amber ale tasting notes, belgian date barleywine

this week I set aside some time to reflect upon a couple of current draft selections that are on different sides of the spectrum.

style: amber ale

appearance: great amber color, creamy head with nice lacing, fine carbonation

aroma: slightly alcoholic, sweet, and fruity

taste: malt-forward, coating mouthfeel, caramel and fruit notes, very sessionable

comments: a solid performer, but I personally don’t like the yeast strain (S-04), so I would use a different strain (cal ale or belgian) and maybe dry hop a keg with an earthy variety.




style: belgian date barleywine (2009)

appearance: great carbonation and lacing, slightly cloudy/opaque even after being chilled for months

aroma: intense boozy fruit, layered alcohol notes (spirit-like)

taste: smooth boozy sweetness, alcohol bite but no heat, sweet malt with a fruity finish, viscous and caramelly

comments: I brewed this one on 07/11/09 and tapped it over a year ago – it has been jumping in and out of the lineup ever since.  this is definitely a sipper and took well over a year to mellow out.  this was my first foray into specialty sugars – I added 2 pounds of date sugar to the 5 gal batch.  although this batch is currently pretty tasty, it drinks so slowly I’m not sure I’ll brew it again.  see below for the recipe I dug up from the partial mash vault.


12.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 72.73 %
1.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 6.06 %
1.00 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 6.06 %
0.50 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 3.03 %
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 36.4 IBU
2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 36.4 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (45 min) Hops 9.8 IBU
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (8 min) Hops 7.1 IBU
2.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (1 min) Hops 1.6 IBU
2.00 lb Date Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM) Sugar 12.12 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Abbey II (Wyeast Labs #1762) Yeast-Ale

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