Finally, I got to taste the first of my latest brew: the Austin Homebrew Supply Belgian Noel. I intended to bring the beer along to family and friends over the holidays, but unfortunately, I forgot it at home! Fortunately I was able to taste a few bottles and bring several to local family just after Christmas – my tasting notes follow.
The beer pours a light, slightly cloudy brown color with a thin white head. I bottled this beer with varying levels of priming sugar to experiment with different levels of carbonation. The first bottle that I tasted was primed with 1.25 teaspoons of corn sugar.
Notes of muted banana and floral esters were present, but not particularly sweet. Maybe a little honey, but again, not sweet. Carbonation is lively and not overwhelming. Initial flavor is light but with a bite that slowly eases as the sip washes over the tongue. Mouthfeel is solid, if a little light – almost delicate. There is a hoppy finish that is slightly off at the end. Hops leave a slightly citrusy aftertaste, but also somewhat bitter.
The second bottle was primed with 1.5 teaspoons of corn sugar, which should have resulted in more carbonation, but actually made for a sweeter beer that was not more carbonated than the first bottles. This probably means that the beer needed more time in the bottle to finish fermenting. I’ll sample some more of these after another week or so.
The third bottle had only one teaspoon of priming sugar in the bottle. This bottle tasted undercarbonated. One and a quarter teaspoons of priming sugar and at least a week in the bottle seems to be the magic combination, although I still need to taste the more heavily primed bottles after some more time in the bottle to make the final call.