|A great beer for a snowy day.
Back in October I brewed 42 – a Belgian Dark Strong Ale made with homemade candi sugar (posts 1, 2). The beer was kegged after a month in secondary, and a third of the batch laid down in bottles for long-term enjoyment. I gave away a few bottles for Christmas – one recipient accused me of passing off a commercial beer as a home brew. I’m going to assume that means he really enjoyed it!
Appearance: Pours with a thick, beige, long-lasting head. Trails of Belgian lace follow the beer to the bottom of the glass. Beer is dark red when viewed with backlighting; dark brown bordering on black when viewed normally.
Aroma: Pepper with some fruity esters. Malt notes in the background.
Flavour: Fantastic. The peppery character of Wyeast 3822 (Belgian Dark Ale, yeast bank #059) along with a pleasant maltiness dominates the flavour. Bitterness is mild and there is no other hop character. The stone fruit and caramel notes of the candi sugar are present but subtle; if I remake this beer I think I’ll up the amount of sugar, and perhaps cook it longer to exemplify the caramel character more. Aftertaste is mild, mostly malitness with a subtle pepperyness.
Mouthfeel: This beer ended at a lower than planned gravity – 1.007 – from a starting gravity of 1.069. Despite this, there is the right amount of body (med-low body) and the fruity flavours from the candi sugar provide some sweetness so the beer is not too dry. There is no astringency at all in the beer, and the aftertaste leaves your mouth feeling whetted.
Overall: One of my better beers in 2013 – excellent balance of flavours, complex but not overwhelming. Easy drinking, not too heavy, and overall just a plain nice pint.