Suregork Loves Beer

Beer Reviews, Homebrew, Rambling

Kosoolan Panimo Iltakalja


  • Brewery: Kosoolan Panimo
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Red Ale
  • ABV: 4.5 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

It has been way too long since I last reviewed a beer, so I thought I’d try a homebrew I received from Juhani in July. I’ve tried Juhani’s beers several times before and his beers have been really nice. He has tried some strange experiments before, but today’s beer should be a quite ‘traditional’ red ale. Iltakalja, which translates to Evening Beer, should be a perfect beer for a warm summer evening. I don’t have much information about it, but I know that the ABV is 4.5%, the calculated IBUs are 35, and if I remember correctly the beer is hopped with Willamette. The beer was brewed in the middle of May, so it should be at a very good age. I’ve used Willamette some times before, and I think it gives a very pleasant floral hop aroma. Let’s see how it goes in this beer!

Kosoolan Panimo Iltakalja
The beer pours with a warm orange-amber color, and when held against the glass it shows some hints of red as well. Maybe a touch light for a red ale? But color is of course not important. A fluffy cream-colored head is formed during the pour as well. However, it collapses relatively quickly. Some patches of lacing are left along the glass and a thin foam layer remains upon the liquid. The beer is quite hazy, despite spending roughly 3 weeks in the fridge, so I suspect either chill haze or dry hop haze. Quite a typical 'homebrew' appearance.
The aroma is mostly hoppy, and the hop tones seem floral, grassy, spicy and almost soapy. The hop aroma is quite intense, so I assume the beer has been dry-hopped (which would explain the haze as well). The hop aroma is really pleasant, and a nice variety to all the beers hopped with citrus-like hops. Behind all the hop tones you can sense some malt and caramel, which complement the hop tones well. A really nice aroma, and no off-aromas at all.
The taste begins with a slight maltiness and a herby and earthy hoppiness, but the flavors seem to last for only a short time, as they quickly end in a dry and moderately bitter finish. The overall flavor is a little watery and there is a slight minerally aftertaste which gets me thinking of carbonated mineral water (are there any salt additions?). I guess the low ABV% and probably a quite low final gravity, have made this beer quite light and watery. I would have liked a slightly more complex maltiness and firmer body (maybe more speciality grains or a higher mash temp). You can tell that some of the nice hop tones from the aroma are present in the taste as well, but they are quite subdued and could have been slightly more present. I guess some kind of a neutral yeast strain was used for fermentation, as there are not much yeast-derived flavors present either. After the nice aroma the taste is a slight disappointment. No large off-flavors, but the taste is quite watery and the minerally finish is a little disturbing.
The beer has a light body and a medium-high carbonation level, that together with the minerally finish give the beer a 'harsh' mouthfeel. Great as a thirst-quencher a warm summer day, but would have preferred a slight fuller body, as it would probably have benefited the taste as well.
Overall, this was an okay beer, featuring a really nice aroma, but a slightly too light taste and body. I don't know what the purpose of the beer was, but as a thirst-quencher for the summer this was really good. As a 'drink with food'-beer or a 'sipping' beer, this could have used some more flavor and more complex malt backbone. The minerally finish was somewhat surprising, and I'm wondering if any brewing salts were used during brewing? If yes, then perhaps these could be decreased a bit. Thanks for the beer, am looking forward to trying the other two beers brewed by Juhani I have in the fridge!

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