As tradition I use to brew my Irish Stout called “Goriziana” in the first days of the year to drink it officially for St. Patrick’s Day. Goriziana is a classic Irish Dry Stout with classic coffee flavors blended with wheat notes, medium-low body and 4.2% ABV. Also this year the tradition was respected except that we did a tasting session few days before: at the final exam of the sensory analysis course in Birreria Bunker we tasted all together two bottles of Goriziana. To my delight everyone was impressed, the overall gentleness I reached in this beer was very appreciated and the course teacher Danijel congratulated me for the very good balance of all flavors and aromas. Wow!
The second official tasting session was at the St. Patrick BBQ party (we did it the same week but on Saturday). All my friends appreciated it very much, even those who are not Stout lovers said that is pleasant to drink: obviously this made me very happy. But on this day I did a second test: as this is a bottle refermented beer I wanted to try the difference given by bottle size, so we’ve opened several 75cl bottles and one magnum 1.5L bottle. Last year I did the same test between 50cl and 75cl bottles and I must admit that seemed to me to be in some way better the bigger one. But this year I didn’t notice any substantial difference between 75cl and 1.5L bottles, maybe is due to the fact that 3 months maturation is too short to produce noticeable differences. I’ll try to repeat the same test with a beer that will mature for a longer time (maybe with the IGA, let’s see).
Before telling you my own opinion, I want explain the main differences from the last year edition:
- last year I tried to use as unmalted part of the grist only flaked wheat (around 30% of the grist). It was not bad, but the taste did not totally convince me. So this year I used some flaked barley to split it up into 20% barley and 10% wheat to move towards a more classic taste while keeping the wheat notes;
- last year I performed the whole fermentation at 18°C and the S-04, besides the volcano eruption from the fermenter, produced some esters I didn’t want. For this reason I lowered the temperature to 16°C to rise it up again to 18°C after the first four days of fermentation;
An now, as promised, my own opinion: I have to admit that these two simply modifications did the difference. As Danijel said everything is balanced to both the nose and mouth, the wheat merges very well with the coffee and there’s a very pleasant soft and delicate sour note in the aftertaste given by the wheat that completes drinking sensations. And the foam is (almost) a stout foam, very dense and persistent but not creamy: so the target for next year is to do a forced nitro carbonation while keeping the rest of the recipe unchanged. We’ll see if I’ll be caapable to do it.