August 4, 2011

Thunderbolt Pale Ale: Hop Substitution Experiment - UPDATE

Thunderbolt, the pale ale
Tasting notes for my Thunderbolt Pale Ale, using a blend of hops to approximate the profile of Simcoe: 

7/11: 1.5 weeks in primary - 1.009 gravity. Hop bitterness is nearly the same as the original recipe. Centennial & Mt. Hood flavor totally unabridged. Hop aroma seems to be leaning toward pine, though at this early in fermentation it's not all that different from the aroma profile of the original recipe. Secondary transfer 7/12.

7/17: 1 oz. Columbus added to secondary. Estimated 7.7% ABV.

7/22: Dry hopping & secondary has mellowed the piney characteristic to a lull. Simcoe flavor is well-replicated, if only very slightly muted by the substitution blend. Really, there's little difference from earlier Thunderbolt brews.

Thunderbolt, the siren
7/29: First pint from the carbonated keg (3.0 vols CO2). Cleanly bitter, big malt character has a clean caramel taste, finish is balanced by lots of orange-like citrus hop flavor. Resinous hop character plays second fiddle to the orange/grapefruit/misc. old fruit aromas. Real Simcoe would have given more resin aroma, but the final beer is hardly deficient in that regard. Good yellow-orange color with a respectable white head. The finish leaves a pine flavor, yielding to citrus-zesty coating on the back of the mouth.

It seems the Simcoe substitute blend did well for the T-bolt. I give thumbs up to the blend. Brew on!

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