I opened a bottle of Oerbier this afternoon and thought it would only be right to do a side by side with the Archaic Beer that I made from the recipe on the Homebrew Chef's (Sean Paxton) website.
The Oerbier pours a nice deep brown almost garnet color with a big fluffy off-white head. My beer pours a little bit darker but the head is more white than off-white.
The aroma (Oerbier)is very comparable to the way a box of crayons smells combined with a little anise and pepper. My beer is more licorice forward with a little bit of molasses. They have a very similar thing going on with the nose.
The flavor (Oerbier)is, again, reminiscent of that waxy sort of smell you can almost taste that you get from a box of crayons. I really like that flavor, I might start using crayons in my beer. I know I'm stretching trying to pull a flavor out of smell but really, that's what I get from it. There is also a peppery alcohol note that reminds me of grains of paradise though I don't think they are used in this beer. I could be wrong. This beer has something working on it because it has I little bit of a wild side to it. It's not real sour by any means but it is just starting to go that way. Could be some kind of brettanomyces or a mix of things. My beer's flavor has a nice anise flavor that sort of stands out more than the others. It also has the crayon descriptor that I've been using a lot but more in the background. These beers are so similar yet they have their own personalities. Mine is definately more licorice-like and clean because I didn't use any brett or bacteria in mine. I really wish I would have use some sort of dregs at bottling because I really like that dimension of the Oerbier. The recipe I brewed actually called for dregs from a bottle of De Struise Pannepot but I can't seem to get my hands on any.
The mouthfeel for both of these beers are nice and smooth, medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Both leave some excellent flavors to be appreciated well after the swallow.
The Oerbier is by far more drinkable than my version. I really wish i would have used some dregs from SOME beer with brett or bacteria in it. It would have dried it out a touch more and added a whole other dimension to the beer. I really like it still and it IS a bit young so this beer still has some developing to do. I am going to re-brew this recipe again for sure and maybe tweak it a bit.
What I would change with my beer: *I would use just a little bit less of the Belgian Dark Candi sugar and maybe substitute with some organic cane sugar.
*I would definitely pitch dregs from maybe a De Dolle beer or Pannepot if I can ever get one.
Overall I'm pretty happy with this beer and the way it turned out. I'm also very happy with the Oerbier in my glass.
I am 33 years old I have been brewing for about 12 years now. I love all styles of beer but I have a serious obsession with Belgian Ales and sour beer. For all of you gmail users, I am always online and love chatting beer. Feel free to hit me up with any questions or ideas concerning brewing or my blog.