John C. Tull's picture

Orange Blossom Cream Ale

March, 2017
Judges Rating: 
83
Aroma: 
22 / 24
Appearance: 
6 / 6
Flavor: 
33 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
15 / 20

Orange Blossom Cream Ale is being evaluated as a Specialty Fruit Beer (2015 BJCP Category 29C). There is no doubting that orange rind was involved in the production of this cream ale based beer. A strong and fresh orange or tangerine oil scent jumps out of the glass, like twisting a freshly peeled citrus rind right under your nose. There is little else to smell, and you would not expect there to be from a cream ale base. The color is straw with a hint of orangish copper, and it is exceptionally clear with a thin head of off-white bubbles on top. The flavor has a bitter orange flavor with a distinctive oily character, again very much like you would expect if you tasted or nibbled a little bit of orange peel. The initial burst of flavor from peel is tempered by a gentle malt flavor, although sweeter than a typical cream ale would be expected to possess, likely from the honey listed as a special ingredient. The mouthfeel is relatively astringent, probably from those oils mentioned before and possibly from the pithy character that an orange rind would be expected to produce. Generally, it is not a very complex beer, although that is no a problem. The bigger issue is that the one dimension that stands out is a strong citrus rind character, and that plus the honey addition makes this almost more like a soda pop than a beer. You really need to decide if that is something you like. Although the ferment is quite clean, I would probably only drink more than one of these under a unique set of conditions, like during a hot, backyard barbecue in the summer.

 

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