Friday, 30 December 2011

Bath Ales Gem

Good evening all. Today I made my first tentative steps into the world of final-year revision... by revising the easiest parts of one module. Regardless of the merit of that exercise, I feel like I deserve a reward- and luckily I have just the bottle for this occasion in the form of Gem from Bath Ales, gifted to me by a good friend on Boxing Day. I've been fortunate enough to encounter Bath Ales' beers a number of times at my local pub, the King's Arms in Kingsbridge (that I must write a review of in the future), and I haven't been disappointed with their offerings. Definitely a brewery steeped in tradition but unafraid to embrace modernity in their execution of familiar beer styles. Let's get the review started....
Gem (4.8% ABV) is a beer I have enjoyed on tap many times, so I'm interested to see how the bottled version compares. The beer pours a rich amber colour with a white head that quickly dissolves to virtually nothing in the glass. The aroma is very light, with some malt coming through and a subtle bittering hop aroma. There is also some caramelised sweetness in the background. Not a lot going on really. The taste is still light on the malt, with virtually no bitterness from the hops and a sweet finish (not reminiscent of burnt sugar though, just more of a sugary flavour). The mouthfeel is very light and not particularly carbonated, with swirling bringing up very fragile wisps of foam that disintegrate quickly. Overall, whilst I love Gem on draught, I feel it doesn't transition to the bottle very well. It certainly doesn't seem to be bottle conditioned (I might be wrong but I don't see any sediment in the bottle), which might be the reason why the carbonation that would normally elevate the hop flavours and produce a more rounded experience just isn't there. Not a bad beer in this form, but I'd go to the pub to enjoy it rather than the supermarket.

Addendum- after some time out, and with the temperature of the beer slightly warmer, the experience has been significantly improved. More bitterness in the finish, with the hops and the malt intertwining well and the sweetness becoming less noticeable.

Until next time....

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