Brew-in-Review Volume 1: 9.2.5 XPA (Part Two)

Last Thursday evening, nine people joined Kat and I to review the three brews featured in the blind tasting of our 9.2.5 XPA. Our tasting panel had a variety of experience with tasting beers, from first timers to very experienced beer and wine tasters. We had avid homebrewers, new brewers and some who will probably never brew a day in their life come out for our first Brew-in-Review tasting. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported.

A quick overview of the beer itself:

9.2.5 XPA

ABV- 4.4%
IBU -12
SRM- 6.4
OG- 1.042
FG- 1.009
Hops – Columbus, Amarillo, Centennial and Citra
Malts – Pilsner, Cdn Wheat, flaked wheat Munich 1, Crystal 120, and Chocolate
Note: the full recipe will be posted shortly in the all-grain recipe section of the website.

This beer was purposely created with a very low amount of hops to see how much the yeast would affect the overall flavour. We wanted some hop flavour to come out, but not enough for a punch in the mouth.

Overview 

All tasters were given 3oz samples, freshly poured from the draught fridge by yours truly. I also provided a brief introduction to the style, and led a debrief of the yeasts at the end of the night. The tasting was facilitated by Kat, who provided tasting tips to those who needed a bit of coaching. After completing a full set of judging comments for each beer, the tasters ranked them from 1st to 3rd. The table below breaks down the final results. It is important to note that, overall, the spread between first place and last was only two points.

 

Scored 1st
3 points per vote

Scored 2nd
2 points per vote

Scored 3rd
1 point per vote

BRY-97 Danstar

2

6

1

WLY001

3

2

4

US-05 Safale

4

1

4

Sample #1: Danstar BRY-97 – 19 points – 1st Place

This beer came out with the most fruity esters. The consensus was on citrus and heavy grapefruit notes, which were definitely in place from the hops, though we also found that this beer had more yeasty characters. The BRY-97 was also noted as having the highest bitterness of the three.

I would use BRY-97 for big, hoppy IPAs where you are looking to get punchy bitterness. I would also use this yeast for English/American crossover hoppy beers, since this yeast does show its face with the fruity esters and does not just drop off in the background.

Sample #2: White Labs WLY001 – 17 points – 3rd Place

This beer came out the cleanest of the three. A few people picked up on mineral notes, but not enough for it to be called a common tasting note. The water used for this brew was only slightly doctored with phosphoric acid to help control pH.  

I think this beer was the least favorite because it did not seem to be as flavourful as the other two beers in direct comparison. The lack of flavour that some tasters noted could have been due to a combination of the relatively mild yeast with the lesser amount of hops that I chose to use in an effort to emphasize the contributions of each yeast. I would use 001 in any beer where I didn’t want the yeast to be prevalent. It is a great yeast for hop forward ales; and would certainly work well in a more aggressively hopped XPA. Even though it technically came in last during the blind tasting, it was my personal choice as the best overall beer.

Sample #3: Safale US-05 - 18 points – 2nd Place

This was a polarizing beer; people either liked it the most, or liked it the least. A common note that came out was a stonefruit sweetness, along with citrus highlights.  

I would use 05 in, once again, hoppy beers. In this case, though, I would probably go more towards an American red ale. This would allow me to play into the sweet characteristics it seems to foster, while also allowing room for a prevalent hop profile.

 

Thanks again for all the support with our first blind tasting. Be sure to check the blog regularly for information about future tastings. If you have any questions, shoot me an email at rob@shortfingerbrewing.com or post to the comments.

Cheers,
Rob


Rob Hern
Rob Hern

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