Saturday, November 21, 2009

144. Bell’s Sparkling Ale

Bell’s is back; this one was one neither of us had tried before, so we had to give it a run. This is beer number 7 from Bell’s: our list includes Winter Wheat, Christmas Ale, Third Coast Ale, Oberon, Octoberfest, and Two Hearted.

Sparkling Ale is a brilliantly clear yellow gold with a light white head that profusely laces the glass. The nose is grainy and bready along with a good dose of Belgian-style yeast esters, mainly banana and some sourness. Sparkling Ale starts with a small bit of acidity followed by a sweet dry malt and candy sweetness in the front; the middle moves into fruit—including apple, pear, and strawberry-like flavors from brighter fruits—along with some metallic tangs and spicy flavors, and closes with some bitterness mixed with candy sweetness and light alcohol sweetness. Sparkling Ale has a medium body and a dry but sweet mouthfeel mixed with a medium carbonation bite. The body is lightened by the carbonation, although there is a bit of creamy fruitiness as well. A good beer, but not as complex or rich as some Belgian triples. Also, we’re not sure what makes this an American Triple, besides being made in America.

From the bottle: “Fill your glass and toast your friends with this special brew. Our take on a ‘glass of bubbly,’ Sparkling Ale is an American Triple—light in color with a subtle fruit body.”

There is nothing about Sparkling Ale on the Bell’s website.

ABV: 9.0%

Today’s BJCP class focused on answering the Exam Recipe Question. We concentrated on breaking the question into the component parts—giving style parameters, identifying the basic brewing parameters, selecting the proper quantity and style of ingredients, and selecting the proper procedures for the style (mash procedures, for example)—and then how to best calculate grain and hop volumes and types to correspond with the assigned style. We practiced constructing a couple of recipes, and talked about the need to keep the recipe simple—unless you know the ins and outs of a style, extra information will probably bite you in the ass.

Our beer sampling today involved sours and a smoked beer:
17B. Flanders Red Ale: Duchesse de Bourgogne
17C. Flanders Brown Ale (Oud Bruin): Liefman’s Oud Bruin
17D. Lambic: no good examples—the Boon Kriek did double duty
17E. Gueuze: Boon Gueuze
17F. Fruit Lambic: Boon Kriek
22. Smoked: Schlenkerla Marzen Rauchbier


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