A few weeks ago I posted about a brew day in which I created three beers out of a single mash – a radler, a kettle sour and a saison. The radler has been in the keg for a week and a half now, so time for some tasting notes.
But before the tasting notes, I need to make a slight correction to the recipe. One of the downsides to living in a small town is that the grocery store doesn’t always have everything you’re looking for. In this case, they didn’t have the frozen fruit juices I was planing on adding. I had originally planned to add 2 cans of pink grapefruit, 1 can of lemonaid, and 1 can of unsweetened grapefruit juice. Instead I added 2 cans of pink lemonaid, 1 can of orange and 1 can of mango.
Appearance: The beer is a golden-yellow in colour and hazy due to the fruit juice additions. It pours with a course white head which quickly fades – a problem I have had with past radlers.
Aroma: A mixtures of citrus and light beery note. The fruit character is a generic “citrus” note, rather that a distinct grapefruit aroma, as my previous radlers have had.
Flavour: Up front is a big juicy note, but again, it is a generic citrus note rather than the hoped-for grapefruit note. There is also a hint of mango, subtle, and quickly fading. The fruit flavour is also somewhat subdued. I now realise this weaker flavour is because I didn’t use enough juice; I wanted ~10L of juice, but when you add up the amount of juice that the cans of concentrate would make I was a can short. The beer plays a minor role in the background – a subtle malt note, with a a touch of bitterness to balance out the sweetness of the juice.
Mouthfeel: The radler has a medium mouth feel, with some body coming from the juice. It is quite refreshing, although a bit heavier than a commercial radler. This heavyness is normal in my radlers; a product of using real juice in place of juice-flavoured soda that are used in commercial radlers. Personally, I don’t mind the heavier mouthfeel, but it is slightly less refreshing on those hot summer days. Aftertaste is a lingering sweetness and citrus character.
Overall: This is a good radler – not my personal best, but better than most of the commercial examples out there. I’ve found an easy way to brighten up this beer is to add a shot-glass worth of lemon juice to a pint. This brings out a stronger citrus note and creates the illusion of a crisper and dryer beer. The mango juice, while unconventional, works pretty well. I may take advantage of this for next summers radler. I’ll add a bottle of lemon juice instead of more juice concentrate. I also think “dry-zesting” with the zest from a few lemons and oranges would also improve the beer.