Friday, February 11, 2011

455. Jeffrey McElfresh Belgian Pale Ale

This beer, sadly, marks the conclusion of another Jeffrey McElfresh Homebrew Drinking Week. However, I would like to point out that if McElfresh was a state, it would rank above New Hampshire and below Massachusetts (and be tied with Delaware—take that Sam Calagione!) for the overall number of different beers we’ve had here at what we’re drinking. And that’s nothing to sneeze at. We’re rooting for McElfresh to challenge Oregon, Michigan, and maybe even California. Let’s get to work there, tiger. Time’s a wastin’. I’m already waiting for installment number three of JMHDW. Word!

McElfresh BPA pours a hazy copper—I’m guessing it would be a bit clearer, but since it is a tad overcarbonated, it drew the yeast up off the bottom of the bottle with the initial pour. The head is white and pretty mousse-y, but settles down given the time. McBPA has a toasted, bready malt nose along with fair amount of spicy and fruity notes—let’s just say that this beer certainly invokes Belgian with the ol’ magical sniffer. The front starts with a soft caramel and bready malt flavor before the orange/citrus fruit esters and spicy phenol flavors pick up in the middle. The middle is also leavened by a touch of bitterness before giving way to a slight touch of sweetness in the finish, followed by a dry lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is soft and creamy with a pleasant gentle carbonation. As the beer warms, a dry chalky mineral tang develops as a lingering presence in the back of the throat after the other flavors have passed along; it also has some warmth and astringency to it. I’m not sure what to make of this other than to guess that this is the cause of the overcarbonation. It is certainly out of character with the soft malt profile and the gentle balance of the rest of the beer—I was warned that something had “turned” in this beer, and when I had the same thing two weeks ago, it was much cleaner across the entirety of the beer’s profile. Nonetheless, the basic beer itself is solid minus the developing infection. I remain undeterred—bring it on, Jeffrey, I’m already longing for more.


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