What better way to herald in the holiday weekend with a poker game/beer fest? The group of regulars to the monthly Thursday night poker game have been anticipating this keg of beer since I started the brew back on February 20, 2012. The evening provided an opportunity to get a rating of the beer using the American Homebrewer's Association score-sheet.
The AHA evaluates a beer across 5 dimensions: Bouquet/Aroma, Appearance, Flavour, Body and Drinkability Overall Impression. The resulting score is out of a total of 50 points.
The raters ranged in knowledge of beer styles from "I don't like beer, I prefer wine" and "I'm Dutch, I prefer lager" to very sophisticated, #...takes me back to the days of sharing a pint with me dad in Lancashire". Only myself and another member of the group have actually tasted White Shield on draught in its native country, England. In general though, this group will drink anything resembling beer, and there has only been one beer that I have brewed that people didn't like (except the Dutch guy) - a cherry lambic.
The average rating for the beer was: 40.5/50. This places the beer in the Excellent range according to the AHA Scoring Guide. To the credit of the style (UK IPA) people commented on the fruity aroma and taste, the good balance, the alcohol presence and the malty character. A few people noted that for the style, the beer lacked a full hop bite. Also, on the con side there was the presence of caramel in the aroma on initial pour. All-in-all, the beer was a fine English bitter that needed a little more hop character to be worthy of White Shield.