Saturday 12 December 2009

The Panel Has Spoken

The results are in from the flavour panel Christmas tasting. Here’s how the individual beers were rated.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis 6/10
Comments: Good attempt at Heffeweizen. Light and refreshing. Saccharine sweetness lacked bitterness and moreishness.

Abbaye Des Rocs Blanche de Honelles 7/10
Comments: Dry grainy aroma with spices not especially inviting, very complex taste. Feels much more alive and natural than the Kellerweis.

Belgium 1 – USA 0
Sierra Nevada Pale 5.1/10
Comments: Hops and not much else. Very and quick to finish and too bitter for the lady panellists.

Orval 6.1/10
Comments: Smells like cider incontinence pants.
Promising aroma let down by taste. Finish not good with saccharine and puckering bitterness. Unusual!

Belgium 2 – USA 0

Odell St Lupulin 5.9/10
Comments: Stunning hop rub aroma. Flavour lets the beer down. Harsh metallic middle and very little in finish. One dimensional.

Dupont Avec les Bon Voeux 8.7/10
Comments: Universally loved. Complex, alive, balanced dangerously moreish. Accomplished beer.

Belgium 3 – USA 0

Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel 6.9/10
Comments: Nice aroma of hops and grains. Good balance in the mouth. Pleasant bittersweet finish. A sound beer but nothing special.

Maredsous Tripel 8/10
Comments: Lovely fruit and alcohol aroma. Rich but balanced in the mouth. Wonderfully warming finish. Very good.

Belgium 4 – USA 0

Struise Pannepeut 6.9/10
Comments: Dark oxidised aroma. Thick earthy flavour. Dirty finish. Tastes like an ok homebrew. Cloying

Stone Double Bastard 7.6/10
Comments: Stunning hop and roast aroma. Tons of flavour. Too bitter and flavoursome for some of the panel.

Belgium 4 – USA 1

Dog Fish Head Palo Santa Marron 8.1/10
Comments: Smells like Parma Violets. Stunning aroma. Wine like body. Loads of flavour . Like drinking perfume

Dubuisson Bush Ambree 8.6/10
Comments: This is special! Far too drinkable for a 12% beer. Lovely hop flavour without the bitterness. Smashing!

Belgium 5 – USA 1

Summary of findings

US beers seemed more synthetic and the flavours were too brash. They almost seemed to be trying too hard to impress. The very highly hopped beers divided opinion some loved them, some hated them none of the panel were on the fence. The Belgian beers were more subtle and refined. The Belgian brewers seemed to be trying to make strong beer easier to enjoy whereas the US brewers seem to be engaged in a race to squeeze as much flavour into the beer as possible. The analogy used was Belgian beers were like eating a good homemade soup where as the US beers were like eating a stock cube.


ZakAvery said...

That's a very intersting post Stuart, and quite surprising. I'd have expected the American beers to fare a bit better, as they tend to play to the grandstand a bit. I guess the tasting panel are a bit more sophisticated than that.

Stuart Howe said...

I was quite surprised as well. I think the panel have quite conservative palates. They are trained and selected to appreciate sublte flavour changes in session beers so the wild and intense flavours in the american beers could be a too far removed from their idea of a good beer.

MicMac said...

Hi again Stuart,
I'm surprised too, as some of the US breweries have really decent reputations, though perhaps the actual figures don't quite support the "good soup v. chewing on an oxo" analogy :~) -

(The Yanks had a 6.5 average, The Belgies had 7.5)

I finally got around to tasting my bottle of Stone IPA last week - stunning stuff, big, but unlike some US beers, really quite balanced.

Have you heard the mad story about how the Dogfish beer came about? (after being inspired by a wood flooring expert & beer fan, they commissioned 2 new wooden tuns, one in oak, the other made from a frankincense-like Paraguayan wood called Palo Santo - really worth a look at the vid
(search youtube for "Dogfish Head ~ Palo Santo Marron")

It's suitably nuts, but fascinating stuff.


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