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Review: Ruddles County Clone (Best Bitter)

Posted by homebrewdad on 7/30/2014 at 04:00:03 AM


Today's beer review is one I have been looking forward to; it comes to us from my good friend Greg, of High Point, North Carolina.  Greg is an active member of the /r/homebrewing community, and goes by the screen name of /u/vinpaysdoc - give him a shout sometime!  Greg drove through Birmingham recently on the way to visit one of his kids at the University of Alabama, and was kind enough to swap beers with me (as well as hook me up with several vials of yeast).

Greg's beer is a best bitter - specifically, a Ruddles County Clone.  I haven't had the pleasure of trying this beer myself, though it's a real favorite of Greg's. 

This particular bottle spent a good week in my fridge prior to me taking it out for this review.  Since this is an English style, I did let it warm a good bit before I did the review (though it was probably still cooler than it would be served in a UK pub). 

You'll notice that this video is noticeably shorter than my first effort; I decided to do my actual sipping and note taking off camera in an effort to spare the viewer from my strange faces and long pauses.  The "uhs" and "ahs" are drastically reduced, for which I am proud.  I also feel like the sound quality is improved, thanks to my use of a directional mike - but beware, you will still hear my kids in a couple of spots.  Sadly, I fear that will be a stable of these reviews... but then, what exactly did you expect from a guy named "Homebrew Dad"?

Enough technical mumbling... on to the video!

This bottle gave a strong hiss when I uncapped it.  The initial pour was an attractive, albeit slightly hazy, warm golden liquid with a finger's worth of dense off white foam.  The foam did not stick around long - it quickly fell to a cap, and even that did not last.  There was negligible lacing on the glass.

The aroma as I poured was absolutely amazing - even though I was not actively sniffing the glass, the scent of warm caramel was abundantly present.  I have smelled anything like this in a beer - it was nothing short of amazing.

Sadly, that aroma did not persist, though it did give way to a very nice maltiness with hints of caramel and some very mild fruitiness.  Hop aroma itself was very subdued. 

In a contrast to how things usually go, the flavor for this beer was almost an inverse of the aroma.  Hops took center stage here, with the overall flavor balance definitely tilted toward bitterness.  The supporting malt profile was nicely rounded out with mild fruitiness and subtle caramel.  I did notice that the warmer the beer got, the more apparent the fruity esters became.  Finish was dry, with just a bit of pleasant, lingering bitterness.  Greg had warned me ahead of time that this beer was a "caramel bomb", but I didn't get that at all - I got some pleasant supporting caramel notes, but nothing that seemed out of line.

The one real flaw that I personally found with this beer was in the finish, where I felt like the flavor got a little harsh. 

Mouthfeel was spot on for the style - light and drinkable, smooth all the way through, with the aforementioned dryness.  As I mentioned on the video, this is the sort of beer that you would order a pitcher of to enjoy with your friends. 

Overall, I feel this was a very good beer, one that Greg should be proud to share.  Greg's beers are consistently of high quality, so I'm looking forward to the next one I get to review!

Also, if you care to check it out, I did complete a scoresheet for this beer.

Share this recipe on reddit

Batch Size (gallons)5.25
Recipe typeAll Grain
Style8B. Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Original Gravity1.050
Final Gravity1.016
ABV4.46% (basic)   /   4.45% (advanced)       [what's this?]
Color22.3 SRM
Boil Time60 min

YeastWhite Labs WLP002 (English Ale)

Pale Malt, Maris Otter8 lbs 8 oz85%3
Table Sugar (Sugar), Caramelized1 lb10%1
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 8 oz5%60

Northdown (Boil).5 oz908.5%13.8
Challenger (Boil).55 oz907.5%12.2
Kent Goldings (Boil).35 oz104.75%2.9
Bramling Cross (Boil).4 oz86%2.8
Kent Goldings (Boil).35 oz04.75%0

for complete recipe (with details like mash and fermentation temps), click here

Tags for this post: best, bitter, review, video, beer, homebrew, ruddles county, clone

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Nice work, good improvement over the first vid. I have a damn good Bitter recipe I plan to make using all Falconer's Flight hops, perhaps I'll shoot you one when it's done. Cheers, Olan!

posted by Brulosopher on 8/02/2014 at 08:48:38 AM