Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Brakspear Bitter

 Brakspear Bitter
Style: Bitter
Alcohol content: 3.4%
From: Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, England,,UK
Purchased from: Pulled out of my dad's Christmas drink pile. I think he brought a multi-pack from Sainsburys.

The Brakspear brewery dated back to 1711, when W.H. Brakspear bought a brewery in Henley on Thames. In the past decade the brewing operation has been sold to a company called Refresh UK who also own the Wychwood labels.The Brakspear brewery is also famous for something called "Double Drop" second fermentation. What is this i hear you cry?!? Well to be honest i was not sure, so i had to go and look it up for myself. So my understanding of the double dropping process is as follows (and please correct me if i am wrong). The wort (newly brewed, fermenting beer) is first fermented for a period of time before being transferred, into a lower vessel where is continues the fermentation process.The trub (layers of sediments such as heavy fats, proteins and inactive yeast, Yum!) that has settled during the first period of fermentation will be left behind, leaving a cleaner beer and a cleaner yeast to crop from the beer for the next fermentation.With the trub removed, the yeast is allowed to aerate more. This results in a much healthier yeast growth and even it even acts as a flavor enhancer. There are very few brewers who currently use this approach. So hats of to Brakespear in keeping the tradition alive. Now onto the tasting!

Colour: Dark Chestnut brown. If I'm being honest it looks just like every other bitter i have ever seen. There is nothing remarkable about it.

Smell: As i had returned to my family home for Christmas, my father found it very odd that i was sniffing this beer over and over again. I then had to explain to him why i was doing it and i even asked him to give it a try. The nose is very warm and inviting. After much debate with my dad, we ascertained that we could smell cinnamon and toasted hazelnuts. This made him laugh, as these where things he normally associated with Christmas.

Body: Smooth and sweet. There is a very low level of carbonation in this beer which helps it go down a treat. A real session beer even though im not usually a fan of bitter's.

Taste: Strangely, this beer has a whole meal bread taste to it with a very light bitter finish. This taste comes from the Maris Otter Barley and the English Goldings hops used in the brewing process. I was surprised by how light this beer was. Compared to many other bitters i have tried this beer is extremely mild. In fact i would even suggest that that this beer is more of a mild than a bitter. Perhaps this is because of the double drop fermentation. If so, then i want more of it! If you are new to drinking bitter's, this would be a great place to start.

Best Bitter ever?
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