Posts Tagged ‘ale’

Figure 1. Shepherd Neame Spitfire

Introduction

English beers are as varied and numerous as the accents encountered on a tiki tour around the country.  Shepherd Neame contribute to the plethora of beverages with brews such as Bishop’s Finger, Canterbury Jack, 4-4-2 and Spitfire.  Spitfire is a relative newcomer to “Britain’s Oldest Brewer” (Shepherd Neame website, 2010), having been introduced in 1990 to commemorate the Battle of Britain 50 years earlier (Spitfire website, 2010).  Spitfire is a 4.5% alc. vol. Kentish Ale

The marketing of Spitfire Kentish ale appears to rely strongly on Britain’s patriotic sensibilities harking back to the Second World War, indeed naming itself “The Bottle of Britain” (Spitfire website, 2010).  The website has a wartime feel and ads show images of unfortunate German soldiers and brave, Dad’s Army style photos of plucky British soldiers (Spitfire ads, 2010)

Aim

This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Shepherd Neame Spitfire including, but not limited to, aroma, flavor, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.

Method

A 500 ml bottle of Shepherd Neame Spitfire was obtained from a local bottle store for NZ$7.50.  The bottle was refrigerated to 4oC, then allowed to warm to 7oC before the cap of the bottle was removed under controlled conditions using a bottle cap leveraging device.  The contents of the bottle were decanted into a clean glass vessel.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the beer.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the beer and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  The glass was held up to a standardised light to evaluate the colour and aesthetic aspects of the vessel were considered.

Results

Results for Shepherd Neame Spitfire are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Characteristics of Shepherd Neame Spitfire

Characteristic Result
Aroma Dried lime peel from zingy hops with a smattering of toffee and an undertone of shoe polish and a note of extremely dry dust on unpolished wooden shelves
Flavour Bold and substantial bitey bitterness with vigourous citrusey and floral flavourings which linger long after the liquor has been swallowed.  The bitterness is slightly offset with a hint of caramel and toffee
Colour A pale chestnut brown
Satisfaction Because the sample was not heavy, it could certainly be enjoyed year-round and would also make a solid session beer
Vessel Design A stout, white glass bottle is draped with a red, white and blue label in true English colours (see figure 1).  The vessel also sports a label commemorating The Battle of Britain (see figure 2)
Head A persistent head upon pouring remained until through the photo process (see figure 1) and after the first taste (over 517 seconds after pouring).  Remnants of the head remained to the bottom of the bottom of the glass
Drinkability 8.5

Figure 2. The Battle of Britain label

Conclusion

While Old Blighty may be a very long distance from New Zealand (and our soldiers died defending the Empire), Shepherd Neame Spitfire travels remarkably well.  The researchers agreed that if they were travelling past the bottle store where the sample was purchased, it would be probable that they would stop by and pick up another bottle or two.  It is beyond the scope of the current study to ascertain whether Spitfire is truly “The Bottle of Britain” from such a remote location.  The researchers resisted all urges to say (in the thickest, old-school BBC accent) “That’s one in the eye for you, Fritz”, or any other ridiculous wartime references.

References

http://www.shepherd-neame.co.uk/

http://www.spitfireale.co.uk/spitfire-adverts/

http://www.spitfireale.co.uk/spitfire-ale/the-beer.aspx

Figure 1. Indo no Aooni

Introduction

Although Nagano prefecture’s Yahou Brewing company adeptly touts its wares through a contemporary and trendy website, its expertly crafted ales need no advertisement – they should sell on taste alone. “Indo no Aooni” (インドの青鬼) (Indian Blue Demon) is an IPA sold only in finer liquor shops and upscale Tokyo supermarkets at 280yen per 350ml can. This high-alcohol undertaking (7.0%ABV) is made of only two ingredients (malt and hops) and claims to be same recipe controversial London brewer George Hodgson invented in the late 18th century.

Aim

This experiment attempted to discern various aspects of Indo no Aooni including aroma, flavor, color, satisfaction, vessel design and drinkability.

Method

Materials collected for experiment included: one can of said product for testing, one thirsty researcher, one iPhone for record keeping as well as one room temperature pint-sized glass. Product was kept at approx. 6 degrees Celsius in refrigerator then allowed to sit and warm up to 8 degrees just before tasting. Entire contents were poured into glass and head was measured. Researcher used own larger-than-average proboscis to determine qualities of aroma. Notes were recorded using iPhone Speed Text application. Product was tasted, notes recorded, then remains were quickly disposed of via researcher’s gullet. Can was rinsed and kept on researcher’s desk as reminder to buy more upon leaving laboratory.

Results

The results for Indo no Aooni are shown in table 1 below (italicized portions were taken directly from researcher’s notes and unedited).

Table 1. Characteristics of Indo no Aooni

Characteristic Result
Aroma You are pulled through space and time to rural Flanders in the mid 1500’s. Wandering across a soft landscape of bright green fields of ripening hops, there stands a moss-covered stone monastery whose great oaken doors are unclosed, welcoming visitors. As you pass into the bright courtyard, there is a jolly abbot stirring an enormous vat of wort. You salivate as a light breeze delivers the yeasty smell of rising bread from a nearby window in the monks’ bakery. You feel the warmth of the oven on your face and the sun’s rays on your back.
Flavor Round as the rear-end of a Bavarian grandmother. It mercilessly bites and gallops up into the nose. A sweet reward and a slap of yeast, but a clean bitterness that slides to the sides and back of tongue. Leaves the palate refreshed and begging for more! The foam yields to the lips a delightful stickiness likened to a honeycomb kiss.
Color Rooibos tea steeped for 3 mintues.
Satisfaction All aspects top quality. “Magical” ingredients led to researcher being in danger of losing objectivity nearly jeopardizing experiment.

Researcher recorded a “Buzz” (slight intoxication) and “general well-being feelt [sic]” after ingesting only 150ml of product. High-alcohol content and an unfilled digestive system are ostensibly cause of said reaction.

Vessel design Indigo background with text and image in bone-white (see figure 1). A demon’s fanged grin stands out, expertly configured to be curious balance of both totemic and “manga” design.
Head Upon pouring, reached a towering 4.4cm forming large bubbles at bottom and small thick ones at top. Within 45 seconds reduced to 2.1cm and began to resemble cream. Still had 0.8cm after two minutes and at 3 minutes, one small dollop of foam (0.1cm) remained on side of glass.
Drinkability 8

Conclusion

Virtues of this IPA are not wholly doubted, however, researcher’s unorthodox recordings and accelerated inebriation led vetting team to doubt specifications of experiment. An immediate repeat experiment to confirm findings is proposed as soon as additional supplies of Indo no Aooni are located and purchased.

References

http://www.yonasato.com/main.html

http://www.craftbeers.jp/Aooni-India.html

http://www.craftbeers.jp/Yahhorbluing.html

http://zythophile.wordpress.com/false-ale-quotes/myth-4-george-hodgson-invented-ipa-to-survive-the-long-trip-to-india/

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1C