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Single Hop Goldings

2013-03-31 20.26.00

And finally, the third of my three 4% ABV blonde ales from Marstons, all brewed to the same recipe with the exception of the hops used.  This third ale uses the 200 year old english Goldings variety.  Once again, the beer is a light orangey amber colour, and this time it has a head that is creamy and really lasts.  There’s a lovely aroma of caramel, which continues through to the flavour, and this is a great balance for the classic english bitter taste.

This group of three beers has been a real enlightenment, and a great demonstration of the effect that the choice of hops can have on the character of a beer.  I’d like to have tried more but unfortunately didn’t manage to track down further bottled examples (though I understand that the original plan to create twelve beers – one for each month in 2012 has been extended into 2013).  I’ll continue to keep my eyes open for more examples, though…

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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Blonde, Single Hop

 

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Single Hop Sovereign

2013-03-30 20.28.04

So now to the second of my three 4% ABV single hop blonde beers brewed by Marstons to the same recipe, with the exception of the hops.

This time the hop is Sovereign, an English variety that produces a beer that has a slightly lighter amber colour than the Marynka, and with a head that lasts somewhat longer.  The aroma is somewhat more subtle than the Marynka too, floral, and only slightly herby.  The taste is hugely different, though;  biscuity, buttery and much less dry.  This is a very enjoyable ale, appealing to my English palette very well.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Blonde, Single Hop

 

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Single Hop Marynka

2013-03-29 17.17.51

The Single Hop Marynka is one of a range of single hop ales brewed by Marstons.  I really like the idea:  create a range of beers where the only difference between them is the single variety of hops used, and so showcase the hop, and the contribution that it makes.  All of the beers appear to have a 4% ABV.

This first of the series that I’m sampling uses the Marynka hop.  The bottle tells me that Marynka is a comparatively new hop, developed in Poland around 25 years ago.  The ale is a light amber/orange colour with a head that dissipates very quickly.  The aroma is very fruity, and just a little spicy and floral (though I couldn’t detect the claimed herbal tones).  The flavour is slightly fruity at first but then quite dry and bitter.  It’s an interesting ale, but not one that I’d necessarily be queuing up for.  More interesting will be how the next two single hop ales that I have from the same brewer compare with this.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Blonde, Single Hop

 

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Shepherd Neame Early Bird

2013-03-24 18.52.15

As we’re officially into Spring, and this bottle has been sitting on the shelf for some weeks, now’s a good time to try Shepherd Neame’s Early Bird Spring hop ale.  And what a difference a day makes!  Superficially this beer looks very similar to the Ferryman’s Gold that I tried yesterday, but beyond the 4.5% ABV, there’s no similarity whatsoever.  Early Bird claims to take its name form the nature of the hops that it uses, and the result is very good indeed.  The ale is a bright golden colour (compare with the dull appearance of the Ferryman’s Gold) , and there’s a lovely creamy head that lasts really well.  The smell is fragrant, slightly floral, with plenty of grapefruit.  There’s a dry, fruity, flavour, reminding me almost of almost burnt oranges, balancing the hops and malt well.  This is a very enjoyable beer and was well worth the wait.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Golden Ale

 

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