I get really excited when I have beer epiphanies. They are few and far between, but when something about beer or homebrewing just clicks in my head and I have that brief moment of clarity, it reminds why I love this hobby so much. My most recent epiphany came while having a St. Rogue Red at The Habitat down the street. I’ve had several Rogue beers before and have never really been blown away but as soon as I tasted the St. Rogue Red I’m pretty sure I did a double take. My mind immediately jumped to an incredibly fresh Bass Pale Ale I had on draft a few months ago before a Momofuku Ssam dinner. Both beers had this cinnamon, nutmeg, toffee, and “Fall” baking spice flavors that seemed to jump out mid palate. I had always assumed those flavors in Rogue beers (I’m thinking Dead Guy specifically) came from the Rogue Pacman yeast, but it wasn’t until I linked the Rogues and Bass that I realized that flavor comes from British crystal malts. It all made so much more sense. I’ve made my share of English ales but I have never had a really fresh example because most are low gravity session beers that are heavily oxidized by the time they reach American stores. I’ve also never used low lovibond British crystals instead opting for the more readily available American caramel malts and assuming that they’d do the job. I now remember listening to The Jamil Show podcasts and hearing him wax poetic about the necessity of using the proper crystal/caramel malts when making British beers. Anyways, this all happened within a few seconds in my brain while sipping the Rogue Red and it immediately got me pumped about using and abusing some new British crystal malts. Rogue uses them to great affect in their American style ales, so why shouldn’t I give it a try? I even casually mentioned to my bosses at Brooklyn Homebrew about adding a some of these malts to our specialty section to make them more readily available (usually have to order them online) so we’ll see what happens.
Oh and by the way, the St. Rogue Red is effin’ delicious, if I didn’t make that clear. Go get some!