PostNatal and Cherry Sparkles Final Verdicts

I have had a few bottles each of the PostNatal IPA-Style Beer and the Cherry Sparkles Cherry Wheat. Here's what I like and don't like, and what I'll do differently next time.

PostNatal IPA-Style Beer is a bit too dark for an IPA. It is more like an Indian Brown Ale (DFH-style, but half the ABV). The body and bitterness are good. It came together well in conditioning. Next time, I'll use much lighter crystal malts, shooting for like 6SRM. I think this was 11 SRM with some pretty dark (60L?) crystal in there. It tastes it. That will mellow and sweeten with time, but the hops will also fade with time. I am happy with the bitterness, though I might boost it from 45 IBU to 60 IBU next time, with perhaps a bittering 60 minute addition to the boil, instead of just FWH and 30 minute (and later) additions. I would also increase the late additions to provide a lot more hop aroma and flavor. Like an extra ounce or two spread across the last 20 minutes of the boil.

Cherry Sparkles is good. I wouldn't change a thing. Maybe a little more cherry flavor and a little less food coloring. I also wish it had more carbonation, though I used 5 oz. priming sugar. I wouldn't add more than that. Maybe the food coloring is suppressing the yeast or something... But it's fine the way it is. The base beer is Stonington Memorial Summer Ale, which I've made before. This time I spread the hops all throughout the boil, and I like the fullness of hop character it provides to the base beer. I also used US-05 instead of a liquid American Wheat ale strain of yeast. The American Wheat provided a tartness but no banana or clove, which is good. It isn't a Wit, after all. The US-05 doesn't have tartness, but the wheat still provides a soft tart bready flavor. But there's that weird estery phenolic peachy thing that I've been getting in my light colored beers with the US-05. I am planning on fermenting warmer (65F instead of 62F) in the future to try to reduce or eliminate that. FWIW, the cherry hides that undesirable aspect quite well.


Cherry Sparkles Bottled

I did end up bottling Cherry Sparkles on the 26th, just a day after PostNatal IPA. I added a bit of cherry flavoring, which was more like black cherry than maraschino cherry. And I used almost a whole tube of red food coloring shooting for a pink color. I think I might have overshot, and I may be more red than pink, but we'll see how it looks once it's conditioned.

The taste was nice. The base beer is my latest incarnation of Stonington Memorial Summer Ale. That's a half malted wheat, half pale ale malt grist with Tettnanger hops. In the past, it was a 60 minute addition and a flameout addition, but I changed it up a little, with additions as first wort hops (added to the kettle as runoff begins), along with 60, 45, 30, 15, and flameout additions. It all amounted to about 20 IBU, which was a little higher than I wanted, but my volume was low, so there you go. This gives the beer a noticable but mild bitterness and all-around hop character, which was nice for the base beer. I packaged about a gallon of this un-pinked. The pink beer ended up being just slightly cherry, almost more from the nose, inferring a flavor. The food coloring is mostly high fructose corn syrup, and that showed in the flavor of the pink beer. I hope that isn't too fermentable, or my bottles might blow up. Time will tell.

They're nearly conditioned already, but I'll give them a few more days before I pop one open and test it. I don't need to drink a flat one, thank you. I already tried that anyway.