Beer Profile: Nuova Mattina by Birrificio Del Ducato

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Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

pgaprofileThis was like a few spices in Bud. If it had been a cheap beer I might have rated it a tad higher, though not much, but here’s the problem…

I bought this is at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, MA when I was on tour last year. I have a taster at my annual Beaver River Beer Tasting who LOVES fruit beers, and my wife expressed an interest too. When I got up to the register they wanted about $60 for it: their computer had the magnum price for this tiny little bottle. But they were charging 26 for this itsy bitsy bottle. So, for my wife and Donna the beer taster I bought 2 of them.

I have had InBev/AB attempts at craft more interesting than this.

There is some chamomile in the nose, a bit floral and coriander may be part of that. But in the mouthfeel and taste it combines into just bitter.

A bit light yellow hazy with a pillow head that fades slowly. high side of low body that’s pale malt, or perhaps pilsner: not enough to tell. Spice focused. A hint buttery. A possible slight diacetyl problem?

Good, creamy head. Lightest yellow, like what comes out after drinking a lot of diet lemon-lime soda. Slightly hazy.

As it warm the spices reassert but does not save the quaff. It’s boring and the heavier spices in the almost NA amount of malt body turn just brittle bitter, and not in a nice hop, or gruit way. Annoying. Except for the spices almost no body to it.

BA gives it an 87. Did I get bad, or old, bottles? 95 at Rate Beer? Oi! I did notice RB had a lot of mediocre’ ratings, which always makes me suspicious (“Hack the ratings?” cough.) But BA’s ratings almost all seem good.

This is biased on a Saison. I suspect they went with the milder, safer, Saison yeast since the more funk-like (But not “funky” as in a sour) Saison yeasts would be noticeable. The spices are all that stood out and, until it warmed, that ain’t saying much.

I’m giving it a 3 out of 5 just in case Yankee held on to this stock way too damn long. At those prices: not surprised. They usually are quite reasonable. My wife, who is also a BJCP judge, agreed. Hmmm… something wasn’t right, and a fellow brewer at the tasting who brings his wares every year: winner of the Spirit of Homebrew Award at The Old Forge Old Ale Competition just shrugged when we tasted last Labor Day. The previous bottle was basically the same Snoresville quaff with an annoying spice combination once it warmed.

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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martianKen Carman was born of a deity named Bill many moons ago when his wife Winnie was fermenting well at the time. He is a beer judge, beer writer and reviewer of brew-based business, beer commentator and BEER GOD. Do not challenge the one who ate too many hops one year, hence the green pigment you see to the left!