12 Oct 2009

The Double-Blind Taste Test

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One month ago I posted about our “Experimental” Brewing Session; we recently dry hopped and kegged the two different IPAs. As you may recall one used the 1450 “Denny’s Favorite” yeast strain that is known for low flocculation and not being very sweet. The other used was 1968 “London ESB Ale” yeast, which has a high flocculation and tends to have a fair amount of fruitiness.

We encountered a little trouble with these brews during the fermentation process, both of them stuck at ~ 68% attenuation. We wanted to get to about 70% for both of the IPAs, we needed some yeast, stat. Luckily our friend Johnny O’ from the downtown Rock Bottom Brewery was able to hook us up with a big slurry from his propagation tank. We pitched it that afternoon and we finished out at 1017 and 1018. Right where we wanted them to be.


1450: 7.20%
Aroma: Surprisingly light. Muted, esp compared to 1968.
Appearance: Dark & Cloudy Orange Amber. Light Beige Head.
Flavor: Tart. Crisp. Hoppy. Grapefruit.
Palate: Silky. Smooth & Light Carbonation.
Overall: This one has a bit of a bite. The tartness really stands out.

1968: 7.00%
Aroma: Strong scents of pine and citrus.
Appearance: Dark & Cloudy Orange Amber, clearer than 1450. Light Beige Head.
Flavor: Earthy. Full. Hoppy. Pine. Bitter.
Palate: Dry. Light Carbonation.
Overall: Mellower than the 1450, a fuller flavor. Not as sour.

It is pretty cool how much of a difference two strains of yeast will make on the exact same wort. The 1450 is quite a bit more sour than the 1968, which has more earthy mellow flavors. The difference in aroma is probably even more pronounced than the flavor. The 1968 has a strong scent while the 1450 is barely detectable.

The experiments and the taste tests continue! We’ll be doing a much larger sample tasting on the 24th of this month at an event with about 30 volunteer tasters.


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