Saturday, July 3, 2010

100% Oat Malt & Mt Rainier Hops - SMaSH Beer Review

I have been meaning to do a review of my Oat malt SMaSH beer for sometime, but I have been second guessing my ability to describe the flavors of the beer. As a result I have been getting every one I know to taste it and tell me what they think. Most have agreed with my assessment although my father, whose beer palate isn't very refined, said it tasted like old Milwaukee!! I laughed, I don't think I would offer the same take of the beer

Appearance: Golden color, great clarity, 1-2 finger head that dissipates leaving tight lacing

Aroma: The smell of the beer is like taking a big whiff of freshly cracked oats, I have a really hard time finding the hops behind all that smell

Taste: The flavor is a bit different than the smell suggests, it is oaty but it is also very very grainy. It is also a bit thinner bodied than you would expect, the grainy flavor is a bit more rustic than most anything else Ive tried, in fact it slightly reminds me of what an all 6-row beer hints at. The hops are really in the background, and the bitterness is a bit low, it could easily be bumped up quite a bit.

Mouthfeel: The beer is actually quite light bodied for an all Oat beer. More than likely due to the extremely long mash I had to do to get conversion. Ive varied the carbonation and a medium-high level suits it best, it really helps the oat smell to jump out a bit more

Drinkability: Its not a bad beer, but is unlike anything else Ive tasted. Ive actually found two really good uses for it. 1) boiling down to make a beer glaze, awesome on brats and really good on chicken. 2) I mix up a shandy using lime juice and soda water, this cuts the graininess down a bit and the lime really rounds out the flavor

Notes/Thoughts: For styles to use it in, I think anywhere you want a strong oat smell and grainy flavor it would work well, but in smaller doses (lighter flavored beers), a bit more heavy handed in darker styles. It does provide an interesting flavor and body to the beer, however by no means does i taste bad or weird, in fact I do like it, its just a bit light for me.

I could see using oat malt in smallish percentage in a saison, as it would probably add an oaty/earthiness to the beer. I would avoid styles with high hoppiness as I think if you used too much the graininess of the oat malt would clash with the hops. In general anywhere you want a rough around the edges taste/smell I think it could work very well.

if you decide to do a 100% oat malt beer, i would suggest having some amylase on hand to make things a bit easier

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