Saturday, October 26, 2013

Norwich Inn J & R's Birthday Brown

The third beer in the lineup from the Norwich Inn is the brown ale. Although there was no further information given about the beer and the bartender was unsure of any properties, I determined the style to resemble that of a Northern English brown. At this point I was starting to notice similar characteristics in the hop profile in all the beers - all strangely of the Fuggles variety. I know judges aren't supposed to assume they can pick out a particular ingredient but given that this was used in other beers from the Norwich Inn, it wouldn't surprise me that a small pub would have multiple purposes for the hop across its portfolio of beers.

They have a variety of sized glasses and prices ranging from $3/ half up to $6 for any premium beverage. Small samples are available for individual purchase or a flight of 5.

Aroma: Malty sweet and rich with a distinctive english character in both the grain bill and yeast/ fermentation characteristics. Yeasty and bready with a dried cranberry raisin ester. These esters become even more apparent while tasting, in which aromatics can be pushed back through the nose after swallowing. I detected a light off-aroma/ odd character that I cannot trace back to anything specific - could be diacetyl. Hops present earthy notes. 
Appearance: Displayed a very thick tan head with great retention for such a small sample glass. Another somewhat dirty glass for the brewpub. Beer is otherwise clear and deep red brown in color.
Flavor: Matches well with the aroma description as the nose becomes more sensitive to different attributes in the flavor. Hops are minimal, lending an earthy and semi-dry finish/ aftertaste. Malts push through each stage of the palate and are balanced by hops in the aftertaste. Still, the emphasis is on the malts.
Mouthfeel: Serving temperature was a bit warmer and was great for distinguishing esters amongst other aromas. Its moderately-light body could actually be a little fuller for the style. Carbonation is mild as well. A distinct slickness suggests a light amount of diacetyl. Some creaminess which I prefer for this style. Overall a smooth, easy drinking ale. 
Overall Impression: Perhaps a good sodium chloride content could contribute to the roundness of the beer. I found it to be a very approachable beer with a malt emphasis that goes down smoothly. Not aggressively hopped like American brown ales. Fuggle hops could be the theme here again. I noticed at this stage in the sampling my palate is beginning to wear out already, perhaps due to a lingering hangover. Hangovers will always alter perception - for me it usually causes more drying and I am especially heightened to notes of alcohol, which my body clearly does not want.

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