Tasting Notes: Optic Extra Pale 18.12.13

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Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a little haze (not anymore after a few months in the fridge, as you can see above). Fluffy white head that stays around for a while.

Smell: I get a flowery, minty aroma from this, as well as a nice malty smell, like a sweet bread. This is much more like a lager than anything else I’ve made. It’s certainly hoppy, but there are no fruity, piney aromas like you would get in a new world IPA.

Taste: Initially balanced, with the hop bitterness really coming through in the finish. Quite dry. Very nice creamy texture.

Overall: A good beer, but somewhat subtle. The closest thing to an ‘easy drinker’ that I’ve produced.  Clear hop presence, but with a subdued aroma. I think the flaked barley had a big effect on the body of the beer, and I’ll likely use it in future IPAs.

I think the lesson here is that even if you use tons of them at flameout, old world hops will not produce the fruity, dank aromas you would expect in a modern IPA. It’s likely possible to get closer by using Goldings in place of Fuggles. I’ll attribute the nice oily mouthfeel to the flaked barley,  but I’m still curious about whether the bready aroma and flavour had much to do with it.

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