Brewday 4: Irish Red Ale

Brew day 4: 17/02/2013

Well, this one will be a shorter post than usual. Courtesy of an Iphone issue all the brew photos I took today have disappeared! Booooo! Any way, I’ll try to describe as best I can!

The ingredients for Irish Red Ale:

  • 3kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 1kg Lager Malt
  • 0.5kg Crystal Malt (60L)
  • 50g Roasted Wheat
  • 25g Bramling Cross @ 90 minutes
  • 15g Bramling Cross @ 15 minutes
  • 15g East Kent GoldingsĀ @ 15 minutes
  • 1g Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
  • 1 White Labs 0004 Irish Ale yeast

As you can see this is a more complicated grain bill than my previous brews. The addition of the Crystal Malt should help provide a better ‘mouthfeel’ and head, the Roasted Wheat in this quantity gives the ale it’s red colouring, and the Lager Malt? Well that’s there because I had some left over and thought I might as well use it up on this brew! (It is not so different from Maris Otter and it’s inclusion shouldn’t have any noticeable effect on this beer!)

The grains were mashed for 90 minutes at 67 C before the wort was drained off into the boiler. Fortunately there were no stuck sparges this time either!

As the wort came to the boil the first 25g of the Bramling Cross Hops were added. Bramling Cross Hops have a fruity/spicy flavour to them, which should be nicely smoothed off by the East Kent Goldings (EKG) added with 15 minutes to go. Another 15g Bramling Cross also went in to accent the aroma of these flavours, and of course the 1g of Irish Moss to help clarify the beer. When the 90 minutes was up, the wort was cooled to 25 C and drained into the fermenter ready for the yeast. The Original Gravity (OG) reading was 1.048 which is slightly more than expected, and assuming the target Final Gravity (FG) is hit, will mean the ale is 0.5% abv stronger than planned… oh well!

On my previous brews I have used dried power yeasts. Some of these are pitched dry, and some needed to be rehydrated before use, but for this time I was going to use a liquid yeast specifically for this style of ale. After a good shake this was added to the wort in the fermenter and the heater was turned on.

Another first I would be trying on this brew is ‘cold crashing’ the ale. The fermenter would be moved (excluding the heater) into a fridge and down to a temperature of just 2 C. This should help produce an even clearer beer as more break material will settle out, and the yeast ‘cake’ at the bottom of the fermenter will be slightly firmer and more difficult to kick up when bottling day comes. Fingers crossed for my best beer yet, I’ll post some pictures when tasting day comes at the end of March!

Cheers!