Just for fun, because I’m curious and because I’ve really been diggin making 4% beers lately. Just kicked a keg of Bitter that I think I have down the way I want it and have a keg of something along the lines of Founder’s All Day ipa which is kind of wheaty, kind of piney and citrusy and only 4%.
Almost every beer I have made has been a session beer by definition. Once it touches your lips it’s just so good. Why would you ever stop at 1? So I don’t have much use for high gravity.
Bitter was already mentioned.
I might go with Dry Stout as this is one I definately try to brew between 4.2-4.5%
And I can drink stout for days. Won a jacket once for downing 16 pints of Guinness on St-Paties day. Just goes down so easy.
I make a 6% or so blonde that I have scaled down in the past to true session strength, around 4.5%. Great summer drinker, but good all year round.
40% flaked maize
Saaz (mainly late) to about 30-40 IBU
US-05 fermented around 60* for the first few days, then ratcheted up to around 70 for another 7 days.
I make a light pils from a recipe brewingdan published on here last year. 1.038 OG and really tasty.
I’m going to say Sam Adam’s Boston Lager. I can drink that stuff all day long and never ever get tired of it, and never feel full.
I am also a big fan of the blonde ale style. Not sure if I have a favorite commercial version or anything, but I do like to brew lots of different recipes in the blonde ale style. I like something with 4.5 to 5% ABV, a nice mild grainy flavor, also with a good bit of hop flavor but no so much hops that it’s in your face and covers the malt. I guess anything from blonde to amber to red in color that is similar to an APA, but is somewhat lower in alcohol and with less hop flavor than an APA, is ideal for sessions. Gosh… I need to make something like that soon…
I would say Switchback Ale, they are so good. One is never enough
I’ve always liked low ABV porters
I’ve had good success lately with the Chinook IPA (3rd batch is currently kegged). It has nice pine undertones and not overly hopped, and @ 4.5% ABV.
Another recent successful brew is the InnKeeper Pale Ale - again, @ 4.5% ABV and tastes great kegged or bottled (don;t you notice that some brews do better in one or the other??). It is just a great tasting beer and I’m brewing another batch this weekend.
I have Dawson’s Multigrain Red (amber ale) in primary right now after having to re-pitch the yeast, but it’s coming along nicely. I would not have chosen this kit but it was recommended by a couple of NB staff and it looks (and tasted) promising. The OG was 1.043 and I expect the ABV will be at @ 4.5%
I’m with you. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in the dark mild neighborhood during the past few years. Very rewarding ales to brew.
I made up an amber light lager recipe that comes in at 3.9%. It has been well received - full taste of beer, low calories and low alcohol; probably would not win any awards at that strength, but liked by all that have tried it. By the same token, I will occasionally allow a blonde ale to creep above 5% - not so sessionable, but clearly flavorful. English Bitters probably top my list, however.
As to commercial beers, I think Uintes does a Polygamy Porter that is session strength and very balanced for the light alcohol level (3.8% or so, IIRC). Also, Belhaven 80 Shilling comes in at 3.9% and pretty flavorful.
A porter/stout at 3.8 to 4 ABV is perfection.
Good beer doesn’t have to hit you upside the head to delver great flavor.
PBR for the win …so I guess lager…
Yeast-driven styles like saisons, belgians, German wheats, kolsches, berliner weiss, etc. are great when brewed at session strength.
Hmmm… I knew there was a reason I did this. A sessionable porter you say? I’m on board with that. But what would differentiate that from say a low gravity brown ale? Or even a mild? Just a little darker, a little more roasty?
Dry Irish Stout may have to be next up.
Scottish Ales. I can drink them like water. Just pitched the yeast in one about an hour ago; overshot my OG to 1.043 - was trying for under 40.
Add me to the Porter list. Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter clocks in around 4% and is immensely flavorful. It’s definitely my go-to winter session beer and I’ve been working on a clone for a little while now.
As far as the difference between a low-gravity Porter and a Brown Ale, you hit it dead on. I brewed a 4% Oatmeal Brown Ale that was on the roasty side and initially tasted closer to a porter for the first month or two until the roast character mellowed out. I think for a Porter I’m thinking roast first, backed up by caramel to fill it out. For a Brown Ale, I do like a bit of roast character, but it is turned way down compared to a stout or porter.
Something along the lines of Stone Ruination, simple grist and lots of IBUs, is what I prefer for all-day drinking without getting a buzz.