Today we will cover my Brewcraft beer kit review for the Brewery Series Rogue Dead Guy Ale that was brewed on February 8, 2019. Generally speaking, this was a good recipe to re-start my home brewing journey.
Side note: I brewed consistently (once a month) for about 6 years before moving north. I had to stop because I physically couldn’t drink the amount of beer I was producing. Now that I (more accurately my son) has made some connections, I can resume. As I was getting back in to it, I wanted to share what I had already learned as a reminder to myself.
So, how did it go?
4.5 out of 5 Mugs!!!
As a quick summary, the brew day was pretty standard and could be taken on by anyone new to home brewing. The target fermentation temperature is only 60 F and may be difficult to control, unless you like your house cold. The bottling (standard) and drinking (awesome) were exactly as expected.
First, here is a brief overview of how I came to my ranking:
Ingredients: Pretty standard for a half water kit.
Brew Day: No surprises here either. I will note that the bags for the hops were a nice addition that I hadn’t previously seen and made up for the logically replaced yeast (see below).
Fermentation: As stated previously, the 60 F target fermentation temperature is difficult to control.
Drinking: I skip bottling because that is pretty standard. The beer tasted great and as I expected.
Ingredients – What’s In The Box
Overall, the ingredients were a 5 out of 5. I wanted to lower the grade for not having the Pacman yeast that is recommended by the brewery, but I couldn’t fault them for me not reading the instructions before brew day. Plus, the awesome hop steeping bags were a nice bonus.
Standard ingredients for brew day:
- Hops: This recipe contained the hops for the 3 steps (bittering, flavoring, and finishing)
- Grains: Specialty grains (an unknown blend) were supplied to help create the wort
- Malts: Malt extract and Brewers Crystals (sugar) were supplied to supplement the grains
- Yeast: There was yeast supplied. Had I read the instructions prior to brew day I would have gone and purchased the recommended Pacman yeast…oh well
Bottling supplies also supplied:
- Priming sugar: Helps carbonate the beer
- Bottle caps: Necessary and glad they are included
Bonus supplies given:
- Grain Steeping Bag: Usually comes standard with your recipe kits
- Hop Steeping Bags: Great addition! You can extract all the hop goodness without the residual hops in the fermenter.
Additional needs to make the recipe:
- Water: You will need distilled or purified water. The recipe calls for 3 gallons added to the fermenter, but I buy 6 gallons so I can also boil with the bottled water. I don’t trust my water and wanted to ensure the recipe turned out.
- Pacman Yeast: Not required, but highly recommended to get a beer closer to the Rogue Dead Guy you can find in stores.
In general, the added hop steeping bags were a nice surprise when I opened the kit. I wish I would have read the instructions before brew day to get the correct yeast, but what they supplied worked well.
So I graded them down a touch because I didn’t read the instructions, but they made up for it with the hop steeping bags. I understand that the kit is packaged and sent out so it is not reasonable to pack the Pacman Yeast that needs refrigeration. So for the ingredients in this Brewcraft beer kit I give it a ranking 5 out of 5.
Brew Day – Set Aside Some Time
Generally speaking, brew day went off without a hitch. For a new brewer, I give this recipe a 4.5 out of 5 for the brew day experience for reasons I will list below. Here are some of the pros / cons to this recipe:
- Pro: Recipe calls for 3 gallons of water to be boiled. This significantly speeds up time to heat and cool the wort
- Con: A slight confusion in the recipe
- Pro: Hop steeping bags keep your wort clean
Surprisingly, this one only took about 3 hours from sanitization to putting the full fermenter in the basement. One thing that was new to me was the bags for hops. I hadn’t given that a thought before, but it made perfect sense.
Well, this Brewcraft beer kit has excellent details within the instructions. There are tips to help you successfully make a batch of Rogue Dead Guy Ale. I will say that if this is your first batch ever there may be some confusion. If you follow the step-by-step instructions they do not align with the table to document times. Follow the table, but pay attention to the notes within the steps.
By confusion, step 6 says (and I am summarizing) bring the wort to boil and add bittering hops. The table will say to bring to boil for 15 minutes before adding the bittering hops. Probably won’t make too much difference in your beer as long as you continue your boil for 45 minutes after adding the bittering hops.
The boiling wort smelled awesome and the ingredients were fresh. You only create your wort with 3 gallons of water so it speeds up the time to make. You usually spend your time waiting for the water/wort to get to a boil and then time waiting for it to cool so you can add the yeast. The smaller boil gets it up to temperature more quickly. I placed the other 2.5 gallons of water in the refrigerator so I could take more advantage of the free cooling.
A few things to note with this recipe (and all recipes):
- Cut a really big hole to pour your extract out. The steam from your wort will cause the extract to clump as it pours.
- When you are bringing it to a boil be ready. It could start to boil over and nobody wants that
Overall, for the brew day experience, I give this Brewcraft beer kit a ranking 4.5 out of 5.
Fermentation Details – Time to Wait
Fermentation is a relatively standard step in the brewing process, but in some cases requires good temperature control. I give this recipe 4 out of 5 for fermentation due to the ideal temperature being 60 F.
Remember, my ratings are for someone who is completely new to brewing. They will generally not have the equipment to control fermentation temperature as cold as advised here. When I started the process for this batch (remember, didn’t read the recipe BEFORE starting), I assumed since it was an ale I could ferment closer to room temperature (70 – 75 F).
I probably could have, but I wanted to mimic the recipe as closely as possible. So, do you want to know my secret to controlling fermentation at 60 F?
Simple, I let mother nature do her thing and set the fermenter in my unfinished basement…which sits comfortably at…60 F.
I had said previously that secondary fermentation is not required but it does have its benefits. Well, this recipe follows the same idea. They have a step for secondary fermentation that I would have tried, but my stopper for the fermenter had dry rotted…I didn’t usually use the secondary, but I plan to going forward.
In summary, fermentation was 4 out of 5 just based on the recommended temperature being difficult to control if you plan on fermenting in your closet.
Bottling Day – Your First Sip
I don’t include bottling into my ranking because the recipe will not affect it. What I will do here is review the most important aspects of bottling day.
- Taste Your Brew:
- Does it have any funny after taste? Nope
- Are you tasting what you would expect? Yup
- Then on to the next part
- Bottle Your Beer:
- Did you invite a friend? Nope – plan extra time
If you are like me, you think you can handle it alone…this is where you need to phone a friend. Send them on their way with a couple beers and you will save yourself a lot of time.
First Drink – Finally Here!!!
Ahh…the first sip. Remember to put the beer into the fridge a couple days before drinking so it is nice and cold. If it isn’t quite carbonated enough then just wait a little longer before placing the other beers in the fridge.
Relatively speaking, the beer tasted exactly like I expected. Here is my comparison between my Rogue Dead Guy and the actual.
- Head: As you can see from the picture…mine needs to carbonate a little longer
- Color: The picture may not do it justice, but they are surprisingly close. Mine may be a little darker, but I attribute that to not using a secondary fermenter
- Smell: When the head subsided on the brewery Rogue, they were similar. After being poured, their beer had a more pleasant, almost sweeter aroma.
- Taste: Both tasted great, but there was a difference. My preference would be the brewery version, but I will continue through the 45 remaining home brews. My beer almost has a stronger presence of the flavoring hops. I can attribute that to the hop bag tearing open so I had hops in my fermenter.
When compared to the Rogue Dead Guy Ale I purchased, I give this one 4.5 out of 5. Mostly because I keep thinking that not using the Pacman yeast made a difference. I would be willing to try it again someday…only remember the right yeast.
4.5 Mugs For Brewcraft Rogue Dead Guy
All-in-all, for a new brewer the fermentation temperature may lead to a different tasting beer. This one may be a difficult one to start with. After you get some experience then I highly recommend this recipe kit. Here are the rankings again (out of 5):
- 4.5 for ingredients
- 5 for brewing
- 4 for fermentation (5 for experienced brewers)
- 4.5 for taste
Give this one a try and let us know how it turns out in the comments below or the various social medias at the top of the page.
If you have any questions about this recipe, have made this recipe and want to share, or want me to try another recipe, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org