Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wallonian Pale Ale (Batch 02): Tasting Notes

Here are the tasting notes for my second batch of Wallonian Pale Ale, which is aimed to be a hoppy farmhouse ale, merging the fruity, citrusy, tropical notes of American hops with tropical and earthy notes coming from our house blend of saison yeast, Brettanomyces, and other critters.  On the hop side, this batch included Amarillo, Belma, Citra, Columbus, and Mosaic.  I like trying to use a multitude of hops, and that way I can attempt to replicate an aroma/flavor profile based on what I have on hand.  The full recipe for the batch is here.

Appearance: Slightly hazy light orange color with a fluffy white head. Good retention and plenty of spotty lacing as it goes down.

Nose: Initial whiff is resinous hops. The Mosaic really comes through here. Tropical fruit, citrus pith, and pine come through underneath. Mango is prevalent alongside leafy hop goodness. As it warms, a bit more orange marmalade.

Flavor: Like the nose, hops hit hard on the front end with nice resin and pine, paired with an intense citrus character. Some light earthiness in the background. Bitterness is moderate, light considering that the flavor and aroma hops are well into the range of a Double IPA.

Mouthfeel: Light with very apparent bitterness. IBUs aren't terribly high, but the water profile and sub-1.005 terminal gravity really accentuate the bitterness. Extremely dry. Very faint tartness from the lactic acid bacteria in the blend coming through on the backend. I've heard people say that sour and butter don't go well together, but the very faint acidity works quite well alongside the dry bitterness, in my opinion. Carbonation is in between that of a standard pale ale and a saison, which seems about right here.

Overall: I'm extremely pleased with this and have been blowing through the keg. Luckily, it was a 10-gallon batch and I decided to bottle off the other half, conditioning with tropical fruit juice instead of table sugar.

I don't think there's much at all that I would change with this one. I'll mess around with the hops based on what I have on hand and what I haven't tried in a while, but this otherwise fits the bill of what I've been looking for -- a saison / IPA hybrid that fits within the farmhouse mold, but could be served to a broader set of drinkers than a wild saison. This will hopefully sit as part of the core lineup at the eventual taproom for Ambrosia Farmhouse Ales.


  1. Nice, theres a new hop called Mandarina Bavaria that is reported to have strong notes of tangerine, orange and citrus, Ive got a lb on the way to try

  2. Absolutely, those are on my list of new ones to try. I've been working down my stockpile of hops and have those and others among the new types I want to try when I make my next big order. Cheers!