Let’s Drink Beer! – Southern Tier’s Big Red
So tonight, I’m trying out Southern Tier’s Big Red. It’s an imperial red ale, 9% alcohol by volume (ABV). Again, a little more ABV that I’m used to. It’s brewed in New York.
The bottle has a little description of the beer. It says things like “spicy aroma,” “sweet malts,” and “bitterness of hops.” Twice they refer to the beer as “reliable” and compare it to a tractor. It also tells me to drink it chilled – 42 degrees Fahrenheit, it says.
Well, let’s see.
First, the color. Nutty brown, mostly opaque but some light filters through the edges of the glass. When I hold it up to the light I can barely see the shadows of my fingers on the other side. It kind of looks like a dark lemon iced tea.
The head – which I should clarify as the foam on top of the beer – is a bit thin. I don’t know what that means though. It is a shade off of white, leaning towards brown.
It smells nice. A little bitter, but the scent is clean and clear. The opposite of thick. It smells like it will have some bitterness to it. I don’t detect any of the “spicy aroma.”
It gives a little tingle on the tongue, and it tastes sharp. This, I assume, would be the “bitterness of hops” the label extolled. The after-taste is very light – and I mean very light, as in I can barely taste it. I like that, though. This Big Red seems like it wants to entice me to keep sipping.
And on a second sip, I think I can taste the “sweet malts” the label talked about. It certainly has a sweetness that underlies the dry, lightly bitter taste.
It’s hard to believe that this beer is 9% ABV. It goes down very smoothly.
After the first small glass, the bitter taste fades a bit, as does the dryness. It gets a bit more flavorful as the taste buds adapt. Also, the second pour gathered much more head – I don’t know why, I poured it the same way both times.
Overall, a positive experience. I can’t attest to the reliability of Southern Tier’s Big Red, but I will give it my third highest score – tractors.