From the HBD Archive
From: gummitch@techbook.com (Jeff Frane)
Subject: Al Marshall, Hops and Balance
Date: 1992-06-18 19:02:36 GMT

Al Marshall launched a typical Portland-area tirade, based on his
impressions of George Fix's comments on Jack Schmidling's World's
Greatest Beer. Having not only tasted WGB, but being a Portland-area
hopfreak _and_ a BJCP judge gives me a little room to move here, I
think.

Al, you _know_ how much I love hops and you also know I agree with you
about the attitude toward hoppiness outside the Great NW. But... George
didn't not say the beer was too hoppy, he said it was out of balance and
needed more maltiness to weigh up against the bitterness. I tasted that
beer and I think George understated the problem; Bob Jones was a bit
crueler but more on the mark.

More to the point, I think you are wrong in general: I think bitterness
is great but when it exists in a
(sorry, Jack) thin and otherwise flavorless beer, you don't get good
beer. It's not a question of being out of style; it's just a question of
whether it tasted good or not. Jack's beer wasn't contaminated (which
is good, but I would expect that of any brewer who had made more than a
couple of batches) but it also wasn't tasty. As far as I'm concerned, a
beer that has only one flavor element--bitterness--is missing the boat.
I think it could have been improved considerably--not necessarily by
adding a lot of malt--but simply by bringing in some other flavor
elements. With all that bitterness, a profundity of hop _flavor_ would
have made for a better beer.

It is true, folks, that the Midwest suffers from a sort of lupuphobia;
by the last night I was stumbling around, sobbing pitifully for some
hops. Some creep snatched the last bottle of Liberty Ale from before my
eyes at the Banquet, risking death and dismemberment. Good thing I'm a
nice guy.

- --Jeff Frane




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