September 30, 2023

"Cryo-Blasters" ➯ Four experimental beers from Oak & Ash

The four "experimental" Cryo-Blasters
from the Oak & Ash Brewery:
The bottles are only numbered and
the carton describes each beer.
The glass mosaic trivet was a gift
from IBAV Taster Batya
(who also took the photographs). 

The Oak & Ash Brewery in Beit Shemesh has issued its third set of four "experimental" beers, under the guiding hands of partner-brewers Asher Zimble and Leiby Chapler.    

The first four beers, you may remember, were IPAs.  The second set were "Dark and Heavy."  I was able to write about only five of them, which you can read here:


No. 1:  "Leiby Dreams of Peaches"       

No. 2:  "Fruit Salad"

No. 3:  "Matcha Doing Later"

No. 4:  "Blackcurrants"

Dark and Heavy

No. 1:  "Bock Me All Night Long"

No. 2:  "Creamy Cinnamon Buns"

No. 3:  "Roast Me"

No. 4:  "Hard Wood Excites Me"

Cryo-Burn is bitter with intense and fruity
hop aromas and flavors.
The third set is called Cryo-Blasters, because they  are all brewed with cryo-hops.  These are hop pellets whose oils and alpha acids have been concentrated, allowing the brewer to get intense hop aromas and flavors while using less of the vegetative part of the plant.

To avoid the mistake of the past, I had all four of the beers with IBAV Tasters Oded, Bet Sheva and Batya, with help from my son Ami.  

Bottle No. 1 (numbers are all you see on the labels) was Cryo-Burn, brewed with Cryo-Citra, Cryo-Mosaic and Nectaron hops, with an adjunct of oatmeal.  Alcohol by volume is 6.5%.

Cryo-Burn is a juicy-looking opaque yellow color.  The hop aromas and flavors were indeed intense.  Between all the Tasters, we picked up guava, papaya, pineapple and red grapefruit  all within a very bitter envelope.  For Bat Sheva, it was too bitter.  "It blots out the flavors," she said.  Oded and I begged to differ.

The oatmeal added to the textured mouthfeel and the haze, as Oded pointed out.  "I love the haze," Bat Sheva insisted, "but the bitterness passes the line."  The cryo-hops give your throat a little burn on the way down, but nothing to get excited about.     

Raspberry Clouds: A Milkshake IPA brewed
with raspberries, oatmeal and vanilla.

Batya proclaimed the beer to be a crisp and refreshing summer drink.  "It reminds me of crispy lettuce," she said.

We gave Cryo-Burn mid to high marks.

Beer No. 2 is Raspberry Clouds, called a Milkshake IPA and brewed with Cryo-Citra and Barbe Rouge hops, a huge amount of raspberries, oatmeal and natural vanilla extract.  Instead of lactose (milk sugar), which is normally used for Milkshake IPAs, the Oak & Ash brewers used maltodextrin, a carbohydrate processed from vegetable sources which is used as a replacement for sugar.  5.1% is the ABV.

This beer pours out a dark and hazy pink, a color you can't ignore.  Bat Sheva smelled some milk(!), while the rest of us got the expected blackberry (or was it raspberry?) scent.  As a flavor, the berries were very strong, "overpowering the hops," according to Oded, though he appreciated the drink as a raspberry cider.  Bat Sheva thought it lacked direction: "Neither a beer nor a cider."  Batya found it difficult to drink.

Raspberry Clouds was the cryo-hopped beer we were least happy with.

Next up (No. 3) was Mango Spacewalk, another Milkshake IPA, this time brewed with mangoes, oatmeal, vanilla extract, and maltodextrin.  The hops used were Cryo-Mosaic and Harlequin.  ABV is 5.2%.

Another opaque orange-yellow beer, looking to all the world like mango juice, with a light yellow head.  We got a mild mango aroma with some hoppiness and yeast.  The taste is very bitter, pushing the mango into the background.  Ami, who is not a fan of bitter beers, said that the fruit flavor made the beer palatable.  I can handle mango flavor in beers, but I had to search too hard for this one.

Crash Landing: A Rice IPA with aromas and flavors
of apricot, mango and peach.

The name of beer No. 4 is Crash Landing, called a Rice IPA because it contains, well, rice.  This is an adjunct which normally lightens a beer's color and flavor, helping to produce a dry, clean taste.  The beer is hopped with Cryo-Idaho 7, Cryo-Simcoe and Cascade.  White sugar is also added, no doubt helping to reach an ABV of 7%.

Unlike the other Cryo-Blasters, Crash Landing pours out semi-clear and golden, with low carbonation.  The hop aromas are apricot and mango  with peach and honey getting on board when you taste it.  Oded said that the taste reminds him of bottled apricot-flavored tea.  Bat Sheva thought that the aroma was promising but the taste disappointing.  We all found the beer "drinkable," but not on the top of our list.  

I reminded all of the Tasters that not every experiment is successful, but if you never experiment, then nothing new will ever emerge.  Kudos to Asher and Leiby for their creativity and, yes, courage.  

Four-packs of the Dark and Heavy beers and the Cryo-Blasters can be ordered from the Oak & Ash online store (Hebrew):

1 comment:

  1. I guess I was the dissenter most of the time, so my taste isn't mentioned much.
    Photos from me, too.


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