So ... if you are one of those getting the calendar, the pictures posted on FaceBook will not match what you will see in the hard copy. I'm sure some will be the same, but certainly not all.
In SheppyBrew news ...
The Beer Model on the taste panel
The last time I brewed Buckwheat, I did a double batch and split it into two fermenters. In one fermenter, I used the "standard" Fermentis S33 ale yeast. In the other, I used a more "Belgiumy" strain, T58. Yesterday, we had a two person tasting panel at the brewery. No surprise, the S33 batch was the favorite. I did do a good job keeping the "Belgium" flavor pretty restrained, so the T58 was still enjoyable for both of us, just not as awesome as the original recipe.
Visually, they were exactly the same. S33 had a much thicker, nicer, longer lasting head and a fuller mouthfeel. The beer did not attenuate as fully as the T58, so that makes sense. Of course, the S33 aroma was more malty, and the T58 had that Belgium funk to it. As the beers warmed up, the Beer Model made the comment that the difference was becoming more pronounced. Obviously, I agreed, because it was a true statement.
One thing that I thought was very interesting was that the nice biscuity / grainy flavor that I think really makes Buckwheat awesome came through much more in the S33. It blended into the background of the T58. The T58 actually seemed a bit more balanced toward the hoppy / bitter side than the malty goodness of the S33. That is interesting that simply a difference in yeast made such a huge difference above the flavors that came specifically from the yeast.
This is actually the first time I did a head-to-head comparison between the exact same beer with two different yeasts. Of course, I knew "theoretically" and anecdotally that there would be differences, and generally speaking sort of had an idea what they would be. But, this was the first time I actually got to experience the difference like this. I might have to try more experiments like this.