I really should have raised an eyebrow at the amount of hops going into the whirlpool of this beer as I knocked out the heat! After upgrading my brewing software (Beersmith) Ive been using their new 'steep/whirlpool' feature for calculating hop additions. Some weeks ago I felt that the default setting for this feature was too high for my system. At %50 I wasn't getting anywhere near the IBU's I should have for my system. So I notched it down a touch…. As it turns out I went way to low (at %35) and as a result my final addition was way too much and this beer is far too bitter. All the elements are there and I think it will be perfect after 6 months or so when the IBU's have dropped a little. If it holds up that long without any oxidation then it should be a fine beer indeed! We will see, my gut tells me to dump it and start again but my brain isn't ready to let go of it just yet as the flavour and aroma behind all those IBU's is spot on.
Appearance - Jet black with a thick tan head that fades moderately fast to a thin lace on top of the beer which sticks around leaving a delicate lace on the edges of the glass.
Aroma - Rich chocolate fudge and roasted coffee on the nose, big earthy hop aromas mix into the fudge and create a very doughy cake like smell…. Like baked chocolate cake. No yeast character or esters, clean roast.
Taste - Loads of roast and bitter sweet chocolate on the tongue, huge bitterness, more than necessary, could be dialled back considerably. Water is just right, leaves the pallet dry (despite the F.G of 1.020) and is ever so slightly salty.
Mouthfeel - light carbonation, almost right for style could be slightly more, however bitterness again detracts froth texture of the beer and if it was slightly more carbonated it would tip over the edge into astringent I think.
Overall Impression - Its all there, warming without being boozy, lovely big noble hop nose and lush baked chocolate roast on the pallet, however too bitter right now to really let everything shine through, this will develop very well in the cellar and could be a real number once the IBUS have tapered off. I think I might put it away for 6 months and re-asses then. No oxidation notes so it should fare well.
Notes: Id like the beer a touch drier so next time Id drop some crystal and keep the mash temp low. Also Fixing the the steep/whirlpool addition.