Wilko (Artisan range) Thirsty Devil Red Ale

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May 27, 2020
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Out in the Styx, Norfolk
Hi, my first review so hope it's OK. A few mentions of this kit, but no review that I could find.

What's in the kit?
  • 1.8kg malt
  • 6g yeast (type not identified)
  • 10g Cascade hop pellets
  • Instruction booklet

How I brewed it
  • Kit malt + kit yeast + 500g medium spraymalt DME + 1kg brewing sugar - OG 1046, topped up to the full 23L, tons of agitation.
  • Primary:
    • 14 days in brewchamber (18C-21C range)
    • Day 2: obvious lid pressure, krausen, and brewing aromas
    • Day 9: SG test 1008-1010 (hydrometers read differently)
    • Day 9: dry hop added, just chucked in the pellets
    • Day 12: SG test 1006-1008
    • Day 14: SG test FG 1006-1008 (ABV therefore approx 5.25%)
  • Secondary:
    • Syphoned (with muslin bag filter) into pressure barrel, primed with 110g raw cane golden caster sugar
    • 14 days indoors in a walk-in wardrobe, totally left alone
  • Cool conditioning: 14 days in shed (in November, cold but not freezing), again left alone
  • Usual pressure barrel thing - first couple of glasses just foam, chucked. Moderated tap pour and got first pint out.
  • LOVED IT, and was amazed how clear and ready to drink it was after just 42 days. Honestly sat there grinning to myself; only my 4th brew, but the first that I'd describe as proper pub quality.
  • Good malt taste and depth, hops giving it a lovely zing, didn't feel thin despite quite a bit of brewing sugar. No twang or yeastiness that I could detect. Nice creamy head, persisted really well to bottom of glass. Very smooth and easy drinking.
  • Great with food, but flavoursome enough for standalone drink.
  • Hops started to wear off after a couple of weeks. Have since found out that 10g is a bit of a measly amount of hops. But a very smooth and drinkable beer right down to last couple of pints
  • Self-carbonation stayed fine until 2/3 through keg, then getting a bit flat, so shot in a CO2 bulb. Needed another bulb for the final 5 pints or so.
Do it again?
  • Damn right - it was excellent. Ordered 2 more kits, and got one on the go as of this week.
  • Going for exactly the same method & recipe as above, except got some more Cascade, so bumping the hops up to 40g.
  • Also since learned of the hop steep in hot water technique which @terrym and others of this parish have mentioned. Have used that trick since with some Saaz for lagers (still conditioning, so no taste test on those yet), but going for that technique with the Cascade for the next Thirsty Devil.
Hope that's useful for someone out there. Thanks as usual for everyone's knowledge and helpfulness throughout the forum. Great people and a great resource for learner-brewers like me.