Sorry this came a little late, we weren’t able to bottle Elegant Elephant quite in time for the end of September. Now that’s it’s finally ready to drink we lost no time reviewing it for you fine folk. I have to say, you should seriously consider trying this brew – with the suggested changes below – if you can manage to find houjicha (or a similarly smoked tea).
Although both Jess and I enjoyed this beer, it’s not perfect yet. I will likely make a few tweaks to the recipe next time. My initial thought was to increase the wheat to barley ratio, bringing the wheat to almost 60% of the total grain bill. I might also experiment with other methods of infusing the tea, perhaps with different strengths or amounts in the beer, to see if I might be able to bring the flavor to the fore a little better. Also, I would definitely go for a lighter, less estery yeast (perhaps an Abbey yeast), to prevent any crazy flavors from taking over from the tea.
Aroma: Smokiness and light malts on the nose, as well as hints of citrus.
Appearance: Pale orange-brown in color. It poured with a big, light-colored head of big bubbles that fell quickly to leave a pale film over the beer. This brew is very heavily carbonated.
Flavor: Heavy smoky malts on the front and end of the taste. The tea shows a decent strength of flavor in the brew, but the yeast I used gives it a slightly buttery aftertaste which is a bit distracting. Even so, Jess is enjoying this one.
Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, but it works well for this beer. It has the lightness of body like a traditional Hefeweizen.
Overall Impression: The flavor is very good on this beer, though there are probably some improvements we could make to the recipe for a second try.