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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Museum Brewery Queen's Ale Part II

I'm getting shoddy. Just found my tasting notes for the Queen's Ale I mentioned yesterday.

We opened a bottle in the brewery at around 9pm, twelve hours into our two day brewing session. It poured a dark chocolate brown with an acne-yellow head. Look, I know that makes it sound unappetising, but that's the colour it was. Maybe it was just the weak light in the brewery office.

There was a dusty old ale aroma at first, followed by sherry, port, chocolate, chicory, and hints of leather and wet autumn leaves. And then, on the palate it went berserk. It did the whole lot - the sweetness and acidity of wine, a meaty umame taste in the middle and strong bitterness at the end. All these flavours got on with each other quite happily, united in a pleasingly smooth mouthfeel. Molasses and caramel were there, but only fleetingly. After the overture, a second mouthful brought out touches of honey, banana, cinnamon and espresso grounds.

Steve and Jo, who brewed the beer, hadn't previously tasted one as old as this. They were shocked at how dramatically it had developed since its youth as a mere barley wine.

John Keeling, who brews Fuller's Vintage Ale, talks about 'sine waves' in his beer, trying to explain how the character ebbs and flows over the years it ages.

I've no idea what kind of maths, physics, chemistry or plain old-fashioned juju is going on in Queen's Ale. But you can understand why it's perfect for a Christmas pudding. And why I was so upset about using it for this purpose.

6 comments:

Sid Boggle said...

And where might one acquire this cornucopia in a bottle?

Woolpack Dave said...

Sid, you can't. You have to be a sporny git like Pete to be lucky enough to try things like that. He's even tasted Ratcliffe's ale. I hate him.

OK, I'm kidding, I don't hate Pete, and he did have to do this crazy trip half way round the world, falling into dirty canals, suffering fly infested islands and Brazilian prostitutes, and dodge pirates as an excuse to get near these great beers. Some people just go too far for attention.

Mark said...

That sounds like quite nice a beer.

I'm interested in what Fuller's John says about 'sine waves'. I've often wondered if it was like wine in the way that it ages, having particular peaks at different stages.

It's quite a lavish addition to the Christmas pud! We've got Old Peculiar in ours this year.

Pete said...

Sorry Boggle. Very few bottles of it left. But I will be trying to find out when the version we brewed last week goes on sale, and where. And I'll let you know.

Darcy Rodger said...

I keep want to start this comment with ‘good’ or ‘nice’ or ‘great’ but none of these seems strong enough, or appropriate enough for what you just posted.Just fantastic and mindblowing blog keep it up..!!!

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Sid Boggle said...

I dunno WPD, it sort of feels like he hasn't suffered enough. In keeping with concepts like 'sine waves', perhaps there ought to be 'karmic balance' so, in order to partake in something as good as Queen's Ale, Pete has to drink a whole pack of Bud Lime or something detestable in beer. In a single sitting. On YouTube. That sounds like suffering to me...