Sunday, 28 May 2017

Cloudwater DDH Simcoe Vic Secret pale

     I have tonight had a second can from my haul from Beer Central. I tried to resist but its been a tiring day of work in the garden (luckily all standing on soft grass and slowly moving as am not well enough to stand on step ladders yet) and although the sun and temperature lessened as the day went on I fancied some liquid reward for my efforts.

What I have discovered is more about Cloudwater, specifically their ingredients, and I have reached some possible conclusions about their distinctive Manchester sweetness aroma. Of course, I am not a brewer. So apologies to the Cloudwater's if I muddy them with guesswork.

The first thing to say about this 440 ml can is that the distinct (to me) Cloudwater nose was missing when I opened it. They have used WLP001 yeast which means nothing to me, other than its not the one which they use from J W Lees, which a quick scan of some cans from Cloudwater shows is either known simply as that, or is used with WLP4000. Am starting to cluelessly grab hold of the idea that the JW Lees and or WLP4000 yeast is the singular characteristic in the nose of other Cloudwater beers....

The can also states that they have increased the carapils and dextrin (malts?) and brewed with WLP001 for a "neutral yeast profile". This may be more egg to my omelette.

So, what of the bose itself?

The beer looks London opaque, and is a pale yellow hued colour. Crucially, the primary  characteristic of this beer is its bitterness. Chuff me. Even before reading it was double dry hopped with Simcoe, Vic secret and Chinook I was agog at how wonderfully bitter the initial and aftertaste was. I know I like Simcoe and Chinook but that combination with Vic secret and dry hopping with each takes this beer to another level. Its 5.5% but is considerably more bitter than their DIPA's. That, is a triumph of dry hopping.

I discovered some small clumps of yeast in the bottom of the glass so mixed them in just now - this makes the beer smoother, but also increases the bitterness. The key feature is the balance of those two competing flavours. Its difficult to pull off with very bitter dry hopped ales, and Cloudwater have managed to do so without that niggling sweetness. I really hope they use the neutral strain again as it sets this beer apart from its predecessors.

Its taken me thirty minutes, slowed down only by writing this and searching for an empty can of DIPA13, to drink this beer and I enjoyed every mouthful. The hoppiness is lingering and in some ways a little too much perhaps, but that is the only minor fault I can find in this exemplary modern pale ale.  

I look forward to drinking many more ales of this caliber in the future. A very enjoyable and accomplished, and very bitter, pale ale.


Wee Beefy

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