While I was planning on brewing my homebrew maple ale, I saw this in the depanneur and I was enticed to give it a shot. There isn’t a whole lot of information on their website regarding the beer. Schoune is a very hands on brewery, their slogan being “De la terre à la bière”.
The website is a bit outdated with the description of the beer, listing their maple beer as a 5%ABV but my bottle was 4.5%.
This pours with a large frothy head that dissipates quickly. It is a kind of brown or amber colour in the light. It is very good looking beer that resembles maple syrup. There is a lot of carbonation bubbles pouring off the bottom of the glass. It is a bit cloudy as well.
This beer has a great aroma. There is a sweet and maple aroma mixed with a bit of sour lemon. A bit of a strange and unexpected aroma but it is inviting. No hops noted and it is very sugary.
The taste is even more strange and unexpected. Right away you are hit with a lambic like sour flavour.The sourness is cut with a little sweetness but it is not sugary like candy. It has a slick feel in my mouth with lots of carbonation which washes away the flavours quickly. Not bitter at all and very dry and earthy at the end with some woody notes (most likely from the maple syrup). The sour sits on the tongue but doesn’t linger at the end. It is very light and refreshing all things considered.
This is a very intriguing beer. What was expected was an overwhelmingly sweet maple ale that ended up being more sour like a lambic than anything else. Maybe I am drinking a bad or an old batch. Not sure as there is no date on the bottles. I definitely want to try this again just to make sure I wasn’t drinking an old or off batch. Otherwise, the beer is interesting and surprisingly nicely refreshing. The carbonation cuts the sourness nicely and it’s relatively light. However you can’t sit and down and drink too much of this without the sour taste getting to you. In fact, I find it hard to finish a full glass of this sometimes and with my 6-pack I think I ended up dumping the last few mouth fulls.
So I guess I’m torn. I would cautiously recommend this. If you’re interested in trying something unique then you should pick up a six pack. Otherwise you might want to stay away from it if the thought of a sour beer doesn’t sound good.
I do not know exactly why it took so long for me to brew up my next batch of beer. I guess I wanted to wait to see how the pumpkin beer was received. Then I suppose the winter holidays came and went pretty quickly, filled with days of shopping and drinking said pumpkin beer. As I got to the end of my supply of homebrew, I quickly ealized that I didn’t have another batch to replace it with.
Which taught me a very important lesson about timing homebrews: Always have one fermenting in the pipeline.
I was thinking about the beer though. I wanted to go a bit seasonal again to celebrate the melting of the snow and one of Quebec’s greatest staples, maple syrup. If I wanted to get the beer ready for March (and not two months after the season like my pumpkin beer) I would have to start soon.
It’s easy to get lost in research and the science of homebrewing but at a certain point you just have to go for it. After looking up recipes suitable for maple syrup and how the syrup reacts with the yeast and what flavours it imparts I got my ingredients and hit the ground running (or boiling). So I present to you my Maple Cream Ale.
The process begins with a thought, an idea, for the perfect beer. Something good. Something different. Before any of the real heavy lifting, since I am relatively new to homebrewing, I will take that idea to the internet to nurture and grow it.
This time my idea is to brew with maple syrup. Spring is around the corner and in Quebec it is the perfect time of the year to indulge in lots of maple at a Cabane à Sucre. There are a lot of questions to ask when brewing with maple and I have no idea how to properly use it.
The first place I will look for answers is the forums at homebrewtalk.com. Pretty much any questions you might have about brewing will already be answered. A quick search of their forums or wiki will get you a good portion of the information you need or at the very least a good starting point for deeper investigation. Also, Google is always your friend.
There will be a lot of information out there. In my case, there are many different opinions on using maple syrup. Some say it doesn’t add any flavour, some say it does. Then there are different times to use it in the process. Boiling it will add a dry woody flavour. Adding too much will dry out the beer and up the alcohol content. Some books add maple during fermentation. Some people use it to prime their bottles (and then you have to make the proper calculations). There are also different grades of maple (and then Canada has different grades than the labels in America).
That’s a lot of information to process. Which is why I won’t jump in head first. I probably won’t decide how to use maple properly until brew day.
Here’s what I know so far about using maple syrup.
Keep reading tomorrow when I begin to craft the recipe.