beer, both young and aged, but with a preference for the younger beer. When young, the beer had several flavour notes that stood out – vanilla, all-spice, and orange. Combined with the maltiness, these flavours created the ultimate Christmas beer with a character similar to that of a spice cookie. As the beer aged these distinct flavours blended to a more generic citrus & spice character – still pleasant and nicely balanced, but without the distinct flavour notes of the younger beer. When (not if) I rebrew this beer I’m only going to make a few minor tweaks:
- I’m going to further enhance the orange character by pitching less yeast and fermenting a few degrees warmer (in the range or 39-42C)
- I’m not going to bother tracking down native north American hops (hop character was minimal and I doubt you’d notice much of a difference with any other hop being used)
- I’m going to keg it much younger – traditional Kveik is usually brewed for 3-4 days before transferring to the serving vessel, whereas I kegged after 14 days.
Hopefully the warmer ferment and shorter fermentation cycle will capture more of the orange character and preserve those unique spice notes.