A tradition that I now have with Carrie, before finishing the label and name for a beer, is to taste it. It certainly worked with Trapdoor, and inspired a lot of the design of Ring By Spring (whose label I have yet to upload! it is so good!). I'm going to use a common tasting system used all the time on Beer Advocate, which I think gives you a pretty good view of a beer without having actually tasted it. Laugh if you like. I don't care.
Appearance: This "dirty blonde" ale looks a lot like a pale ale. You know. Like the last one. I missed the color target more than I thought with the brown sugar. And maybe I went too easy on the pour, but there's really no head to speak of, despite the obvious CO2 presence. But it's rather clear, so at least the moss worked. And very little sediment.
Smell: Hello, Trapdoor. A little bit like someone added too much sugar to the Kool-Aid. The smell bites your nose like a spoonful of vinegar and makes you earn the pale ale smell, which is actually pretty nice. It's mellow on the back end, a little grainy, and I can get the tiny bit of molasses. Also a little boozy smelling, which is probably because I added more brown sugar than I planned. No complaints there.
Taste: Tastes like it smells, of course. The acid in front, for the most part. Going down, an aftertaste of grains, molasses, and vodka. The more I drink it, the more I want to keep drinking it. Weird like that. Hops are again almost non-existent (but by design this time).
Mouthfeel: Don't laugh-- you all know what this is, and why it's important in how you decide if you like a beer or not. This is actually a pretty thick beer for a pale/blonde ale, which is a little puzzling for me. I thought only a pound of DME for one gallon would lighten it up a bit, but apparently that's not been the case. I nailed the carbonation, if I say so myself. And it's smooth, so there's that, too. Sails right through the mouth. Nothing sticking behind except... fond memories. Am I allowed to say that?
Overall: Too much brown sugar, fermentation was too warm, and maybe I need to control the water quality a little better. But, I have to say, I like it. It feels much stronger than I calculated, and I was a little wobby after one bottle. And really, I'd rather drink this than a couple of other beer brands I could name. And I won't.
Carrie designed the label, but for reasons I cannot discuss, I will only be able to show you after this weekend (hopefully with the Ring By Spring label, also). Cheers!