Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tasting: Westmalle Extra Clone

I'm nearly through this keg, so I'm happy to get a sample tasting done before it kicks (like the melomel I tore through). I've had a couple folks try it, and while they enjoy it for the most part, there's something a little off about it. Well, for my first Belgian to tap, and first really straight forward beer (a SMaSH ), I'm pretty happy.

Aroma: The Belgian like esters are pretty straight up. A light spicy clove, banana, bubblegum followed by the spiciness of the Saaz hops. The strange one, is the green apple note I get. I was hoping it would dissipate with some age, but it hasn't seem to go anywhere. It's not bad per se, but I don't think it should be there. It's also quite fruity in the sugarplum kind of way and citrusy. Malt notes are mild if at all detectable. No DMS.
Appearance: This one, like most kegged beers, started out pretty cloudy, but it's now just to a hazy look. A bright light orange, dark straw color with a massive, fluffy, densely packed white head and lots of tracing. A really nice looking beer for a Belgian. Carbonation bubble stream up the center.
Flavor: The fruity esters continue to dominate this one. The bubblegum and banana are pretty prevalent. Malty flavors are stuck in a lightly bready, slightly biscuity flavor. Considering that it's just Pilsner malt (Belgian), it's got a nice profile to it. The Saaz hops are pretty noticeable, and the firm bitterness is snappy in the finish. Speaking of which, the finish is nice and dry making this an extremely quaffable beer.
Mouthfeel: Having sat and still holding at about 15 psi, the carbonation is nice and high and gives it a smooth, fluffy mouthfeel. That combined with the moderate bitterness and dryness, really make for a medium to medium low body.
Overall: I'm pretty happy with this beer but some of the off, apple something flavors detract a bit. I've since started normal chilling procedures with my beers and no longer am no-chilling. I've no idea if it has negetively effected these beers, but I'd rather go back to normal procedure. I think I might duplicate this beer again, but aim a bit more for a Belgian IPA (Green Flash Le Freak is one of my favorites that balances west coast hops with a moderate Belgian yeast presence).
Recipe and notes

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