Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Unsystematic Brewing - Poppin A Quat Kumquat IPA

About a year ago, I brewed my first beer- Tilda Swinton Pale Ale. I wouldn't say it turned out fantastic, but I absolutely loved the brewing process. However, due to living in a miniscule one bedroom apartment, the room that I needed to brew just wasn't there. Fast forward to January, when my girlfriend and I moved into a house. As soon as we had finished unpacking, it was time to plan out the next brew.

I've loved kumquats for a long time. I don't eat them very often, but I grew up gorging myself on kumquats from my grandmother's tree, so I've always had good memories. Over the past few years as I've schemed about the kind of beers I would brew once I had the space, a kumquat beer was always something I wanted to try. Now that I had the room to do it, I settled on a kumquat IPA and dug up a recipe online. After an overly long brewday (sorry again to my friends who showed up to what I promised would be a "quick and fun" brewday) and a five week wait while the beer fermented and conditioned, Poppin A Quat was ready.

Poppin A Quat Kumquat IPA pours a murky, dark golden color with a good amount of floaties lurking in the body. I didn't notice them so much right after the beer was conditioned, but after a few weeks, there seem to be a lot of them. A thin, off white head caps the beer off. I used an absolute boatload of kumquats in this beer (2.5 pounds near the end of the boil and 2.5 more pounds about a week into fermentation), and they came out pretty nicely in the smell. Upfront, you get some floral hops, mingling with a good amount of bright kumquat flesh, jasmine and candied citrus. There's just a hint of malt breadiness in the smell as well, but it's pretty faint.

While I love how much the kumquats came through in the aroma of this beer, the taste makes me think I may have overcooked the kumquat thing a bit. Kumquat zest and thick tangerine syrup open things up. Then comes some spicy kumquat zest and a hard hit of grapefruit pith. The finish is super dry and almost tannic with a lingering kumquat peel note. The bitterness from the kumquat zest definitely gets a touch off-putting after about half a pint. The mouthfeel is prickly and just a touch sticky from all of the citrus.

Overall, I'm calling Poppin A Quat a success. I probably wouldn't win any homebrewing competitions with this one, but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Smell-wise, I couldn't be happier with the way this turned out. The taste is where it could use a bit of work. But, hey, that's what the following homebrews are for. And speaking of the next homebrew, I may just have another fermenting as we speak. More on that in a month or so...

Final Grade: ...yeah, I'm not gonna grade my own beer.

Top 250 Beers Taste: 135

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