Sometimes it’s hard to deduct certain beer styles. Unless you look it up on Ratebeer or Beeradvocate, look at the side of your can or bottle.
The upcoming days I’m going post a couple of well known beerstyles here. I’ll try and assess the flavours, the colours, the aroma’s as good as possible. Yeah, I know, not every triple or I.P.A. is the same but like I said I’ll try.
Hopefully afterwards we can all be handed a glass without being told what’s in it and we can all do the assessment ourselves.
As a drinker of craft-beer I often read the label of the brew I’m enjoying. The label can tell a lot about what’s inside your bottle. I kept on coming across the words top fermentation and bottom fermentation. As curious as I am I did a little research and for all of you out there who, like me, don’t know what it means. Here’s what’s up.
Bottom fermentation or cool fermentation
Bottom fermentation is used for bock beers and pilsners. It is achieved by using the yeast type called Saccharomyces carlsbergensis. The fermentation takes place at a temperature varying from 4 - 12 °C. During the process the yeast slowly sinks to the bottom of the tank thus called bottom fermentation. Bottom fermenting beers are often low in alcohol.
Top fermentation or warm fermentation
Top fermentation does the exact opposite of the above. The yeast rests on top of the wort. The process takes place at tempratures varying from 15-25 °C by using Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. It is often applied to beers that are stronger in alcohol.
Apart from top and bottom fermenting beers there’s also another type called spontaneous fermentation. This doesn’t mean that it just starts turning it’s sugars into alcohol whenever he feels like it. No, here’s what’s happening.
When exposing beer to the open air it will develop natural yeast. This yeast will then chew on the tasty sugars and excrete alcohol. This process often takes place in open casks. Since the cask is open the carbonation escapes the sides turning the beer flat. Another disadvantage of brewing with an open cask is that it apart from yeast it can also attract a lot of other things you don’t want in your beer.
This type of fermentation is used by the creation of the classic Belgium lambiekbeers.
Colour: Amber ale with white head
Aroma: It reminded me of wheatcookies for babies, spicey, sweet, loads of caramel.
Taste: Caramel, cinnamon, spices, sweet, hint of sour perhaps.
Finish: Slightly bitter. Not heavy but not too light either.
Overall: This is a nice surprise. Being a winter beer it was to be expected that it would have a seasonal touch and so it does. The cinnamon and caramel make it a nice bitter for nights spend in front of a crackling fire. It might be a sweet beer but it’s not full on lemonade. It has a nice bitterness and a lovely 6,9%.
New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys brewers put a code on their Digital IPA. If you scan the code with your phone you’ll receive the recipe for the beer enabling you to brew it yourself!
Colour: Amber brownish with a creamy white head. A very hazy beer.
Aroma: Honey sweet with notes of tropical fruit.
Taste: I expected it to be more bitter but it’s bitter nonetheless, fruity, hoppy, spiced.
Finish: Bitter, quite bitter, not that bitter, but quite bitter.
Overall: I expected it to be more bitter. This beer reminds me of the Jopen Mooie Nel IPA which also features some honey notes. On the whole it is a bitter sweet beer which falls to the stomache like a brick.