Mmmm, I love yard glasses.
To celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the Irish Red style, today's beer is Samuel Adams Irish Red!
Irish Red is a particular substyle of Amber/Red Ales that was originally brewed in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1710; it is usually smooth and dry with mild sweetness and mild bitterness. Almost everything about Irish Reds is blissfully balanced and pleasing on the palate. Dextrins are often evident as well; for those who don't know, dextrins are the part of barley that can't be fermented. When left unfiltered, they add flavor and body to the beer. Higher temperatures generally tend to produce more dextrins, which explains why they are common in warm temperature-fermenting ales.
The red color common to this style results from the a fairly uncommon caramel barley malt being roasted longer and slower than most beers, though many large-scale commercial brewers simply add red coloring after the beer has been fermented. Bad form, brewers. Bad form indeed. Samuel Adams raises the bar with this brew by importing the Golding hops from East Kent and adding a bit of pale malt to the traditional caramel malt in order to deepen the flavor.Brewed by:Samuel Adams
(Boston Beer Company)
Boston, Massachusetts (United States)
Style- Irish Red
Poured from a 12oz brown bottle notched with a freshness date of November 2010.Appearance-
3.5 out of 5. This Irish Red is only really red when you hold it up to the light; otherwise, it's a fair amber hue. Bright light turns the center into the color of a brilliant translucent ruby soaked in ruddy beer. It pours with a huge slightly tan head that quickly dissipates but leaves behind a little lacing.Smell-
4 out of 5. This stuff smells somewhat strong, which is surprising considering the usually laid-back nature of Irish Reds. What stands out most is the caramel sweetness and an undertone of what can only be described as nougat. It's a lot like inhaling a liquefied Milky Way candy bar. Hardly any hops in the nose.Taste-
4 out of 5. The sweetness isn't as evident in the taste as it was in the smell; in fact, the tastes somewhat contradict the scents. There is a bit of earthiness from the Golding hops and a bit of bite from what seems like Fuggle hops as well, which makes sense considering the British Isle-style of this beer. The sweetness from the caramel malt is there as well along with a roasted flavor. Toffee undertones and pine hops mingle before a dry, earthy aftertaste sets in. To sum it up, sweet, earthy, and roasted.Mouthfeel-
2.5 out of 5. The body of this beer is a bit of a let-down. Normally, Irish Reds are creamy and fairly full-bodied from the dextrins, but this one barely manages to be medium-bodied. It's not bad, but the mouthfeel doesn't match the taste and doesn't properly reflect the style.Drinkability-
3.5 out of 5. All bitching about the body aside, this is a good, balanced beer. There is nothing challenging or strong about it; it's just an easily-swallowed, good-tasting, mouth-pleasing mild little brew, as an Irish Red should be. The drinkability score only takes a hit because of the beer's price; it's good, but not quite good enough for me to buy six packs on a regular basis. Look for single bottles or try it at the bar if you're on a budget.Overall, a B-.Unsolicited Reiteration of the day!
Most of you probably read my earlier advice about tasting a beer on an empty stomach in order to truly appreciate it; unfortunately, a friend of mine did not read it. He slammed a usually-delicious brand of beer and said he "didn't see what all the fuss was about". It turns out he drank it after dinner. I made him drink it before eating the next day, and his opinion was much more positive the second time around. If you read my reviews then try the brews and don't detect half the flavors I mention, try drinking it on an empty stomach. Hunger enhances both your sense of smell and your sense of taste tenfold. I've always lamented the fact that pregnant women shouldn't drink because they are in a perfect position to appreciate every fine point about a beer that even trained experts might miss simply by virtue of their biology.
Some beers go great with food (try IPAs and Indian food for a perfect pairing), so don't think that you have to starve in order to enjoy good beer. Just keep it in mind for when you explore a new style.
For anyone in these states (AL, AR, AZ, CT, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MO, NC, NJ, OH, OK, SD, TX, UT, VT, or WV), send an index card or letter with your name, address, phone number, email, and date of birth to:
INMAR Fulfillment Center
Attn: Boston Lager
PO Box 426008
Del Rio, TX 78842-6008
and you'll be sent a free (FREE!) "Samuel Adams Perfect Pint Glass
". (If you live in any other state, send three UPCs from Samuel Adams six-packs along with the above information. If you live in Virginia or Texas, send $3-- so if you live in Texas, send the index card and three bucks).
I live in Virginia, so I'm kind of screwed, but there's no reason that the rest of you shouldn't benefit from a free glass!