This post is one in a series following six brewers collaborating to each make a small adjustment to a single recipe in order to improve it, then pass it along to the next brewer. We hope to learn more about the art of recipe creation as we see how other brewers approach the same recipe. The rest of the comparison tastings for this series can be found here.
The recipes for the beers being compared below are as follows:
|Iteration 1||Iteration 2|
|Base Malt||80% 2-row||80% 2-row|
|Specialty Malt 1||10% Victory||10% Victory|
|Specialty Malt 2||5% Roasted Barley||5% Roasted Barley|
|Specialty Malt 3||5% Carafa III||5% Chocolate Malt|
|60 min. hop||Nugget: 47.7 IBUs||Nugget: 42.5 IBUs|
|5 min. hop||Willamette: 3.6 IBUs||Willamette: 3.3 IBUs|
Taster: T. Bowen
Version 2 pours very dark. Some light foam on the surface that builds slightly as it sits, then fades to a few wispy bubbles on the surface.
The nose on Version 1 had a touch of coffee with a slightly stronger scent of espresso. The nose also had a milky-like sweetness to it.
At first whiff of Version 2, the nose had a heavy yeasty aroma to it, which morphed into a milky nose—admittedly more pleasant than the yeast bomb at first. The more I smelled it, the more roasted, milky notes came out. Version 2 has almost a smoky note to the flavor, which I guess I could attribute to the roasted barley and chocolate malt.
I got some nicely balanced dark chocolate bitterness on the back end of Version 1. As it warmed up, I there was a heavy dark chocolate sweetness that was on the front end. Version 2 is not as chocolate forward on the palate as Version 1. However, more chocolate seems to come to the front of the palate as the beer warms. In addition to more chocolate notes, the beer puts off more espresso notes as it warms as well. Version 2 seems to have a fuller, creamier mouthfeel than Version 1.
Taster: C. McKenzie
Both Iterations 1 and 2 were a deep black. Iteration 1 poured with a moderate head that had poor retention. Iteration 2 had minimal head (more of a light foam on top) that receded almost immediately.
Iteration 1 smelled of cold brew coffee with dark chocolate. There was also a strong presence of burnt toast in the nose. Iteration 2 had a big dark chocolate aroma, which seemed to me to include some of the fruit notes that often accompany smelling/tasting a bar of dark chocolate (although my wife disagreed with me on the fruit notes when I asked her if she also smelled that since I was having a hard time placing that particular aroma). There were also notes of coffee and toast.
Iteration 1 tasted of chocolate, coffee, toast, and had an earthy note to it as well. Iteration 2 tasted of chocolate (although the flavor of this was less than the aroma might imply) and coffee. This beer definitely had a fuller mouthfeel, which lent itself to the flavors seeming slightly richer than they did in Iteration 1. There was also a definite level of roastiness present that is not there in Iteration 1. A hint of toast is detectable, but it is less obvious than in Iteration 1, which I think is a positive thing.