Tasting Notes: Endicott Red (International Amber Lager)

I brewed Endicott Red for two purposes: I wanted to brew an Irish Red for St. Patrick’s Day while feeling nostalgic about drinking mass-marketed lager at a chain restaurant. Drinking the beer as it conditioned in the bottle was in interesting demonstration as to the effects of carbonation on a beer.

The beer was designed to be light to medium-light in body. To work around my yeast’s modest attenuation I added extra priming sugar so the higher carbonation would give the beer the body I was looking for.

The beer I made was okay. It was clean and fairly easy to drink. I entered the beer at the National Homebrew Competition where it scored a respectable 32. That feels about right to me. At nationals to cope with the volume of entries, judges use a modified scoresheet that doesn’t provide as much feedback as one would normally expect.

The beer has a nice grainy malt aroma. I made Jennie taste the beer with me and she got a hint of citrus. The beer pours dark copper with a moderate foamy white head that persists decently enough. Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation, the beer has a nice clean finish.

The flavor is mostly grainy and doughy base malt, with a touch of raisin. There is a slight acidity which I attribute the citrus aroma Jennie was getting to. I may have added a little too much lactic acid to my mash, or it could just be the carbonation.

To me the beer doesn’t know what it wants to be. When it was young and the carbonation was only at a medium level, the beer did drink like an Irish Red. As the beer aged and carbed up to a medium high level, it did lighten the body as I had hoped. It also dried out the beer a little more than I would have liked.

I want to brew this beer again next year, but with an ale yeast as a true Irish red. I may even reduce the color and/or amount of caramel malt. The next time I brew an amber lager I will certainly use a lighter base malt to lighten the malt flavor.

The beer is perfectly enjoyable. My best friend who isn’t a craft beer drinker absolutely loved the beer. He dislikes hop bitterness and hop flavor, and this had little to none of both. When he stopped by to visit, I sent him home with a six pack. That’s enough for me to call this batch a success.

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