Last night, I opened the first bottle of the Carmelite Triple Grain Tripel I made to celebrate the end of the world last year. It’s absolutely sensational, and one of the best beers I’ve ever made. Its color and clarity exceeded my expectations, and the balance of yeast esters and alcohol warmth is delightful. I can tell that it probably wants another week or so to condition the alcohol and smooth it out a bit, and when that happens … boy, it’s going to be challenging to not just dive into the whole thing and go to town. I kind of wish there was a competition I could enter it in, just so I can get some feedback from someone with BJCP. If you have the patience to make it and let it condition for two months, I highly recommend it.
Speaking of competitions, in the next few days I’m going to deliver my Patient Zero Pale Ale to Golden Road for the pro-am competition. I went ahead and kegged the portion that I thought was infected (but hoped was okay) and … well, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with it. There’s definitely something a little off, but it isn’t ruined. In fact, I’m going to brew it again and make sure that it stays healthy, because I believe the recipe is solid. I’m really glad that I did the dry-hopped gallon, because I opened a bottle of that last night and OH MY GOD SWEET HOPPY JESUS IS IT GOOD. The hop aroma is just magnificent (and makes me think that the mystery hop is some kind of New Zealand Cascade), even if it’s just a little bit too much. I used 3/4 of an ounce for the gallon, and if I did it again, I’d probably pull that back to 1/2 or so, just so that it doesn’t overwhelm the malt profile. Still, it’s a great beer and even if I don’t make it past the first round, it’s something I’ll be brewing again (dry-hopped and not).
In the next day or so, I’ll be racking my Pliny the Elder clone (which I call Pompey the Great — bonus points if you can figure out why) to secondary for five freaking ounces of dry hops. I lifted the lid of the fermenter when I moved it to my racking station (kitchen counter) and it looks and smells great. I’m really excited about that.
Finally, the Mystery Parti-gyle just isn’t working out. It’s way too bitter for the malt profile, and it has this bready, doughy taste underneath the bitterness that I just don’t like. If it was the 17th century and we needed it for survival, I’d keep it, but life’s too short in these modren times to drink crummy beer, even if it’s beer you made yourself. So that’s going to the Land of Wind and Ghosts as soon as I need the keg. Oh well. I did learn a lot from that whole experience, so it wasn’t entirely wasted.