Thursday, April 18, 2013

Batch 503, Tasting Session "Split Batch"

Cluster on the Left, Centennial on the Right

Cluster Aroma:  Something is off with this beer, I'm getting some phenolic characters that stand out.  Maybe even some bubblegum (Which I got a lot of in the hops before brewing) and a little diacetyl.

Centennial Aroma: Clean, soft aromas of citrus and pine.  Very delicate, almost like a perfect backdrop for the malt. 

Cluster Appearance: Hazed compared to the Centennial version. Almost Texas Orange in color (Both were aged under the same condition's) Pillowy soft white head, good lacing during the tasting.

Centennial Appearance:  Very brilliant and clear.  Burnt Amber with sun burst around the edges.  Thinner head, good retention during the tasting.

Cluster Flavor:  Definitely a diacetyl issue in this beer.  Not overpowering, but it is a issue.

Centennial Flavor:  Clean smooth bitterness, very soft and rounded hop profile.  Hints of bubblegum and pine resin.  

Cluster Mouthfeel:  Silk like, smooth.  Almost feels like there is a lot of residual sugar in suspension on this beer.  Need to check the volumes of Co2.

Centennial Mouthfeel:  Crisp sharpness, very dry.  Great levels of carbonation. 

Cluster Overall Impression:  This beer went stray on me, I think it was a fermentation issue, not getting to the correct final gravity.  Even though both the carboys never moved from each others side, something happened on this that did not happen on the Centennial batch.  It's most likely a diacetyl issue.  Normally I do a quick test, but I skipped this step on this beer.  A couple more days at a higher temp should of corrected this.  But like everything hindsight is 100%.  The beer finished at 1.014 vs the Centennial finishing at 1.010.  Those .004 points might of cleaned up the yeast byproducts that have damaged this beer.

Centennial Overall Impression:  This is a great beer and a great example of the style.  It can come off as a little bubblegummy at times but I think that's a hop issue related to the Cluster base recipe. (like I stated before the Cluster hops were overpowering with bubblegum flavors)

Brewing Timeline/Notes: This recipe was brewed a couple weeks back.  The base recipe is 100% Cluster.  The wort was split into 3 gallon fermenter's and dry hoped with different single hops.  One with Cluster and one with Centennial.  The yeast was split 50/50 between the two.

Here is the link to the original post and recipe.


  1. Both beers look beautiful. I wonder if the problem with Cluster is strictly in its use as a flavor/aroma hop. My understanding is that it was popular before higher alpha hops started to be developed and available. Regardless, it would be great to taste them side by side.

    1. I think you have something. The one did have hints of diacetyl but with so many beers I had to dump it this morning. I am going to keep the other keg. I really think the bubblegum taste is a hop issue related to the Cluster Hops and not a fermentation problem. In fact, I'm drinking one right now.


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