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Review: American Dream Pale Ale

Posted by homebrewdad on 7/22/2014 at 08:36:57 PM

Our very first homebrew review comes to us from Isaac of Leesburg, Florida. Isaac and his buddy Matt both brewed up American pales ales for the 4th of July, and have been kind enough to share them with me.

Isaac's beer - titled "American Dream: Ryes of a Nation" - is actully the brainchild of his wife, Amy. Amy had the idea of a recipe with the desired result of "a piece of bread soaked in rye beer, with orange or tangerine notes". Isaac has been brewing for several years, so he helped oversee which ingredients woudl help provide the intended result, but this was Amy's baby.

I chilled the bottle for about 48 hours prior to my review in the hopes of making sure that any shipping sediment had settled nicely. I took the bottle out of the fridge a good 10-15 minutes prior to filming, then shot the entire review in one take. I used one of my custom pint glasses for this beer, which I gave a thorough salt scrub and multiple rinses to prior to the review.

A few notes about the filming itself - I would call this an unever effort overall. Even though I waited until late at night, then went off alone in the kitchen, you coudl still hear my three younger boys from two rooms away. I ran the round through some noise reduction, which cut some of that out - and made the sound pretty tinny in the process - but some of it is still there. Next time, I'll use my oldest son's directional mike, which should help even more.

Also, I am apparently the king of the "uhs and ahs", and I do stumble over my words a time or two. Sorry!

One final note: next time, I shall not trust the viewfinder that the mess on my countertop was, in fact, pushed out of sight of the camera.  Next time, I'll properly clear them before filming.  Sorry, dear!

At any rate, here's the video.

The bottle gave a nice hiss when I cracked it open. Pour was a fairly murky, coppery beer (darker than the recipe suggested). Head was less than a finger of off white foam which receded to a cap fairy quickly, though the cap did last through the glass, and some decent lacing was left behind. To me, appearance was the weakest area of this beer - and fortunately, appaearance doesn't decrease my enjoyment of a beer one bit.

Aroma was enjoyable. Hops defintiely ran the show here, with some good citrus character backed up with some enjoyable spicy notes. I got a hint of a toasty presence, but it was very subdued.

Flavor was certainly enjoyable, and followed the nose completely. Hops were again the star, being both the first and last thing perceived on a given sip, though the bitterness was very reserved and perfectly balanced. Spicy notes were here with a light malt backbone, but I felt like the beer missed the target of "rye bread dipped in beer" - I feel like the rye malt should be doubled (if not more) if a stronger rye flavor is desired.

With that being said, please understand - this was a tasty beer. There was plenty going on to make it enjoyable, and a slight lingering bitterness really helped make you want to take another sip.

In the video, I wondered if this would be a beer that had the malt become more evident as the beer warmed. That was true, but not to the point I was expecting; by and large, what you got with the initial pour was what you got through th entire glass.

Mouthfeel was the other weakness of this beer; while the carbonation level was nice (I got some enjoyable prickling of the tongue from the constant stream of little bubbles), the beer just finsihed pretty watery. On the plus side, this made the beer imminently drinkable; even though I don't drink a lot, I've have had no trouble pouring myself a second glass of this beer. However, I just felt like the body was a bit too thin, overall, for the style.

Finish was very smooth with no astringency or slickness to the mouthfeel.

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable beer. I mentioned this in the video, but it bears repeating here - I've absolutely had worse commercial craft beers (from respected companies) than the beer I drank in this video, and I would be happy to swap beers with Isaac any time. I think that even though the beer missed the intended mark a bit, it was still a very solid brew, and one that I would be happy to both consume and share with friends.

Despite that fact that I do not claim to be a juge, I did fill out a scoresheet if you'd care to see it.

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Batch Size (gallons)5
Recipe typeAll Grain
Style10A. American Pale Ale
Original Gravity1.056
Final Gravity1.016
ABV5.25% (basic)   /   5.25% (advanced)       [what's this?]
Color6.7 SRM
Boil Time60 min

YeastWyeast 1056 (American Ale)

Pale Malt (2 Row) US8 lbs76.2%2
Rye Malt1 lb9.5%4.7
Biscuit Malt1 lb9.5%23
Cara-Pils/Dextrine 8 oz4.8%2

Chinook (Boil).25 oz6013%13.3
Chinook (Boil).5 oz3013%20.4
Chinook (Boil).75 oz513%7.9
Amarillo (Dry Hop)1 oz78.5%0

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

Tags for this post: hombrew, review, American, pale ale, rye

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