1 Sep 2010

Venetian Pale Ale (5.2% alcohol)

This Venetian Pale Ale is so-called because it fermented while my brother Matthew and his wife Angela were on holiday in Venice. They've produced a fine range of ales since taking up brewing: everything from lager to Belgian-style Dubbels and Trippels to a warming Bourbon Christmas Stout (which came in at a whopping 11% alcohol).

The Venetian Pale Ale, their latest creation, has a lovely clean aroma of fresh morning dew with a merest hint of hay. On the palate it's slightly floral and has a touch of Belgian-ness - that enticing suggestion of hay in the background - but with a refreshing and brilliantly clean and crisp bitterness to the finish.

Matthew hopped it with a mix of Centennial, Chinook and Pioneer, and fermented it at 20C with Irish ale yeast - which although is traditionally used for darker beers and stouts, can add plenty of interest to a pale ale such as this one, and it may have contributed to the dry, crisp finish. Centennial is a citrussy variety that's widely used in American IPAs; he opted for Chinook to add a nice burnt, herby flavour; and finally the classically English Pioneer is a sister of Herald and brings in some soft, clean aromatics. An excellent, well balanced pale ale.

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