Originally Posted by ZenGeek
That's really interesting. I'm going to have to start paying more attention to beer reviews. A friend of mine asked me for 'tasting notes' regarding my first batch. I said 'dark ale'.
a typical beer review covers: appearance/color (including head), aroma/smell, taste & mouthfeel (sometimes together, sometimes separate), and "overall" (AKA drinkability). my favorite beer review site is beeradvocate, check out some reviews: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/22/34
Originally Posted by ZenGeek
I'm not sure why, but most kits in australia are 1.7kg of malt extract (not just flavour) and reccomend adding up to a kilo of sugar depending on the recipe. This is probably just to make it cheaper than buying two kits.
I just checked a recipe calulator and one 1.7kg can ($13-17 for a basic) gives an OG of 1.026 and ABV of 2.7%. No-one would ever drink that right? So instead of making you buy an extra can, they tell you to add dextrose. This is one of the (many) things that makes many people in the Homebrew world highly critical of 'off the tin' recipes.
recipes typically peak at 20% sugar, and that's the high end for specific styles that call for it like belgian tripels. if i remember correctly, the Complete Joy of Brewing recommends a maximum of 30% sugar otherwise your beer may take on a cider-y taste. to my taste buds, some sugar can help dry out a beer and make it fit a style. but 40% sugar, as 1 kilo out of 2.7 approaches, falls into the realm of cheap alcohol. we're getting into paint-thinner territory. one could ferment a brew made out of 100% sugar and you'd get an alcoholic beverage, but it would be gross.
those tin-recipe kits have two great advantages: one, they're easy; and two, they're relatively cheap. using sugar in this fashion definitely helps keep thing cheap. if you want to brew a better beer, in the short term you'll need to spend a little more money.
whenever you're ready to take the next step, i'd recommend that you get "off the tin". if possible/practical, i'd suggest that you get into extract brewing that doesn't call for sugar. through the magic of the googles, i see that you have at least one local homebrew supply shop (LHBS) in your city. based on their website their selection is a tad limited but they do sell "non-recipe" extract (like this
). using 2 kilos of that and a half kilo of sugar will yield a much nicer beer, IMO. and then you can start adding some steeping grains. then move on to partial mashes. and before you know it you're brewing all grain. "non-tin" extract brewing may be more expensive than tin recipes, but the quality will be noticeably better. by the time you make it to all-grain brewing, you'll be at a similar price-point as where you started from - but with beer that is much, much better.
however, i've used any can-plus-sugar recipe tins - maybe someone with more experience in this department could chime in with their experience?