Ten gallons of beer is 80 pints, and we pounded all of them in a few short hours on Saturday. My retirement party was a smashing success and everyone loved the brews. The Blackhorse Ale was a smooth, easy-drinking, full-flavored porter that ticked the meter at about 5% abv. Perfect for a party. I really liked the way it came out. There was a nice complexity to the malt flavor, lots of interacting notes but none dominating. I think I got the bittering just right--you could really taste the malt but the beer wasn't sweet at all and had a clean, dry finish. I kept the mash temperature high on this one and got the body and mouthfeel I wanted. The XXX: Retirement Pale Ale was a different animal--I wanted something light and thirst-quenching. The final color was dark honey, or mostly golden with amber highlights from the crystal malt (actually CaraMunich). It was also a five-percenter as I'm a session ale sort of fellow. I added only homegrown Cascade hops and concentrated on flavor and aroma. I kept the bittering low, just enough to notice it but not assertive like in an IPA. I wanted the garden freshness to come through and it did! The nose was distinctive with some apple, grapefruit, and even a touch of pine. Again, the finish was crisp and dry, but this one had a nice lingering tingle on the tongue. The multiple straight-from-the-garden hop additions gave the beer a rough-around-the-edges quality, but the flip side was you could really taste all the flavors the cones had to offer. Two different but complementary brews. The only sad part is that there's none of it left to enjoy!
a.d. V Id. Iun.
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