Monday, May 25, 2009

Tasting: Gumballhead Clone

I had a great time yesterday having a few friends over and drinking through some of my first kegged beer. It is simply awesome to have beer on tap at home, and I can't wait to build a tower for my fridge so I don't have to use the picnic taps. The weather is turning quite balmy and warm here in DC, so the hoppy, low alcohol wheat beers have been perfect. The Gumballhead clone has been kegged for just under a week now, and given its need to be drunk fresh, I thought I would do a tasting now.

Aroma: The intense Amarillo aroma comes across as cotton candy and bubblegum like with some sweet, fresh cut grass notes. I've been told that overdone dry hopping of Amarillo can lead to a real grassy aroma, and this one has it, though I can't say it detracts from the enjoyment of the beer. In addition, the sweet citrus finally comes through as the beer warms up.
Appearance: A medium pale, bright orange color. Moderate haze from either chill, wheat, or hops topped with a half inch of tight formed bright white head.
Flavor: The hops come through not as forward and clean as I'd like, with the citrus and grassy flavors dominating. The maltiness of this beer is quite simple and has a sweet, lightly grainy touch to it. Being able to ferment it quite cool, the fruitiness of US05 doesn't shine too much with its characteristic peach note hanging in the background. The finish has a bit of bitterness balanced with plenty of sweetness that I think is spot on for what Gumballhead provides.
Mouthfeel: This is where I really enjoy this beer. Being able to constantly dial in the CO2 during kegging, I've been able to keep the CO2 fairly low giving it an extremely creamy mouthfeel, very supple and almost silky. This certainly helps it with its easy drinkability on the hot weather days.
Overall: I can't say I would really change anything about this beer other than the yeast choice: I would try using the Kolsch strain again for its white wine fruitiness over US05. I may try to make it even lower in alcohol next time, closer to 4-4.5% abv. Other than that, it's a very enjoyable and easy drinking beer, perfect for this time of year.
Recipe and notes

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