Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beer Review: Allagash White (& robots too!)

While waiting for my batch of Witbier to ferment and condition, I figured I'd look for a quality example of the style at my local package store. My goal, beyond getting a few cold ones, was to have a good beer to compare with my own as a point of reference. After looking over what they had in stock at CT Beverage Mart, and cross referencing for positive reviews/scores on beeradvocate.com with my trusty Palm Treo, I finally settled on Allagash White. I wasn't disappointed, this is really good stuff, but it set the bar really high. Would my own brew hold its own? On to the review!

Beer: Allagash White

Some words from Allagash: Our interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer, Allagash White is unique and truly refreshing. Brewed with a generous portion of wheat and our own special blend of spices, this beer is light and slightly cloudy in appearance, with a spicy aroma. Overall, it is a beer that is very drinkable and smooth any time of the year.

Style: Witbier

Style Description from our friends at BeerAdvocate.com: A Belgian Style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that's used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel and other odd ball spices or herbs in the back ground. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation. This is one style that many brewers in the US have taken a liking to and have done a very good job of staying to style. Sometimes served with a lemon, but if you truly want to enjoy the untainted subtleties of this style you'll ask for yours without one. Often referred to as "white beers" (witbieren) due to the cloudiness / yeast in suspension.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%

(In this case, 5.0% abv)

The proper pouring technique indicated on the bottle, and yes, the picture is blurry...

How was it served? From a bottle
Glass: Weizen glass
Location of tasting: My kitchen
Reviewer: Bryon

OK, my pour sucked, and I look silly stirring the bottle, but such is life.
If only there were robots that could do this sort of dirty work for us.
And what a wonderful world that would be.
I know what you're thinking...
"It's a pipe dream, robots will never be pouring us beer!"
I guess I'm just a dreamer...

A note on pouring a wheat beer: Sometimes home brewed beers can have some sediment on the bottom of the bottle, and typically you may want to avoid pouring that last bit into the glass. But not the case with wheat beers. Here's some more info from Wikipedia...

Pouring wheat beer into the glass requires a bit of practice, as one has to avoid producing too much head. The two techniques are illustrated here, performed by industrial robots programmed by students of two Bavarian universities: This robot demonstrates the technique of holding the opening of the bottle close to the rim of the glass, while this robot uses the faster immersion technique preferred by bartenders. Note the swivelling of the nearly empty bottle: This serves to pick up the yeast, an important part to unfiltered beer's complete taste. (It should be noted that the outside of the bottle should never come into contact with either the glass or the beer in the glass, as is may be contaminated with dirt, exhaust fumes etc.)

Good Robot! Where can I get one of these things?

Stupid Cylon! Lets just pray this evil contraption never becomes self aware only to launch a full scale nuclear war on man kind!

On to the Review

1. Appearance -
A pale, cloudy, golden (straw-like) color, with an absolutely beautiful head that lasted all the way to the end. Using the proper pouring method allowed the inviting bits of curiosity to call out from their suspension within the delicious yet murky depths of the glass. The yeast worked their way down the glass in a ribbon like cloud, very interesting to watch, let alone drink.

Can you see the happy little yeast work it's way to the bottom?
This beer is almost as much fun to look at as it is to drink!

2. Smell - Despite my difficulties with sensing smell, this was by far the easiest beer for me to smell to date. I sent of the yeast and the malt reminded me of my experience with home brewing. I also detected a whiff of oatmeal and perhaps some coriander. (A note on smell - I have a very limited sense of smell, that comes and goes, so my opinions on beer smells should be taken with a grain of salt...)

3. Taste - Home made wheat bread, with a zesty twang, possibly from the some orange peal seasoning? While I did not taint the brew with a lemon or orange wedge, a citrus flavor was certainly detectable. Think wheat bread with orange marmalade. Other seasonings came through as well, perhaps coriander or clove. A tasty beer, but perhaps a little understated.

4. Mouthfeel - A light texture, but the carbonation was not as strong as I anticipated, despite the magnificent head. It goes down easy, very crisp and refreshing.

Another slightly blurry shot of the yeast working their magic.
, I'm obsessed!
But if that's wrong I don't want to be right...

5. Drinkability - I could enjoy a number of these on a nice Spring or Summer afternoon out on the deck while grilling up something to chow down. A great warm weather session beer.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: A solid 9!

Man that head just wont quit! Good to the last drop...

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