I am not one to leave loyal readers of the blog hanging. I am sure you are all absolutely dying to know how the beers I have chronicled brewing in the blog actually taste. As we go I will be doing “Tasting Notes” posts where I share my thoughts on how the beers actually come out.
The Pinch Hit Belgian Pale Ale pours a light amber color. There is a small white head that fades quickly. Clarity is decent, I probably could have decanted from the bottle a little more carefully. In a bottle conditioned beer there will be sediment at the bottom of the bottle. It won’t kill you, it’s actually high in B Vitamins, but it will make the poured beer cloudy if you don’t pour carefully.
The aroma has hints of pear with an underlying malt sweetness. As I would expect from an extract beer, the beer is medium-bodied. Given the 4.56% alcohol by volume (ABV), the beer is quaffable and finishes just dry enough that you want another sip. I think I had just enough of a late hop addition to add flavor and complexity.
The Belgian Ardennes yeast flavor is front and center. There is a spiciness, and I detect a subtle banana flavor, but none of it takes away from the drinkability. For a style that is an “everyday” beer in the Flemish provinces of Belgium it’s exactly as it should be. It’s not exactly the most complex beer in the world, but it was exactly what I hoped it would be. It’s a very good, very sessionable beer that I could drink all day. I shared a bottle this weekend at a get together and that seemed to be the consensus.
If anything, if I were to brew this again I might increase the ABV a touch to get it closer to 5.0%. The beer finished dark enough I could add a little more extract or base malt if I converted the recipe to all-grain. I am very happy with how it came out, and look forward to enjoying this beer over the next few months. Since it’s a five gallon batch, I have plenty to enjoy and share.