Cascadian Dark Ale – First impressions

I was able to keg my CDA today and a took a quick sample to see how it came out. A few points before I give my tasting notes: This was the first fermentation I’ve been able to do with full temperature control.  It maintained 67 F for 10 days then I dropped it to 44 F for another 10 days.

The bad news – nothing serious, but it turns out that the Carafa II that I picked up was 320 L when I had it set in my brew software as 400 L.  This resulted in creating a deep brown color instead of the black that one would expect from a “Black India Ale”.  No biggie.  I’ve corrected the data in my software so next time I’ll at that extra 1/2 ounce to get to the deep black color I was intending.

The good news – It tastes crisp and clean with just a hint of dark roast character in the malt and with a very big citrus/resin hop profile.  The hop aroma is not very deep, but it’s not carbonated yet either, which may enhance the hop aroma in a few days when it hits the proper CO2 level.  There are some definite differences here from an IPA, the hint of deep roast flavor in the malt character, but it’s not overpowering at all.  In fact, if I don’t look at the beer while I’m drinking it, I would certainly have guessed this to be an IPA.  I’m not picking up any real yeast flavors or aromas at all.  It came out very clean.  I look forward to tasting this in a week or so to see how it matures!

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