Tasting Notes: 1040 Special

1040 in the glass.

So the 1040 Special Bitter is kegged and ready.  Like most bitters, this was ready to drink ~14 days after the yeast was pitched, and has hit ideal taste conditions within 3 or 4 weeks!

Pouring 1040 creates a silky, long-lasting head that leaves Belgian lace down the sides of the glass.  This head is rock-solid, lasting throughout the whole pint.  Hops dominate the aroma of this beer, although a mild maltiness makes its way through.  Despite adding both Irish moss and gelatin, there is a chill haze to this beer – likely due to my inability to use my immersion chiller after November, as I brew in my garage and we have to shut off the outside taps once night time temps drop below freezing…

…a pewter tankard takes care of the haze issue.  Most importantly, this is a great tasting beer.  The flavour is dominated by the bitterness and flavour of East Kent Goldings hops, which provides a sweet/floral flavour characteristic of many English ales.  This is balanced nicely with the malty flavour of maris otter and crystal malts.  The one drawback to this beer was the use of the Burton Ale yeast.  This yeast is known for producing the fruity esters that characterize English beers.  While most English yeasts produce these flavours, the Burton produces them strongly – too strongly for the weaker body/flavour of this beer.  A strong fruit ester profile is noticeable in 1040, and while the character of it is right, it is unbalanced compared to the rest of the flavours in the beer.  I would brew this beer again, but next time I would aim for a London Ale or ESB strain – something that would provide a more balanced ester profile.

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