Daily beer project

Beer #11: Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale

Posted in Imports by dailybeerproject on January 24, 2010

This one was recommended to me by SYJ, who said it was “malty-sweet with virtually no bitterness.” My first impression was that this was not the case. It was still quite bitter.

I am, however, hoping to start getting this bitterness thing figured out. I’ve had some beers that started out with little to no bitterness, but then after I ate something the beer tasted bitter from that point on. I’ve also learned to recognize the bitterness from hops, and I’m pretty sure the bitterness I’m tasting is not the same as the bitterness most people taste from hops–I think it’s some sort of supertaster thing that most other beer drinkers don’t even sense.

Armed with that information, I tried a few things while I drank the Sam Smith’s. The first sip I had after eating a piece of bread, and it tasted quite bitter. So I went and brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth quite thoroughly with water to see if getting all traces of food out of my mouth would help. It didn’t, and I needed to get the just brushed teeth taste out of my mouth before the beer was going to be even remotely enjoyable. So I had a couple chocolate chips and waited a while. When I tried again, the bitterness was still there. Evidently if food is a factor, it’s not one I can control real well.

Then I remembered something my brother had told me–a friend of his salts his beer to make it taste less bitter. Now I know I said no accoutrements, but I figured for the sake of science I needed to give it a try. The salt caused the beer to foam quite a bit. It went from head having subsided completely to an inch-thick head as each salt grain bubbled quite a bit until it dissolved. Once it dissolved, though, guess what–no bitterness. The beer just tasted malty-sweet and rich, like I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to. And I quite liked it, though at that point only half of it was left, so it was a meager treat.

Summary thoughts: I wonder if a tiny bit of salt is all I needed all along? From now on I’m going to try this: I’ll take my first sip to see if I detect any bitterness. If I do, I’ll drop in a few grains of salt (which didn’t make the beer taste salty at all). If that solves the problem, fantastic. If salt solves the problem, I may also experiment a bit. For instance, I have some liquid electrolyte concentrate. Perhaps a drop or two of that will have the same effect and I won’t have to wait for it to dissolve. This could be interesting….I’ve got Sapporo on deck for tomorrow, but I also have a spare Newcastle in reserve in case I need to do more experimenting.

For my next six after tomorrow’s Sapporo, I’d like to try local beers (primarily in bottles, though I’m not opposed to trying something new on tap as well), and I’m going to throw out the alternating ales and lagers rule for this series. I’m going to try Chasing Tail and Full Suspension in bottles to see how they compare to on tap. I’d also like to try Polygamy Porter, another Alex/Watcher recommendation, and Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen. So that brings me up to four. I’m thinking Uinta Brewery needs some representation. An India Pale Ale seems to make sense to see if my theory about my bitterness sensitivity not being related to hops makes any sense, so what about Trader IPA? Blue Sky Pilsner or Gelande Amber Lager are options to ensure I try at least one local lager. Is there something I’m missing–a local beer I just don’t want to miss out on?

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2 Responses

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  1. Beer #12: Sapporo « Daily beer project said, on January 25, 2010 at 4:15 am

    […] thing I did try was salting versus not salting the Sapporo. I put a tiny bit of salt in the beer in my glass but left what was […]

  2. […] haven’t been head over heels about any of the brown ales (Newcastle, Samuel Smith’s) I’ve tried to date, so I had no idea whether I would like this one or not. In short, I was […]


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