The more beer you drink, the more you notice things– my latest fixation has been texture or mouthfeel in a beer. People will describe beer as chewy or smooth, dry or creamy. (I enjoy looking at the flavor wheel. It’s a bit like a diagram an ex of mine had with emotions clearly labeled. It was supposed to help him talk about his feelings. I liked to put together the worst combination of emotions possible, and I do the same thing with the beer wheel! Mouthcoatingly-solventlike-cooked veg, anyone?) Italo Calvino once said that one of the most admirable qualities of good writing was lightness.
The same can’t be said about beer. Or can it? Yesterday I had some Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout. It’s an imperial stout, my favourite style of beer. I should have loved it but I couldn’t finish it. It was just…so…sludgy. With a weird mineral tang that distracted me from what should have been round, chocolaty warmth.
Still, it reminded me that beer is a mystery. This stout is a polar opposite of the Brew Dog IPA I had last week. No matter how many beers you try, there is always the possibility of tasting something new. What other beverage can claim such a thing?
And also a complete contrast to the stout is my own beer I just bottled. It was my first solo batch– the batch I brewed without my friend Bob. I tasted it before putting it in the secondary fermenter and it is light in color and body, and gently carbonated. Though I used the mild recipe it is nothing like a mild. The water here is very different than LA water. Also, I had to substitute different grains and spray malt (DME), and I’ll admit finding the ingredients and equipment here has not been easy. I bottled the beer using some janky make-shift siphon purchased at Wilco because I couldn’t find a regular stick filler. But hey, it tasted good, and hopefully after bottling it will taste even better but who knows? I’m worried that if it carbonates more during bottle fermentation I’m going to have some really lively beer on my hands.
How important is mouthfeel to you in a beer? What kind of carbonation is too much? How heavy is too heavy? Have you ever had what’s described as a ‘powdery’ beer?