Review of Brewer’s Best Red Ale
Posted on November 25, 2009 by mike
I don’t think I could mimic this recipe and make it taste like this again. I think the factors of it being my first brew, not being sure I properly did a hot break, and then prematurely pitching yeast and the yeast not starting for 6 days has attributed to the nuance flavors within this beer. However, my wife likes it and I think I may do it again sometime using WYeast. I encourage anyone to give it a try and tell me how it turns out for them, because this “Red Ale” does not fit the style profile laid out in the BJCP guidelines. The citrus and spice through it way off.
6.6 lbs of Light Liquid Malt Extract
8 oz Crystal 120L
1 oz Chocolate
1 oz Willamette Bittering Hops
1 oz Willamette Aroma Hops
1 Package Dry Yeast (Muntons Brand)
IBU’s 19 – 23 | OG 1.048 – 1.052 | ABV%: 5.0% – 5.5%
What I Did
This was the first batch I ever brewed, for more on that debocal read “My First Homebrewing Experience“. I started off by bringing my water up to about 150 to 160 degrees. Once at a solid temperature I put my specialty grains into a grain bag and steeped them in the water for about 20 minutes. Once the grains were steeped I took them out and threw them in the garbage.
I brought the wort to a boil and added all of my LME making sure to slowly pour it in so I didn’t burn any to the bottom of the pot. After the LME was all stirred in and the wort came back to a boil I added my 1 oz of bittering Willamette hops. I pretty much left it at a rolling boil for 55 minutes at which time I added my aroma Willamette hops.
After the 60 minutes of boiling were up I put the pot in a sink full of ice water. During this time I filled my primary fermenter with 3 gallons of cool water. Once the wort was cooled down enough, I did not adhere to the proper temperature, I believe it was 90 degrees when I moved it into the fermenter. Once combined I mixed it up and waited impatiently until 78 degrees at which time I took a gravity reading that fell within the range, so I pitched my yeast and shook it up again.
It took 6 days to start fermenting. Once it started fermenting I let it do its thing for about 8 days. I did not move it into a secondary, I just went on to bottling where I used priming sugar to naturally carbonate the brew. I let the bottles condition for 2 weeks before cracking one open.
It is very red with highlights of blond if held up to the light. It is very cloudy, probably because of the single stage fermentation and the lack of any type of protein clarifier during the brewing process. The head on this beer is not very strong and usually is gone with in a minute or two. Very disappointing as I thought it would be very fluffy when fermenting.
It has a distinct citrus and spicy smell. Which I find interesting since I did not put any spice in it. The hop aroma is very low but there is a definitely an effervescent smell coming from my glass.
Homebrew is always interesting to taste because it seems to change from day to day. During the “peak” time of drink this homebrew I think it tastes a lot like it smells. It has a citrus flavor but is complimented by a nutmeg and all spice that surprises you. Without the second stage of fermenting there is definitely a taste of yeast in it.
The natural conditioning always seems to have a more crisp tingle on the tongue than force carbonation or nitrogen tablets. The beer is what I guess I would consider medium body, basically a step up from light “watery” beer. Personally, the tingle is where it is at.
As a first homebrew, the drinkability is moderate. I think the most I’ve drank in a sitting is 3. The flavor starts to wear on me and the yeast starts to leave an after taste in my mouth that I’m not a big fan of. It also came in at a low 3.7% alcohol which is a bit weak.
This kit was not hard at all. It has some steeping and two hop additions, but they are completely manageable and the turnaround on the kit can be as little as 4 weeks if you wanted. A great beginner recipe.