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wbgv 03-12-2009 01:14 PM

beer kit ingredients
I love ales from the British Isles..I have noticed that a lot of 'kits' for British ales use American hops and sometimes American yeasts..If I want a British ale,shouldn't the kit have both British hops and yeasts for the 'full' taste?

Bob 03-12-2009 01:59 PM

Depends! :D

If it's a kit based on an American interpretation of the style - like Redhook ESB, for example - then American ingredients are totally appropriate.

There are also American ingredients that make good English ales. Willamette hops, for example, are an excellent substitute for Fuggles, with many of the same characteristics. White Labs Cal V yeast (WLP051) is nice and fruity as well as a medium attenuator, which makes it a good candidate for English ales.

Further, some British ingredients won't have the characteristics you find important. Muntons, for example, is the only widely-available British malt extract. But any experienced brewer can tell you that Muntons extracts tend to ferment very dry. That makes them inappropriate for a fuller-bodied English ale.

Thus, you could brew a supposedly English ale with all English ingredients and end up with something pretty crappy, compared to commercially-available English beers. Conversely, you could brew an English ale with American Willamette hops and Cal V yeast, Belgian specialty malts, and German pale extract and end up with something fantastic!

While it's nice if a kit for "English Brown Ale" contains only British ingredients, it's not strictly necessary. You dig?


wbgv 03-12-2009 03:37 PM

Thanks,Bob...it was just my thoughts that english beers should be made with english ingredients and american beers with american ingredients..good explaination..thanks

Bob 03-12-2009 06:27 PM

No problem. I just wanted to show you can brew anything with just about anything. :D You can brew Tripel with German Pils malt, US cultivars of European hops varieties, and Caribbean sugar. You can brew wonderful Dry Irish Stout with 100% American ingredients.

It's not really the ingredients themselves. It's the skill of the brewer in putting those ingredients to work for him.



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