21 Jan 2010

Don't bother

In his previous visit, my friend Ramón had brought me three samples from the Spanish micro Llúpols i Llevats, a.k.a. Glops. One of them, d'Hivern, an ale flavoured with honey and herbs, I quite liked. The other two, both lagers, well, let's just say they weren't good.

That time Ramón didn't want to bring me Glops Fumada (smoked) because he had very wrongly assumed that I didn't like that kind of beers. In his most recent visit he made sure to get that sorted out.

Since the very first sip I took from a Schlenkerla Märzen I fell in love with smoked beers. Even when the smoked malts don't represent a big part of the grist, they are able to give the beer an extra twist. I was very curious about Fumada.

My expectations, though, weren't very high, they were actually lying on the sofa, channel surfing and getting very bored. Just like those Torrada and Negra, Glops fumada is a lager that has also gone through a secondary fermentation of only 21 days.

Now, I'm pretty sure that three weeks is considerable more than what your average Spanish "rubia" spends lagering. But come on! Glops call themselves a "Craft Brewery" and so should aim higher. Even Pilsner Urquell, a mass produced beer if there's ever been any, is cold conditioned for 35 days. If you are going to brew a lager, at least do it well, otherwise don't bother!

Look at me, just look at me! All this rant without even having opened the bottle (and I swear that was exactly what went through my head before opening the bottle). The beer could still be great and laugh at my face,  showing me the finger while I moan in pleasure.

No such luck.
Glops Fumada is an awful beer. There are so many wrong things with it. Too much yeast to the eye, nose and palate. Some micro brewers should really start thinking about filtering ("but the real craft beer is unfiltered!". I wish I was making that bollocks up, believe me), or at least reconsider their bottling methods. The nose has a mild and pretty unpleasant mineral note, very subtle, but still there. It goes in way too fizzy, it's monotonous, yeasty and with a sour finish the gets nastier as the glass goes down. The smokiness? Only a hint, really (to some extent that was welcome, I don't think the combination with the abundant saccharomyces would have ended up too happily)

To be fair, smoked beers are very much an acquired taste and so a pretty tricky thing for a micro in Spain. It must be really hard to get it right from the business point of view. Go all Schlenkerla on it, and risk scaring the hell out most people, ending up in someone saying that the beer tastes like salami. Be too conservative and risk disappointing those who do like smoked beers, who actually are the most likely to buy them in he first place, but a brewery will stil want to bring as many people in as possible. But all this is irrelevant if we are speaking about this beer.

So, if you ever come across some bottles of Glops at a shop or a pub, better stick with the ales.

Na Zdraví!

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4 comments:

  1. I wouldn't discount a QC issue on the bottle, it happens to all brewers at some point in time.

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  2. Jake, I still haven't got the contamination slang sorted out... Don't know what you are talking about :)

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  3. Quality Control for the bottling line can be a big issue for small breweries.

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  4. And me thinking that it was some obscure technical term.

    Anyway, it could be, and they should sort it out fast.

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