Monday, February 4, 2013

Belma Trials: Saison, Tasting Session

Nothing like a beautiful stucco wall as a backround

Aroma: Raw rye spice and hints of clove.  Very understated aroma for the style.

Appearance:  Hazy, strawish light yellow.  White thin head.  Carbonation bubbles running up the side of the glass.  (Still very young)

Flavor: Spicy phenols lingering, cantaloupe rind, hints of green melon.  A little bit of green/young strawberries.  (not the fresh strawberries like described on hops  A small amount of apple tartness.  Finishes very clean, refreshing and dry, making this a very drinkable brew.

Mouthfeel: Spritz carbonation like, full body.  I'm getting a dextrous like feel, it's very hard to explain, or really pinpoint, but you know something else is going on. (I'm looking to due a side by side experiment later this year with Honeycomb Oak during fermentation.)

Overall Impression: Honestly, I'm a little disappointed in the Belma hop.  With an Alpha % this high I feel this hop doesn't live up to my expectations as a potential west coast IPA hop.  With that said, this is a great beer that is really easy to drink but its not a good representation for showcasing this new hop variety.  But it does taste good in this beer style.  So I am a little torn honestly.  Wanting to be fascinated by Belma kinda left me high and dry.  

Does Belma have a place in my brewing arsenal?  Yes, it does.  But not as a I originally expected.  I used the hop in my Toes in the Sand Pale Ale a couple months ago, mixed in with multiple hop varieties. That beer turned out really good.  An IPA with Belma added in as a dry hop would contribute a small amount of interesting flavors. But going back to this beer, I expected it to be much more Belgian-IPA like, which it is not (Thank god, I hate that style).  Belma brewed a solid Saison, hands down, but with the amount of Belma added during the brewing process and as a dry hop I would stick to Saison like beers if considering using this hop.

As you can see, the last 2 paragraphs are a jumbled mess, I am really torn with this hop.  The beer is good, its just NOT as advertised.  Belma's marketing should be directed into a soft, melon-like hop.  Great for American Farmhouse Saisons.  The high alpha talk should be redirected.

Brewing Timeline/Notes:   This beer was a pain in the ass honestly.  Mostly my fault because of the fermentation colder temps and the cold streak that came through San Diego.  I was able to keep the beer rising throughout fermentation but it was difficult.  The beer stalled out (typical for this yeast)   but I was able to get it down to 1.016, still higher than I would of liked for the style.  I'm lucky that the my Tasting Notes do not mention any residual sugar left over.

The mouthfeel on this beer is something that I really need to investigate more.  When the HoneyComb Oak is added just during active fermentation.  I get a really gritty, dexterous feel with no aged Oak flavors.  Jeff said it best.

"Interesting about your oak during primary fermentation. And makes sense with my experience drinking Firestone DBA. It doesn't have any obvious oak flavors, but the mouthfeel is much different than other beers."

I'll have to work out the details on a simple controlled experiment, one with Oak during the 1st signs of active fermentation and one with out.  But like everything else, "In time, I'll get to that."

Here is the link to the original post and recipe.

Here are the results from the NHC 2013 Entry.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for Commenting, Prost!