Daily beer project

Beer #15: Wasatch Winter Ale

Posted in American Craft Beer, Utah Beer, Wasatch Beers by dailybeerproject on January 28, 2010

Since this project has everything to do with science and my own enjoyment of the beer is only a secondary consideration, I decided to further my efforts to determine whether my bitterness sensitivity was to hops or to alcohol with tonight’s selection. I chose the Wasatch Winter Ale because it’s a fairly potent, 7% abv beer that has a lower hop content than the IPA I had last night.

It was more bitter than the IPA, which leads me to believe that the sensitivity is to the alcohol in beer more than it is to the hops. The thing I don’t understand is how the alcohol in beer can taste so bitter when the alcohol in fruit-based beverages is not even slightly bitter. Perhaps I’m wrong and it is the hops.

More likely though, (and I’m really speculating here, so take this “more likely” assertion with a grain of salt) is that I’m sensitive to something in grain-derived alcohol. Actually, I think it could be barley-derived alcohol since I haven’t noticed much if any bitterness in wheat-based beers. I’m going to try the Wasatch Belgian White, which is 6% abv, either tomorrow or Friday to make sure. But past forays into wheat-based beers have not yielded the bitterness that seems to plague me with their barley-based counterparts.

Further efforts, again for the sake of science, to figure out what was going on and how to cope with it led me to drop a few grains of salt into the last 3-4 ounces of beer. This diminished the bitterness to the point of making the beer palatable, but I have no idea why this works. Of note with this beer is that the head was so thick, initially the salt was trapped therein, and I had to swirl it around in the pint glass to get it to settle into the liquid so it could dissolve.

Summary thoughts: BradK commented that I’m going to come to embrace the bitterness by the time this is through. I certainly hope that’s the case. Even if it’s not, I’ve found enough beers that I can enjoy as a result of this endeavor that I feel like it’s at least been a small victory, and I’m only half way through.

If the stars align tomorrow as I hope they will, I’m planning to head to Squatters after work (5:30ish) to give the Nitro Cream Ale a try. If you’re in the neighborhood and want to join me, leave a comment. Given the low traffic lately, I’ll even buy the first round.

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One Response

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  1. etiberius said, on January 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    If only I was nearby… Nitro Cream ale- I presume nitro is nitrogen? Maybe Co2 is causing a bitter flavor. Hooray for beer science.


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