The Kiev and the Stouts

The day before my Birthday, the friend casually texted me saying he might have a surprise “if it comes out right”, and asked if I will be home around dinner time the following day. His inquiry seemed rather ambiguous, so I dismissed it as a common courtesy. I was quite surprised when he, his wife and daughter appeared at my doorstep with a cake box. After a short visit and many thanks on my part they left and I had the Kiev, a Soviet classic hazelnut flavored cake with an offensive amount of butter, sugar and a rich nutty chewy filling, all to myself. Finding such a cake under a glass of a Japanese pâtisserie is impossible. As a consequence, my friend’s wife, an experienced home baker, made one from scratch!

This Kiev cake followed a traditional Soviet recipe. The egg yokes for one of the frostings are conditioned over night. Crushed whole hazelnuts and hazelnut baking flour is used. It’s small but fierce and physically very heavy – because its mostly sugar, butter and nuts.

Being a beer connoisseur, I immediately started thinking about beers that could work well with the cake flavors and took upon myself the mission to do as many beer and cake pairings as I can. Here are my tasting notes:

Mikkeller Baghaven – I Found My Thrill 7.4% ABV

I Found My Thrill is a Danish wild ale aged for 30 months in French Oak Foeders on locally grown Blueberries. This deep burgundy colored, refreshing and highly effervescent light-bodied ale with plain yogurt sourness, delicate blueberry and oak flavors has a whiff of a rustic Danish barn to it. Buttery sweetness of the Kiev is contrasted by a tangy blueberry yogurt and lightly puckering oak tannins. The carbonation lifts the buttery fats from the palate making you ready for more cake.

Paulaner Brauerei – Paulaner Salvator 7.9% ABV

Salvator pours mahogany with a lightly tan head. Rich biscuit, caramel and toffee aromas with some floral notes on the nose. Similar malt forward nutty and biscuit flavors are barely balanced by high and clean floral bitterness. The body is medium and smooth. The finish is brief with biscuit like malts and clean bitterness. The Kiev is showcasing the Salvator’s bitterness and slightly overpowers the beers flavors. The hazelnuts somewhat complement beer’s nutty and biscuit flavors, while the bitterness is contrasted by cake’s sugar and carbonation is scrubs the palate.

Different kinds of nut flavors in the beer worked well with Kiev’s hazelnut and intense dark roasted coffee flavors of big and high ABV beers wonderfully demonstrated the cutting powder of the bitter coffee with sweet desserts.

Miyazaki Hideji Beer – Kuri Kuro (Dark Chestnut Ale) 9% ABV

Kuri Kuro pours an opaque very dark brown with a fluffy tan head and has a cocoa nibs, nuttiness and sweet caramel bouquet with butterscotch notes. The dark chocolate, coffee, chestnut, caramel and toffee malt flavors are dominating. There is a light stale note, but its not unappealing. The body is medium to full and oily. When I had the ale fresh, there was an alcohol-like roughness in the finish, but after cellaring it for a year, the roughness has mellowed out – aging it was a good decision. Similar yet different chestnut and hazelnut flavors work well together. The lightly sweet beer accentuates the buttery hazelnut like sweetness, while the cake makes the coffee like and cola nut like beer nuttiness stand out. Light to medium carbonation is cleansing the palate of the slick butter leaving a long and lightly warming hazelnut buzz. A great pair!

Heretic Brewing – Shallow Grave Porter 7% ABV

The Shalow Grave pours a dark brown with mahogany tint and a fluffy tan head. It has aromas of nuttiness, cola and French roast espresso. Burnt toast, caramel, butterscotch and nutty flavors play on the palate. Smooth, chewy and silky medium to full body makes it quite drinkable. The Porter has a brief finish of dry roasted coffee, caramel and nuts. The French roast espresso contrasts with Kiev’s buttery hazelnut sweetness. The low carbonation and the sturdy body of the beer makes the pairing very satisfying – you can’t stop the teaspoon of cake followed by a sip of beer repetition.

Mikkeller – Beer Geek Cocoa Shake 12.1% ABV

The Cocoa Shake pours an opaque very dark brown with a dark tan head. It has a rich Swiss milk chocolate bar and vanilla ice-cream like aroma with notes of soy-sauce. The flavors are similar with the addition of caramel and toffee. The body is silky and full and the carbonation is low to none. The finish is very long warm and drying, full of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Intensity-wise, both the Kiev and the Shake are similar. The cake’s hazelnut buttery sweetness is contrasted by a dark chocolate, cocoa powder and roasted coffee. Beer’s vanilla complements the buttery Kiev sweetness and the high ABV cuts the cake butter. Both the cake and the beer are desserts which could be had on their own. Having both together is an intense experience and is quite a treat.

Belching Beaver – Peanut Butter Milk Stout 5.3% ABV

Dark brown with a fleeting tan head, this milk stout has aromas of cocoa, chocolate, cola and Resee’s cups. Ritch cocoa, dark chocolate, Resee’s and nutty roasted malts dominate the palate. Silky smooth and slick medium to full body has normal carbonation and a cappuccino-like dry roasted coffee finish. Hazelnut and peanut flavors work well together and if you have the cake first, there is a smooth transition from former to latter. Bitter roasted coffee and dark chocolate contrast the buttery cake sweetness and the palate is refreshed by carbonation. A great pair.

Stone Brewing – Espresso Totalitarian 10.6% ABV

The Espresso Totalitarian has a very fluffy dark tan head and pours an opaque black. It has aromas of nuttiness, caramel syrup, cappuccino foam, clean noble hop floral spiciness with a charred campfire-like note. The nutty, chocolate, cola like malts transition to a medium roast espresso flavor. Body is full and carbonation is normal. The bitterness is assertive. Warming and drying, French roast espresso bitterness with soy sauce like notes persists in the finish. Kiev’s buttery sweetness is cut by Totalitarian’s extreme bitterness which is coming from roasted coffee and hops combined. This is a great example why bitter coffee works well with sweet desserts – the cutting, or the extreme contrast of flavors, is very exhilarating and pleasurable.

Crooked Stave – Coffee Baltic Porter 8% ABV

A drinkable, full bodied, smooth and lightly oily Baltic Porter pours a very dark brown with a tan head. It has aromas of nuttiness, cola, dark chocolate and espresso. Both dark and milk chocolate flavors are followed by a dry and warming chocolate and espresso finish with a campfire like note. Intensity-wise the cake and the porter are quite similar. Buttery and sweet hazelnut is complemented by the dark bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee of the beer and a unique mocha-like flavor is created. Excellent.

Smog City – Coffee Porter 6% ABV

Aromas of dark chocolate, French roast coffee, caramel with charred charcoal-like notes, bitter espresso, cacao powder and dark chocolate-like flavors, smooth and silky smooth body make this very dark brown with tints of ruby porter yet another good pairing. Carbonation is low to medium and bitterness is medium to high to which the roasted malts contribute. Finish is brisk with cappuccino and dark chocolate and has a very dry and roasty note. The cake accentuates the roasted acidic bitter espresso and brings forth Porter’s caramel and toffee like notes. The contrast between the buttery sweet hazelnut and the bitter coffee is quite enjoyable. Interestingly, when the cake is gone, the beer by itself becomes quite bitter, so, you need to time your eating and drinking to finish at the same time.

Fremont Brewing – Dark Star 8% ABV

Dark Star has a very creamy cappuccino and milk chocolate bouquet with a light roasty notes. A rich coffee-like malts and oatmeal flavors of this very dark brown Imperial Stout are balanced by a high to assertive clean bitterness. Its body is medium to full and silky with oats. Coffee flavors in the finish are brief, however a warming and dry roasted note remains. Cappuccino and oatmeal make hazelnut to take the spotlight and linger on the palate. The bitter and drying coffee is contrasted by the cake’s sweetness. Its flavors pass gently into hazelnut, which makes the beer’s caramel-like notes shine trough. Similarly to Smog City’s Coffee Porter, when the cake is gone, the roasty note in the finish becomes assertive.

Conclusion

The most memorable pairings were Kuri Kuro, Peanut Butter Milk Stout, Beer Geek Cocoa Shake and Espresso Totalitarian. Different kinds of nut flavors in the beer worked well with Kiev’s hazelnut and intense dark roasted coffee flavors of big and high ABV beers wonderfully demonstrated the cutting powder of the bitter coffee with sweet desserts. The least favorable pairings were I Found My Thrill and Salvator. Although there was a contrast between the dry and tart blueberry yogurt of the Danish ale and the sweet buttery hazelnut, intensity-wise it was a mismatch. A lightly flavored shortcake with fresh berries could have been more fitting. Doppelbock’s mildly sweet biscuit and caramel flavors were overpowered by Kiev’s richness. The lager contrasted the cake with hop bitterness and scrubbed the buttery palate with carbonation, but nothing more. If anything could be learned from this experiment is that beer and cake can create wonderful pairings and at least, the staple pairing of vanilla ice-cream and stout, separately or as a ice-cream float in the beer, should be tried by everyone.

正しくビールを注ぎましょう。

業者の皆さんにお願いします。ビールを注ぐ時にグラスに蛇口先をつけるとグラスにキズが付き易くなります。又、蛇口先が液体と泡に触れたら蛇口内側にビールが残りバクテリアが発生し易くなります。これはビールライン汚染の原因の一つと考えられています。ビールを注ぐ時の注意ポイント:

  1. 必ず、両手を使う。タップハンドルに片手とグラスに片手。
  2. 蛇口先にグラス又はビールが触れてはダメ。

下記の様な注ぎ方はダメですね。

正しくビールを注ぎましょう。

シセロン

シセロン(Cicerone)とは2007年創設のシセロン認定資格プログラム(Cicerone® Certification Program)のビールソムリエの呼称資格である。この資格プログラムはレイ・ダニエルズ(Ray Daniels – 醸造者組合の代表)によってイリノイ州シカゴ市にて創設され、その理念は今日の幅広い種類のビールの選択、取得及び提供において、実績のあるプロを育てるということだ。ソムリエの呼称資格(sommelier)はワイン専門家の認定資格であり、2007年までは業界に認められているビール専門家の認定資格はなかった。シセロンの認定制度は最も下のレベルの認定ビールサーバーから(Craft Beer Server、以下CBS)、認証シセロン(Certified Cicerone®、以下CC)、アドバンスドシセロン(Advanced Cicerone®,以下 AC)、そして最も高いレベルのマスターシセロン(Master Cicerone®, MCの省略)の4つから成る。シセロン認定プログラムは世界中のクラフトビール業界に受け入られ、創設から11年後の現時点ではCBS認定資格者11万人、CC認定資格者3800人、AC認定資格118人、MC認定資格者18人が誕生している。

シセロンの定義

シセロン認定資格プログラムにてシセロン呼称資格は、今日の幅広いビール種類の選択、仕入れ、及び提供において実績のあるホスピタリティのプロフェッショナルを言う。 シセロンとして認められるにはCC試験認定資格を得るかAC又はマスターシセロンMCとしてより高いレベルの商標名認定資格を得る必要がある。 基本的なレベルの専門知識を持っている人は、初級レベルのCBSを獲得することによって認められている。

1. CBS認定資格 – ビールの仕事に携わる人のための一般レベルの認定

『素晴らしいビールを提供するにはまず基本から始まる。清潔なグラス、適切な注ぎ方、不適切な取り扱いによって台無しになってないビールだ。 そして今日のビール界では、バーテンダーとお客様間のあらゆる対話はビアスタイルと風味の話しから始まる。認定ビールサーバーの試験では、これらのスキルを評価して、今日の幅広い種類のビールを提供する準備ができている人を認定する。』 注1

CBS認定試験にはテイスティング試験は無く、英語が理解できれば、業界経験や事前知識を持たなくても200ドルを支払い申請すれば誰でもネットで受験ができる。申請すればすぐにシセロンホームページのインタラクティブな勉強教材システムであるビアサビー(BeerSavy、ビール通と言う)に3か月間にアクセスできる。その間、教材で勉強し、シセロンのホームページにてCBS認定試験を受験することができる。200ドルの申請料は初回の受験料込みとなっており2回目からは別途支払いが必要だ。また受験は2回しかできない。英語ネイティブには勉強時間5~8時間で十分なはずだが、第2言語の方はもう少し掛かるだろう。制限時間は30分で60問の選択問題の試験で合格基準は75点以上だ。勉強を始める前に試験に出る内容をシラバスにて確認した方が良い。合格すれば数週間後にピンとバッジがアメリカから届く。

CBSのバッジとピンです。

2. CC認定資格 – ビールの専門家を対象とした認定資格

『ビールに携わる仕事をするプロフェショナルを対象としたこの認定資格を取得するとシセロンの呼称資格を獲得できる。 現在この認定資格はバーテンダーからビール醸造所の社長まで業界のほぼすべての役割で3,800人以上の人々が獲得している。ビールのキャリアを追求する人々は様々な情報源から学び、彼らはすぐにカウンターの「お客様」側の人々と一線を画した知識を蓄積する。 しかし、認定資格プログラムが無くては履歴書と名刺を見るだけで本当の知識レベルを見分けるのは難しい。』 注2

CBS合格者はシセロン呼称が与えられる訳ではなく、CC試験を合格しなければならない。CC認定試験は制限時間4時間で筆記試験160問(筆記試験)と小論文3問およびテイスティング(官能評価)試験12問と録画されるデモンストレーション1問から成る。テイスティング試験はオフフレーバー4問、ビアスタイル4問、このビールを提供すべきか否かの4問に分かれている。試験点数は筆記66.75%、小論文12.50%、デモンストレーション4.0%、テイスティング16.75%と計算され、受験料は395ドル、筆記試験のみの再受験は175ドル、テイスティングのみの再受験が100ドルとなる。合格基準は筆記試験80点以上、テイスティング70点以上であり、いずれが不合格の場合、3年の間に不合格分の再受験が必要となる。現在アジアでは香港と韓国で年1~2回の受験が可能だが、残念ながら日本では開催されていない。

5つの試験テーマと問題の割合
  1. ビールの取扱いと提供(Keeping & Serving Beer) (25%)
  2. ビアスタイル(Beer Styles) (25%)
  3. 風味と官能評価(Flavor & Tasting) (25%)
  4. 醸造工程と材料(Brewing Process and Ingredients) (15%)
  5. フードペアリング(Beer & Food Pairing) (10%)

CBS合格済みが前提条件でCC認定試験の内容はCBSと全く違う高い知識レベルを認める試験である。CBS合格後1~2年の勉強時間が必要であるとシセロンホームページに記載されており、個人的な経験で言えばCC合格には10ヶ月を要した。勉強を始める前にCC認定試験のシラバス研究リソースページ主要なリソースページを確認し、勉強のための必要な本と教科書を買った方が良いだろう。個人的にはRoad To Ciceroneという教科書が大変役に立った。なお、シセロン認定プログラムはBCJPビアスタイルガイドラインに基づく。日本地ビール協会のビアテイスターとビアジャッジ認定試験のBAビアスタイルガイドラインとは異なるガイドラインだ。受験1か月後に試験結果の通知がメールで送信され、合格の場合はピンとバッジが2か月後にアメリカから届く。

CBS合格者はシセロン呼称が与えられる訳ではなく、CC試験を合格しなければならない。CC認定試験は制限時間4時間で筆記試験160問(筆記試験)と小論文3問およびテイスティング(官能評価)試験12問と録画されるデモンストレーション1問から成る。テイスティング試験はオフフレーバー4問、ビアスタイル4問、このビールを提供すべきか否かの4問に分かれている。試験点数は筆記66.75%、小論文12.50%、デモンストレーション4.0%、テイスティング16.75%と計算され、受験料は395ドル、筆記試験のみの再受験は175ドル、テイスティングのみの再受験が100ドルとなる。合格基準は筆記試験80点以上、テイスティング70点以上であり、いずれが不合格の場合、3年の間に不合格分の再受験が必要となる。現在アジアでは香港と韓国で年1~2回の受験が可能だが、残念ながら日本では開催されていない。

シセロンのバッジとピンです。

3. AC認定資格 – 独特の専門知識とテイスティングスキルの称号

『ACはシセロン認定プログラムの3番目の認定レベルだ。 それは消費者と醸造者の両方の語彙を使用してビールの風味の認知とそれを表現するための優れた能力と同様に、ビールのしっかりした理解と特有の専門知識を必要とする。』注3

CCの合格が前提条件となりAC認定試験は更に幅広い知識が求められる試験である。主要なリソースページにて本24冊と他の教科書、リソースを加算した32件の資料を参考にした勉強が推奨されている。CC試験より厳しく1日がかりの試験になり、複数の筆記試験と口頭試験、テイスティング試験に分かれている。受験料は795ドル、筆記試験のみまたはテイスティングのみの再受験は各375ドルとなっている。合格基準は筆記試験80点以上、テイスティング75点以上であり、いずれが不合格の場合、3年の間に不合格分の再受験が必要となる。現在アメリカとイギリスでしか受験できない。勉強する前にシラバスの確認をした方が良いだろう。

4. MC認定資格 – ビールの専門知識の最高峰のテスト

『マスターシセロンはシセロン認定プログラムの最高レベルの認定資格である。醸造工程とビアスタイルとペアリングについての卓越した理解を有し、優秀なテイスティング能力と商業的なビールに関する博学な知識を併せ持つ。マスターシセロン認定試験ではビールのあらゆる技術的側面および美的側面を習得する事が試される。 候補者は、仲間としてプロフェッショナルの醸造者やシェフと会話し、熟練した品質管理パネルメンバーのテイスティング能力を証明しながら、明確かつ解り易い言葉で消費者と話す必要がある。 これらのスキルを持つ人々は、様々な組織のコンサルタント、教育者、およびナレッジリーダーとして業界に貢献する。 』 注4

MC認定試験はイリノイ州シカゴ市のシセロン認定プログラム本部にて年1回行われ、極めて幅広い知識内容を求められる試験である。二日間で複数の筆記試験、口頭試験、ビアスタイルのブランドテイスティング、幅広いオフフレーバーテイスティング、ブラインドテイスティングのアセスメント、そして実用知識を認めるデモンストレーションはアメリカのクラフトビール業界のベテラン12人以上にて評価される。小論文はMCシラバスの知識の幅広さを厳しく評価される。合格基準は85点以上だ。

注釈

  1. “Certified Beer Server Overview,” Cicerone Certification Program, 最終閲覧日 2019月6月3日, https://www.cicerone.org/us-en/certifications/certified-beer-server.
  2. “Certified Cicerone Overview,” Cicerone Certification Program, 最終閲覧日 2019月6月3日 , https://www.cicerone.org/us-en/certifications/certified-cicerone.
  3. “Advanced Cicerone Overview,” Cicerone Certification Program, 最終閲覧日 2019月6月3日 , https://www.cicerone.org/us-en/certifications/advanced-cicerone.
  4. “Master Cicerone Overview,” Cicerone Certification Program, 最終閲覧日 2019月6月3日 , https://www.cicerone.org/us-en/certifications/master-cicerone.

ビールには綺麗なグラス

Beerjuku.com 動画 #01 – 「ビールには綺麗なグラス」

洗われたグラスが綺麗なのは当たり前だと皆さん思っているかもしれないが、実はそうではない場合が多いです。洗浄の基準としては『一般的な食器用として綺麗』と『ビール用に適した綺麗』は全く別の厳しい基準があることを皆さんに知ってほしいです。空の状態では見えない事が多いですが、実は『綺麗ではないグラス』にビールを注ぐとグラスの内側にビールの泡がへばりつきます

画像にあるビールグラスは一見、綺麗に見えると思いませんか。

小レベル
中レベル
大レベル
インスタグラムbeerman_dubbs許可を得て投稿
Used with permission. https://www.instagram.com/beerman_dubbs/

原因

  • 飲み口に残された唇の油じみ、又はグラス内の染み
  • 乾燥したビールの汚れ
  • 洗い残し
  • リップの跡
  • 石油系の食器用洗剤の使用

上記のいずれかに該当したらグラスは『ビール用に適した綺麗』なグラスではなくなり、ビールの特徴を失わせ、状態は早く悪化し、ビールに悪影響を与えます。

ビールに対する悪影響

  • 泡立ちが悪くなる
  • 泡持ちが悪くなる
  • 泡跡が少なくなり
  • 炭酸が通常より早く抜ける

ビールにはプレゼンテーションが大事です。ビールの透明度、色と泡立ちが消費者に外観的なアピールをする為です。グラスの内側に泡がへばりつくとプレゼンテーションが崩れます。この様なグラスを使うと、透明度と色がはっきり分からなくなり、違和感を与えます。また、泡立ちと泡持ちはアロマにとって重要ですが、泡が早く消え、ビールの香りを発揮しにくくなり、ビールの風味に影響します。ビールの新鮮度を計るレーシング、あるいはエンゼルリングと言うリングの形をした泡跡が少なくなり、炭酸が通常より早く抜け、風味が変わって美味しくなくなります。醸造者はビールのレシピを開発する時、ビールに溶け込む炭酸の量も計算します。ですが炭酸が早く抜けると、ビール醸造者が作ろうとした本来のビールではなくなります。

改善方法-グラスをキレイに保つ為のアドバイス

  • ビールグラスを洗う場所は出来るだけ清潔に保つ
  • 食器とビールグラスそれぞれのスポンジを分ける
  • 非石油系の食器用洗剤に変える
  • ビールグラスはビール専用にする
  • ビールグラスを使った後は出来るだけ早く洗う

食器用洗剤の一部は石油系(petroleum-based)の成分を元に作られています。この成分は食べ物に含まれる油と脂肪を良く落とすが、洗剤を洗い流しても食器に付着して薄いフィルムの様な膜を残す場合もあります。米国では流行りの洗剤ブランドのJoy(日本向け製品とは違う), Ivory, Dawn, Dishmate, Ecoverは石油系です。また、洗剤に合成香料が添加されたものだとビールのアロマの邪魔をする事があります。

従って食器用洗剤は、天然の植物精油を使用した無香料の製品に変えるのをお勧めします。(まずは非石油系であることを優先しましょう。)日本で販売されている中ではフロッシュとハッピーエレファントという銘柄が手に入れやすいでしょう。これからはクラフトビールのお店に行っても家で飲んでも、グラスの内側に泡がへばりついていないか気にしてみましょう。

次回の投稿ではグラスが綺麗かどうかの確認方法をご紹介させて頂きます。

では乾杯!

Old Beer Comparison Tasting

Last summer I had a unique opportunity to get my hands on old craft beer. A restaurant close to a factory I frequent on business trips to mainland China not only stored their beers at room temperature, they also had very old beer that was likley ordered when they have opened up couple of years ago and they haven’t replenished their supply since. This sort of thing isn’t uncommon in China. Presented with this opportunity, I couldn’t resist the urge to bring a few old beers to Japan and do a side by side tasting with a fresh beer of the same kind. Ballast Point and Sierra Nevada are easy to find in Japan, so getting relatively fresh beers in a good condition wasn’t a problem. Finally, my father-in-law kept a case of Sapporo Ebisu cans in a room temperature for nearly a year. So, I have added the Sapporo beer to the comparison tasting. Here are my tasting notes and thoughts.

1. Sierra Nevada – Nooner Pilsner

  • Tasting date: April 8th, 2018
  • Newer beer packaged date: February 1st, 2018
  • Older beer packaged date: October 27th, 2015
  • 3 month old vs. 2 year 5 month old beer

The newer beer pours a very light gold and is slightly lighter than the 2015 “vintage”. Lemony, grassy damp and fresh aroma is present. The body is light to medium. Lemony and grassy hop flavor is highlighted by carbonated zing with a pilsner malt beady and cracker-like background. Slightly above average attenuation gets a nice and dry lingering lemony orange-like bitter finish. The older beer pours a copper gold with light cloudiness. Sweet malty cookie-like aroma, initial lightly sour volatile compounds and some Saazer hops on the nose. The sweetness in the flavor is similar to limoncello liqueur. There is big a presence of a Trans-2-Nonenal chemical compound which results in a cardboard-like flavor. Body is medium and lightly warming. Carbonation is lower than normal. Bitterness is low. A grassy, heavy with T2N cardboard astringency that reminds of you a bitter grapefruit rind is lingering in the finish. There is a hint of cherry and warming in the finish that isn’t present in the newer beer.

3 months old beer

Lighter by at least 1 SRM

2 years 5 months old beer

Lightly hazy appearance

Packaged on
February 1st, 2018

Packaged on October 27th, 2015

2. Ballast Point – Sculpin IPA

  • Tasting date: May 8th, 2018
  • Newer beer packaged date: November 6th, 2017
  • Older beer packaged date: November 23rd, 2015
  • 6 month old vs. 2 year 5 month old beer

The newer beer is clear and slightly darker in appearance when compared to the old beer which is hazy. The newer beer had a nice head retention while the older beer’s head dissipated right away. Aromas of the old beer are of a sweet cookie and toasted bread. There is a Sherry-like oxidation note and a very big amount of a dry cardboard (T2N) off-flavor. There’s also a soapy note. The new beer has a big aroma of citrus, tropical fruit and pine needles. It has a bold citrus flavor, a moderate to high bitterness and a medium body with a typical 2.5 volumes of carbonation. The finish is long and citrus-like. The two and a half year old beer’s hop flavors have significantly degraded. With no citrus like flavor, the cloying sweetness without much flavor character is dominating. The astringent bitterness lingers with high alcohol warming aftertaste and a little sherry-like oxidation note.

6 months old beer

Clear color with nice head retention. Citrus and tropical fruit aromas and flavors. Moderate to high bitterness. Carbonation is normal.

2 years 5 months old beer


Aroma and flavor of wet cardboard. Degradation of hop flavors, malt sweetness is more pronounced, a cherry note, no head retention, astringency and warming in the finish.

Appearance

A light haziness in the older beer while the newer beer appears crystal clear. The haze makes the older beer appear paler.

Head Retention

The newer beer has good head retention while the older beer’s head instantly dissipates.

Older beer

Until recently, Ballast Point had used the Julian day of the year as a part of their packaging day code.

Newer beer

Older beer code 15 327 means 327th day of 2015 which is November 23rd, 2015.

3. Sapporo – Premium Ebisu

  • Tasting date: May 5th, 2018
  • Newer beer packaged date: Early March, 2018
  • Older beer packaged date: Early May, 2017
  • 2 month old vs. 1 year old beer

The older beer has no head and a light haze probably due to suspended proteins which came out of solution. There is less carbonation and the color is slightly darker than the fresh brew. The big Dortmunder Export style floral perfume-like Saazer hop aroma and white bread like malt background nose is greatly diminished and are mostly replaced by a sweet sherry and paper-like oxidation aromas. The fresh brew has a medium bitterness of around 30 IBUs and a clean and persisting finish with a lingering bready malt background. The older brew’s malt sweetness is prominent. The cardboard-like T2N flavor is quite apparent. There is some alcoholic warmth in the finish and a lightly puckering tannin astringency.

Older beer can on the left

Sapporo beer’s best by date is 8 months after the packaging date.

Apparent Haze


The older beer has an apparent haze which is possibly due to proteins coming out of solution.

Older Beer Can

All Sapporo beer undergoes a low temperature pasteurization to stop all yeast activity.

Newer Beer Can


According to a reliable source, pasteurization temperatures are + 50° to 60°C.

While the older beers weren’t completely unpalatable, the hop aroma and flavor degradation, hazy appearance, low head retention, malty sweetness and papery T2N oxidation off-flavor were quite apparent. This reminds me of the following rule: “In a study conducted by one of the large breweries on flavor loss in bottled and canned products resulted in the 3-30-300 Rule. The same flavor loss results from beer being stored in your car’s trunk for three days at 90°F (32°C) as beer being stored at room temp (72°F or 22°C) for 30 days and beer being stored at 38°F (3°C) for 300 days.”¹
Most beers are meant to be consumed as quickly as possible after packaging and stored at 3°C. Sadly, this doesn’t happen all if not most of the time. It was interesting to do these comparative tastings and confirm what’s written in beer textbooks about oxidation. If you stumble upon old beer you’re more than welcome to do the same.

Notes:

  1. www.craftbeer.com, “Craft Beer Retailer Temperature Cheat Sheet”, presented by Brewers Association. Viewed on February 6th, 2019.  https://www.craftbeer.com/attachments/0005/0196/beertemperature.pdf

 

Colorless and Clear Equals Refreshing

Very clear

This year’s summer, colorless beverages such as Coca-Cola Clear, Morning Premium Tea, Clear Latte and the Beer Taste All-Free All-Time alcohol-free beer have been trending in Japan. However, the limited run of Clear Craft,  5% ABV alcoholic beverage developed by Asahi Brewing Ltd, wasn’t a part of the trend. The limited batch of about 9000 pints of the Clear Craft was served on draft in four Asahi Brewing owned Asahi tap only establishments June 25th through the end of August. Luckily, one of the establishments is located in Osaka which is accessible to me.

Colorless beer

In July, Yumi Sakai, the owner of Bîru Joshi (“Beer Girl”) blog, has interviewed Masako Nishiyama, the researcher directly responsible for the R&D behind Clear Craft at Asahi Brewing Ltd. Masako thought that beers are “a bit heavy”, “make you full quickly”, and its “difficult to drink many at a time”. She felt the desire to create the ultimately refreshingly delicious beer. According to the research team’s survey, words “colorless and clear” lead to associations of “sukkiri” to the Japanese consumer. “Sukkiri” translates as “refreshing” in the beverage context. That revelation marked the start of the project. It took Nishyama and the team more than 100 times to hammer down the recipe and it took eight long years for the idea to become a commercially sellable product if only for a limited testing run. Yumi describes the beverage as lightly bitter, refreshing and (it) leaves an overall impression of sweetness which might confuse consumers who were prepared to drink a beer”. The consumers were asked to fill in a short questionnaire and had comments such as “quaffable because it’s clear”, “refreshing and good”, “too refreshing”, “I want it to taste more like a beer”. Masako heard their voices and is tweaking her recipe yet again to reduce the sweetness.¹

Here are my tasting notes: Pours a crystal clear slight tint of yellow with a quickly dissipating head leaving no lacing. Floral, Hallertau-like hop bouquet. Chemically induced clean bitterness comes in front, supported by carbonation and cold serving temperature. There is none to low malt flavor to follow or support the bitterness. Body is medium and carbonation is typical. In my opinion, there were no traditional ingredients used. If there is sweetness, it comes from Sweet’n Low sweetener-like flavor and its well hidden by the artificial bitterness which lingers with an unnecessarily warm finish. There’s much more tweaking for Masako to do to make this beverage palatable.

Note

  1. Yumi Sakai, “A developer explains the reasons behind the making of a transparent craft beer”. Last modified July 5th, 2018, https://beergirl.net/asahi-clearbeer_n/

A Perfect World

     Let there be a world of knowledgeable consumers and bar proprietors in which we understand beer in its splendid and almighty versatility. A place where the consumer will know how to pair beer with food similar to the general knowledge of red wine with beef and a white with a fish. Renown beer writer Michael Jackson in his essential Beer Companion points to discerning wine folk who underestimate beer: “No one goes into a restaurant and requests ‘a plate of food, please’. People do not ask simply for ‘a glass of wine’, without specifying, at the very least, whether they fancy a red or white, dry or sweet, perhaps sparking or still”¹. And then, the same wine geeks order ‘a beer’. Michael is trying to rectify this ignorance in his most known work – introducing and showing that beer can be as elegant as wine or spirits. It can be as complex or as simple simple as you want it to be: a cold and quaffable lager on a hot summer’s day; a table beer to go with your everyday dinner; a celebratory sparkling ale in a flute glass; a nutty brown ale to match your barbecued meat; or a nightcap of a thick imperial stout to warm you up on a cold winter’s night.

     Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t reserved only for the consumer side – many bar owners should broaden their knowledge. In a perfect world, all establishments that serve beer would correctly maintain the draft systems; all bartenders would care for a proper pour to a beer clean glass and a whiff of an off-flavor either from a draft or packaged beer will raise bartender’s eyebrow. Faulty equipment or simple draft system troubleshooting could be done without calling for help and restaurant menus will include many beer and food pairings which will make the customers return. Finally, for the consumer, a myriad of hop, malt, and other ingredient aromas and flavors would become more than just “hoppy” or “malty” and the terminology reserved for tasters and brewers would become common language. A regular customer would walk in and say without looking at the menu that he or she wants a chicken salad and a witbier, a cheeseburger with a pale ale or a chocolate mousse with that imperial stout. We at Beerjuku.com are adamant that this perfect word is not too far-fetched and we are here to educate – one little sip at a time.

Note

  1. Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion – Stouts, Lagers, Wheat Beers, Fruit Beers, Ales, Porters – Second Revised (Elan Press, 1997), 6-7