Harpale Ale; Wyeast 1272 version
I was not sure quite how to face this beer. I almost felt guilty for not paying as much attention to him as I did his split batch twin I dumped brettanomyces in. This beer was really born into life as a control for the experiment I was doing in this batch to test out a yeast strain I had yet to use. Maybe it is the new parent side of me coming out but I wish I would have given this beer a bit more attention during secondary fermentation. Maybe he would have turned out to be a better finished beer than he did.
In all seriousness though, I do enjoy this beer. There are a couple things I would do differently if I were to brew this entire 10 gallon batch again but I think I learned a lot of valuable lessons during this process. Namely that I need to gain better control over my controls if I am to do something similar to this again. To help with that I would likely do a 6 gallon split batch into two three gallon carboys instead of a big 11.5/12 gallon batch.
The Nose: Nose is predominately simcoe when it pours mixed in with some light bitterness. I was expecting and would like to have it be mostly Simcoe on the nose. I have had good luck in the past with only an ounce for 24 hours or so and getting good results. As the beer warms I get an ever so distant hint of what I think may be butterscotch (bummer). I haven't been able to get that confirmed with anyone else who has tasted the beer, but then again, I also think the fermentation temp spiked a bit high during the final days of secondary. Overall, when you put your nose in there you get Simcoe right up front, that fades a bit to some maltiness that is balanced out when you sip it.
Taste: Nice bitterness to balance out the malt. Finishes pretty dry. Still has a nice malt body. Also get that nice citrus in the cheeks from the Amarillo. Taste compliments the nose quite well.
Mouthfeel: Balanced. Dry but not so much so that you lose the body from the malt. I think it may be a bit more swayed toward the malt body as I sip it.
Thoughts on moving forward: Good beer. I am ok giving it to my friends and being excited to talk about it. Would I enter it into a contest...no. It is easy drinking, not too high in ABV, and has a pleasant nose so that I will be drinking the bottles till they are gone as my daily after work beer. Very refreshing on the back porch as we watch the seasons change up here in Vermont. Very nice indeed. In moving forward I would like to up the late addition hops in weight to give it a bit more umph. I could also likely accomplish this by upping the dry hop amount as well. Next time, I'd give it as much as three ounces of Simcoe. I am excited about this beer but wish I had ramped it up a bit on a couple fronts.