After much of almost exclusively my own anticipation, I finally cracked opened one the recently-brewed Robust Porters for a tasting. Aside from the fact that it’s the first dark beer I’ve ever brewed, it’s also my first all-grain result.
When I opened the first one it had been conditioning for 3 weeks. Most of them have too little priming sugar in it, so I expected a low level of carbonation.
Head – it’s light brown with an average, mostly diminishing size. The rocky texture looks sexy while it lasts, but the lacing leaves a pretty clean glass.
Body – black as night and reveals a faint red glow, but only against a harsh source of light.
Particles therefore are indiscernable, even though it’s bottle conditioned (until you get to the bottom of the glass – there they are, rather large).
How good looking is the beer? 3 of 5, I’d say – no better or worse than some of the run-of-the-mill, comercial craft porter’s I’ve tried. I’d aim for a long lasting head and better lacing next time, also perhaps something not quite as pitch black.
Malt – Wilson Toffees – that’s the first impression on the nose. It also smells slightly burnt, with an aroma caused by the dark malts – tang; perhaps not, but I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not an off aroma though.
Hops – there is very little hopsdiscernibleon the nose, which is intentional as I only used a tad of Northern Brewer at the start of the boil for a slight bitterness.
Yeast – I’m still unable to identify yeast in aromas in general, so I can’t really comment on this. There’s no bread, dough, leather or soap aromas though.
How much of an aromatic adventure is the beer? Out of 10 I’d say a 4 – it could be more interesting.
Initial – on the tip of the tongue it half promises something sweet, but then that tanginess quickly changes your mind and the slight bitterness sets it in. Makes you want to take another sip to double check.
Finish – the finish has a decent bitterness without being overwhelming, and a light astringency. Not too long lasting, the astringency is similar to that of a dark roasted espresso.
How much of a tastesensationis the beer? 4 out of 10. I’m not a fan of the burnt flavour or theaccompanyingastringency. I’ll tone both of those down in the next batch.
The body is much lighter than I had intended, with a watery texture.
Due to the low level of priming sugar, the carbonation is predictably flat, which wouldn’t be disappointing if the body wasn’t so light.
The finishastringencyis moderate and the ABV ended up being only 4.5%, so alcohol in the finish is hardly noticeable.
Out of 5 I’d rate the palate a 2. It’s pleasant enough, but needs needs work.
Overall, and considering it’s my first dark and all-grain attempt, I think it went about as well as expected. There’s much to tweak and learn, of course, but this is the fun part of the journey.
On to the Robust Porter v2.