Red Wheelbarrow (Maine Beer Company)

Style: American Red Ale/India Red Ale

7.0% ABV

OG: 1.070

Malt: Weyermann Munich 1, Briess 2-Row, Victory, Chateau Special B, Chateau Abbey, Briess C-80

Hops: Columbus, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight

Bottled On: 11/12/13

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Brewer’s Note: “Like many of our beers, Red Wheelbarrow (which started out as a pilot batch brewed by Brewer Dan Roberts) doesn’t fit neatly into a style category — think of it as a stronger, more hop-forward interpretation of a traditional red ale.  Red Wheelbarrow is not, however, a “red IPA” – there is robust malt character (think raisin and fig) on both the nose and palate that temper the abundant hop presence (think citrus fruit)..”

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The beer’s label is clean and simple. It looks like most of the other MBC labels. It is pretty and clean. Keep it if you want to.

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The beer pours a caramel amber with a massive head of light, toffee-colored, creamy, mid-sized bubbles that last, leaving a ring of sticky, fat lacing on the sides of the glass. In body, the beer is clear and clean, but with a pronounced haze, perhaps from the heavy use of hops in the beer.  On the nose, the beer smells richly of citrus grapefruit and prickly pine. The caramel malt is also nicely present, giving the nose caramel bread notes. Sweet citrus pith is dominant on the nose, however, and provides a nice aroma. The yeast character is clean and faint on the nose, and as the beer warms you do get a touch of hot alcohol on the nose, unfortunately.  On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter and softly roasty, with a nice bready sweetness balancing out the sip.  Mild citric acidity plays into the finish, where the beer dries out and gives the tongue a nice bitter click.  In flavor, the beer begins as caramel roast, almost like a light ice coffee with toffee syrup.  Citrus quickly swims onto the tongue, providing strong grapefruit flavors.  The finish is like grapefruit juice with a touch of medicinal bitters and caramel bread, and the aftertaste is citric bitters and sweet toffee and bread.  As the beer warms, the rich malt does appear more pronounced in the aftertaste, giving off warm oat bread flavors with a touch of caramel and toffee. In the mouth, the beer feels medium in body, almost light, but with a creamy carbonation and crisp mouthfeel that provide for a very interesting sip. There is a slight, resiny stickiness left in the mouth after the swallow. Overall, this is a more hop-forward amber ale, but it gives beautiful malt character as well. As the beer warms, more and more of the caramel bread can be sensed in the beer. The balance ends slightly on the bitter side, which will appease any hop heads, but the malt balance is also delicious. This beer is another success from the MBC, and honestly might give Zoe a run for her money. A side by side test will need to be administered.

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4.25/5, 44/50 BJCP, A in Style

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