Friday, August 16, 2013

The Beerening: Bagel Beer thoughts and tasting notes

However, I got a bad cold afterwards and didn't want to wait so long to get a tasting notes video up.

Tasting Notes:

 Bagels were very good.  Not having any real basis for comparison between homemade bagels, I would say they were very nice.  Slightly sweet, not too doughy.  Not dense but not exactly fluffy, the inside seemed to rip more like pretzel than bread.  Also chewy but not too much so.  One interesting thing I noticed was spots of the outside where hot break material got stuck to the bagels didn't cook like the rest of the outside and make the shell you'd expect.  It didn't effect the inside or have much of a noticeable flavor.

 To the beer: As I mentioned in the video, I went a bit off style with the inclusion of the roasted barley.  It's just a bit past the dark end of what the BJCP called ESB, maybe more into Brown ale territory.  As I said though, I don't mind the color too much.  I like ESB more when it's toward the darker end and a bit chewier, which is what I was hoping to get with the roast barley and oats.

It's slightly cloudy and brown (though not quite as dark as my Brown Ale), and forms a nice white head.  However the head retention hasn't been very good for a beer with a pound of oats, though it may just be an effect of being under-carbonated.  I'm still dialing in the PSI and had it too low for a while so it might just be pouring aggressively and off-gassing instead of more natural head.  Though maybe this is a side effect of using the wort for bagels?  Jury's out, which means both this bitter and bagel making need to be done again.  In the name of the scientific method.

There's a lot of chocolatey flavor from the roast malt in there, which I was expecting, but it is much more dominant than I wanted.  I was hoping that it would be there but with some sweetness and caramel behind it as well, which is lacking.  Overall, it is a very nice beer that has a clean flavor and is quite easy drinking and I am powering through the pints.

Notes for the future:

The bagels were delicious, but as you can see in the video they fell apart.  I need to investigate alternate methods of forming the ring shape.  2 of the 6 bagels held together very well, and I think those were done by working water into the ends of the joint before working it together and smoothing the outside of it very well.  I was worried they were too wet, but that may just be what's required.  Another idea is to form balls and then poke a hole through and stretch the dough.  Again, I'll just need to make more bagels.

I'm enjoying the beer but I think it can get closer to my original intent with a few small changes.  Dropping the roast barley to even less should tone down the chocolate to a more manageable level and increasing the range of crystal malts and mashing higher should help raise the Final Gravity.  I'm beginning to think I measured wrong when I was at the store and bought half a pound of it.  I'll still use less next time I brew this, but it's amazing that at only 2% of my total grain bill a heavily roasted grain had such a profound impact on my beer.

Anyway, I may re-iterate this later in another tasting video.