Thursday, May 19, 2011

RFP - Spring In Your Step Initial Tasting

When Jeff and I started the Recipe Formulation Project (RFP) at the start of the year, one of the objectives was to brew the recipe at least twice.  We felt that only by committing to brew with new ingredients, and adjusting the recipe based on our tasting evaluation, could we begin to understand how professional brewers "tweak" and work with their recipes.  With that in mind, a couple trusted palates and I gathered at my house to evaluate my Spring in Your Step RFP beer.

Our general perception of the Spring in Your Step beer was that it fit with the beer concept, which was that the drinker was wishing Spring would come soon.  The beer displayed some citrus character that highlighted one of the theme ingredients.  It also featured a bit of sourness, which increased the refreshing perception of the beer.  This characteristic was complemented by the beer's dry finish and a hint of spiciness.

However, the tasters came away impression that the beer was stuck between "worlds."  While the beer had a hint of sourness, it was not truly sour.  While the beer had a hint of citrus, it lacked a distinctive citrus character.  The beer also seemed too bitter for its body and flavor base, in a way that pushed it towards an American pale ale character.  These different hints of flavors seemed to leave the taster with a muddled perspective, one that made the taster wish the beer would move in one of the three directions.  Add to that impression that the beer lacked any distinctive character from the other theme ingredient, honey malt, and it was obvious that some recipe re-tooling was in order.

After these flavor perceptions, I think the best direction to push the recipe would be toward sour citrus.  I love the flavors of a crisp margarita, especially in the Spring time.  The sour citrus character is refreshing and delightful.  Thus, I think I will retool the recipe to use more acidulated malt and provide more citrus character.  I have a feeling that the bitterness in the beer came from pith on the fruit rinds, so I plan on trying to reduce the pith next time.  As for the honey malt, I do not feel it added much to the finished beer.  So, I plan to reduce its percentage in the next batch's grist to encourage a crisp flavor finish.

Hopefully, the RFP experiment has been of interest to the Lug Wrench reader.  Stay tuned for the next version of Spring in Your Step.



Recipe Formulation Project - Reference Guide
Tom's Recipe:
Jeff's Recipe:


  1. Sounds like a good beer. I have one of my favorite spring/summer beers in the fermenter right now (a Belgian wit). I use bitter and sweet dried orange peel in the recipe for the citrus notes, and I find it works great in conjunction with some fresh peels.

  2. Thanks for the note, Cory. It is always nice to hear from a reader. I like several things about Spring in Your Step, but it could use some work. Hopefully, augmenting the sourness and the citrus will make it that much better. Thanks for posting.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...