Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trout River Scottish Style Ale

This version of a Scottish ale is brewed with nine different malts, providing lots of depth and character for a style that should showcase its malty side while keeping hops low - because hops are not native to the region and were traditionally expensive to buy. Trout River brews are typically hard to find on tap with the exception of Rainbow Red. Bottled versions can be found at the Winooski Beverage Warehouse or comparable. The bottle labels are somewhat obscure but attractive.

Alcohol Content: ~ 5.9% (not verified)
IBU: ?
Malts: (nine)
Hops: ?

Price: ~ $2.00/ individual bottle
Medium: 12oz bottle poured into a small water glass

Aroma: Chocolate malt strikes the nose first, followed by a moderately roasted grain with deep caramel and bready notes to follow. Truly a great deal of depth but its likely some malts are clouded or do not contribute as much as others. Fermentation character is strong, house-like (in other words distinct to the brewery). I get dried fruit and raisiny esters. No hop aroma. Some butterscotch/ buttery character of diacetyl - may be confused with kettle caramelization.
Appearance: Tan/ light brown head, of which I poured very thin to top off the small glass. Agitation creates for some retention. Effervescent bubbling suggests high carbonation. Dark copper to mahogany. Good clarity. Bottle labels are crooked and peel off easily.
Flavor: Malty sweet on the front and finish, displaying dried cranberry/ raisins/ dark fruity esters. Slightly cloying. Metallic off-flavor when sipped from the bottle but not noticeable in the glass. Light alcohol notes. Bitterness remains in the background, appropriate for a malt accentuated beer. A slight roasted grain finish struggles to clean up the malt sweetness and does not particularly aid in drying out the beer. Chocolate, dark caramel, toffee, and light roast can all be used to describe the malt character. No hop flavors.
Mouthfeel: Served warm, accentuating more of the depth of flavors. Carbonation is moderate with an oily smooth character. Tends to be on the fuller side, with a thicker body appropriate for the style. Sweetness is cloying. Rich melanoidin malt flavors contribute to the body or rich texture.
Overall Impression: I would have liked to see more of a drying finish to reduce the cloyingly sweet flavor and body. Perhaps if it was a little colder it would hide the sweetness a bit and thus be more enjoyable for me. Fruity esters are also more pronounced with warmth. Carbonation would also stay in solution longer and would help lift some of the sweetness in the finish. I noted a higher alcohol for the style, which I later found to be around 6% but I'm unsure of this. This would rank above a Scottish export strength beer but less than a strong scotch ale/ wee heavy.

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