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[Review] HBC Full Extract Irish Red Ale

Started by LordEoin, April 16, 2014, 12:21:54 AM

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LordEoin

April 16, 2014, 12:21:54 AM Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 12:47:03 AM by LordEoin
This kit was given by TheHomeBrewCompany. It's a Full Extract Irish Red Ale. Cheers HBC! (and Tube who didn't have time to brew it)
They're normally €21.95 from https://www.thehomebrewcompany.ie/hbc-full-extract-irish-red-ale-23-litres-p-1787.html, buy 5 get 1 free. Nice!
There is also a version without the cans of extract here for €7.50. I presume it's the same hops, speciality grain and yeast.

The kit comes in 1 big plain clear plastic bag. It could do with a bit of branding or something, a big sticker even. But don't judge a book by its cover.. It's a great kit.


In the bag are:
- 2 cans of extract
- vacuum packed hops
- sachet of US05 yeast
- whirfloc tablet
- muslin bag
- instructions


The whirfloc, yeast and instructions came sealed in with the grain. That was a bit annoying as I had to break the seal to get at the instructions. But you'll get over it.

The brewing itself was simple. Boil for an hour with all of the hops, add whirfloc for the last 15 minutes(half would do you), chill and transfer to primary.
The instructions say to start with 26L but judge it by your kettle's evaporation rate to finish up around 23L and you should end at about 1.038 OG. I made a bit of a love pump up and had both elements running the whole time and ended up at 16L @ 1.048. That's more where I like to be anyway :)

The US05 was pitched at 23C and once fermentation kicked off it was reduced to 18C for 2 weeks before spending a week in the fridge. FG 1.008. Primed at 6g/l.
Aprox 5.8% ABV, to 23L would be about 4.5 %

It has been in the bottle a couple of weeks now so I cracked one open tonight. It's not properly chilled and I've a bit of a blocked nose, but screw it.

It poured with a good head, but with fairly big bubbles that retreated quickly. Some more time in the bottles should fix that.
It's dark amber/red in color and quite clear.
The aroma is mild malt and caramel residual sweetness with a little bit of roast coming through.
The bittering is low. The grain flavors are light. The aftertaste brings it all together nicely.
US05 was a good choice for this kit as it fermented out very clean with no off-flavours.
This is an easy drinker and I'd drink it over Smithwicks.

Afterwards, I had a read off the BJCP guidelines here and it seems to tick all the boxes :)

LordEoin

Yup, that's the one. It turned out well :)
Throw that cherry wine into a demijohn. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll get it on

LordEoin

Get the youngest to make it for you. They're that easy!  ;D

itsclinto

Quote from: LordEoin on April 16, 2014, 12:21:54 AM
The instructions say to start with 26L but judge it by your kettle's evaporation rate to finish up around 23L and you should end at about 1.038 OG. I made a bit of a love pump up and had both elements running the whole time and ended up at 16L @ 1.048. That's more where I like to be anyway :)
here and it seems to tick all the boxes :)

Hi Eoin,

I recently did the Blonde Ale extract from HBC and used two elements when boiling.  I came out at 19 litres when i thought i would have got about 23 litres.  The question is, can you top up with water to bring it to 23 litres or would it be best to leave as is?  And also, would it be best to use the two elements when boiling or just use the one (unplug one when it comes to the boil)?

Many thanks

Chris


Quote from: itsclinto on April 16, 2014, 10:22:20 AM
Quote from: LordEoin on April 16, 2014, 12:21:54 AM
The instructions say to start with 26L but judge it by your kettle's evaporation rate to finish up around 23L and you should end at about 1.038 OG. I made a bit of a love pump up and had both elements running the whole time and ended up at 16L @ 1.048. That's more where I like to be anyway :)
here and it seems to tick all the boxes :)

Hi Eoin,

I recently did the Blonde Ale extract from HBC and used two elements when boiling.  I came out at 19 litres when i thought i would have got about 23 litres.  The question is, can you top up with water to bring it to 23 litres or would it be best to leave as is?  And also, would it be best to use the two elements when boiling or just use the one (unplug one when it comes to the boil)?

Many thanks
I also use two elements. Once it comes to the boil I turn one off. One element is plenty to maintain a good rolling boil. Adding water won't damage the kit. It depends on the body and ABV you prefer. I've done the blonde twice and I find that 20litres at 1.042 suits me. It's all about what your aiming for.
Primary: Back to Black Again (Michael Jackson stout)
Secondary:
Conditioning:  Breac Donn Imperial Amber Ale
Drinking: Cascade Reaction Amber Ale, Fear Gorm Irish stout, lonesome pilgrim pale ale
Planned: imperial stout, finlandia kit hack

LordEoin

You could top up with water, no problem so long as it's clean or bring it back up to a boil to clean it.
I just left it as it was, because the gravity seemed good to me.

Running 1 element isn't enough and gives a very weak boil, running 2 is too much.
My last few brews I've been running 1 element and switching the second one on for a boost every 10 minutes or so.
I've now got a regulator off ebay for a fiver. I'll run one of the elements on half power.
http://cgi.ebay.ie/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=331012329594

itsclinto

Thanks lads,

Still getting my head a few things that i'd be afraid to mess up like adding the water, etc.  Its always good to come along here and ask the questions (although sometimes stupid) to the pros.

LordEoin

There are no pros here! but we're still happy to help  ;D
Keep asking. No such thing as a stupid question.. well... they're rare...

Paul B

Hi Eoin, you mentioned you'd drink this over Smithwicks.

Does that mean it's very similar to Smithwicks?  I'd like to do an extract red ale for my next brew, and am tempted by this kit, but I'd like something a little more... exciting than Smithwicks.  Right now my favorite red ale is Dungarvan copper coast.

Would you or others have any suggestions on how to up the ante on this recipe a little?  Or is it needed.  Cheers!

LordEoin

It's fairly true to style as it is, but Irish red isn't the most 'exciting' of styles  ;)
if you care more about flavor than style you could dryhop it and add some more biscuit

benji

I was thinking of doing this kit at the weekend but I was thinking of brewing 1/2 of the kit as instructed and then experimenting with the other 1/2. I have some fuggles left from another brew from a while ago.
I was thinking of doing 2 different 1/4. I would like to make a hoppy red ale something like Brewdogs 5AM saint.
So i was thinking maybe for 1 brew adding fuggles and Cascade at 30 mins or something like that and then dryhopping with cascade,
maybe for the 2nd adding cascade and fuggles at 20,30 and 40 and also dryhopping with cascade and fuggles.
BTW I've never done an extract so I don't really know what I'm at with adding these hops, can anyone give me some advice.
I already have fuggles and I only want to add one more hop vieraty that I can use to boil and dryhop
Tapped: Brown Porter, Dortmunder, Rye IPA
Bottled: Barrel RIS, Barrel Red Flanders, Oatmeal Stout
Fermenting: Barrel triple, NEIPA
Planned: Pilsner, Hazy Pale Ale, something Belgian

LordEoin

I like EKG or bramling cross with fuggles, but if you want to 'american' it up then cascade is always a nice addition (so long as you like cascade)

benji

Mmm bramling cross looks promising according to the web, so what do you think of my boil times

Brew 1
Fuggles + Bramling Cross 30 min, dry hop with Bramling cross

Brew 2
Fuggles + Bramling Cross 40,30 and 20 min, dry hop with Fuggles + Bramling Cross.

I've just thrown these figures together with no rhyme or reason, what do you guys reckon juts go with that or can you recommend different boil times/dry hop.

I gonna brew this weekend and I will keep you abreast of my progress


Tapped: Brown Porter, Dortmunder, Rye IPA
Bottled: Barrel RIS, Barrel Red Flanders, Oatmeal Stout
Fermenting: Barrel triple, NEIPA
Planned: Pilsner, Hazy Pale Ale, something Belgian