Summit Union Hop Trial: Meridian

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Summit Union Hop Trial: Meridian

Post by seymour » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:22 pm

As conscientous brewers, it's essential for us to sample beers brewed with a single hop variety. There is no better way to educate our palate to each hop's unique bitterness, flavour, and aroma traits. Obviously, different hops behave differently in different beer. Noted author Stan Hieronymous reminds us that when we isomerize hops in boiling wort, we set in motion complex chemical reactions which continue into the fermentation stage. It's easy to forget hops are in fact a fermentable ingredient. This is why we cannot get a full understanding of what hops will bring to finished beer by simply smelling a handful of hops, making quick-and-easy hop teas, or even dry-hopping alone. If we take a moment to record our thoughts about each hop, we can more effectively blend our favourite traits from different hop varieties into a winning recipe of our own design.

With so many different hops available these days, it's impossible for each homebrewer to brew all of them single-handedly. Jim's Beer Kit is a great place to read what worked for other homebrewers, but it's especially handy when commercial brewers do this "dirty-work" for us. I taste every single-hop beer I can find, and post ratings to Ratebeer, which serves as a handy online resource whenever I need to remember my impressions of a certain hop. It occured to me these thoughts might benefit other nerdy homebrewers on this forum too.

Disclaimer: these are my own subjective opinionated conclusions, based on just one sample, at one specific moment in time. I am frequently surprised by how much another brewer's results differ, even using the same single hop variety. Your mileage may vary, and I certainly don't think my taste buds are superior to anyone else's.

Summit Union Series #1: Meridian Session Ale
Commercial Description: Summit kicks off the new limited-release Union Series with Meridian Session Ale. Inspired by Belgian Enkel (single) style ales. Drinkable yet distinctive. Simple in design yet complex in character. Brewed with a single malt, Concerto Pale, that’s a rising star in the UK and a new hop variety called Meridian that was actually discovered by accident in Oregon. Of course, we called it Meridian Session Ale for a reason. So don’t let the whole single-minded thing keep you from ordering another round.
From my Ratebeer rating
Aroma: 8 out of 10, Appearance: 4 out of 5, Taste: 9 out of 10 , Palate: 4 out of 5, Overall: 19 out of 20

Total Score: 4.4 out of 5

Tasted from a 12oz brown bottle from Cost Plus World Market, poured into a tulip glass. It poured a hazy golden amber colour with thick fluffy white foam, long-lasting with lace. Very cool hoppy impression: hints of blueberry, melon, mint, earthy and peppery, even a little garlicy in a good way, reminiscent of Northern Brewer but with increased fruity nuances. Grainbill provided a nice, light, husky whole grain maltiness, clean and crisp, faint biscuit and toast, just a little residual sweetness. Light body, moderate carbonation, well-rounded mouthfeel. Extremely smooth and well-balanced, especially considering it’s a Single-Malt-And-Single-Hop recipe. An absolutely beautiful session beer, the perfect balance of drinkability and complexity. One of my favourite beers of recent years, almost unbelievable this contains only three ingredients!

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