First Grainfather brew: organoleptic testing

Before I went off to college I worked at a food science laboratory. The scientists would cook up foodstuffs in laboratory ovens and test the results for various characteristics. If the experiments involved something delicious like roast chicken, their reports would conclude that they’d carried out organoleptic tests, but never seemed to list the results, which puzzled me. I had to ask what it meant, which was, of course, that they’d eaten it.

We’ve been away for a couple of weeks, which has given our first Grainfather brew a chance to condition. I was all agog to try it.

Rolandiere 111a

Well, it looked good. Rather darker than I intended, with a creamy head with good retention. And it smelled healthy, with no mustiness or diacetyl taint. And, rather to my surprise after my difficulties with the fermentation vessel (watch this space for more details), it was pretty free of cloudiness if not crystal-clear.

Rolandiere 112a

And the taste? I wouldn’t be at all unhappy about being served that in a pub. Strong malty character, with a hint of liquorice and leather, and a long bitter aftertaste. Body just on the light side of medium, so there’s a nice balance in the mouth between refreshing and tasty. It’s about 5.5% ABV by my calculation, so a bit stronger than I’d aimed for, the extra alcohol attributable to the unexpectedly high efficiency of the Grainfather.

Would I make it again? Yes, but with modifications. I’d use a paler crystal malt, and perhaps more flavouring hops and fewer bittering hops. And I’d take account of the Grainfather’s performance and reduce the ABV to 4.5% or less.

But we’re very happy with our first effort.

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