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Southern Tier Big Red
Written by Tom
Heritage. That was the word that came to mind when I saw this beer. My great grandfather worked for 30 years with International Harvester (IH) Farmall producing the red tractors of old. Later, my grandfather worked 32 years with IH before the tractor line merged with Case. My father just retired, after 45 years of service, from International Truck and Engine Company a descendant of the early Farmall machinery. I grew up loving Red and hating Green (i.e., John Deere, whose name was a sin to mention around grandpa). Naturally, part of the draw to this beer was the Big Red tractor front and center on the bottle. It instantly brought me back to yesteryear when I used to play with my toy tractors my dad got me.
Big Red made me proud…proud of my family’s heritage and proud to be a beer enthusiast. Built around the hop Hallertau, it has a massive bouquet that is earthy and spicy. Southern Tier writes, “The delicate and spicy aroma present in this flower has been responsible for generations of great beers. Hallertau hops are to a brewer what an old tractor is to a farmer: reliable.”
They use Hallertau Magnum and Tradition during the boil and dry hop it with Hallertau Perle and Magnum. The hops are complimented by 2-Row Pale, Caramel, and Chocolate malts that impart a sweet flavor. It was toasty, bready, and caused me to think of combines harvesting grain (fit with the tractor theme). The color was a mixture of reds, browns, and yellows in my tall glass. The ABV was 9.5%, but it was hidden well by the ingredients.
The mouthfeel and aftertaste were similar to other Red ales I’ve reviewed, so nothing really stuck out in my mind. The interesting aspect of this brew was the use of hops. I found it refreshingly different when comparing it to Cascade, Horizon, and Amarillo hopped beers. I’ll leave you with Southern Tier’s closing sentence. “Big Red’s ability to please is as dependable as your grandpa’s old tractor, and just as powerful–so please don’t drink and drive.”