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Old 10-20-2010, 08:26 AM   #1
edkittley
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Default My first recipe

New to brewing, have three extract batches under my belt and since I have grown annoyed with bottling, I convince my SWMBO to get me a mini fridge for my birthday that I will subsequently convert to a kegerator, I'm gonna go the route of biermuncher with the tower and drip tray. To christen the kegerator I decided to make a go of coming with a recipe of my own. I decided to go with a simple Irish Red Ale. The following is the recipe, I would love some input on where I could be going wrong with it or any suggestions on what could be added. I upped the Gravity a little above style and as such went a little over on the IBUs as well.


8 lbs Pale Liquid Extract
2 lbs Munich Extract
2 lbs Crystal Malt - 20L
4.0 oz Chocolate Malt
1.00 oz Northern Brewer (60 min.)
0.75 oz Williamette (15 min.)
Danstar Windsor Dry Yeast

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:06 AM   #2
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This is a 5 gallon batch? IMO, way too much crystal, too much extract, not enough hops.

With this recipe you've got an OG of 1.091 with only 22 IBU. Meaning your beer will be very sweet. Target OG for Irish Red should be in the 1.044 - 1.060 range

Cut your extract to 6lbs, your crystal to 1/2lb and maybe go with 6-8oz of chocolate malt.

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:09 AM   #3
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Beersmith had the OG at 1.074 and the IBUs at 32.2. I recently had an Irish Red that was 7.5% alcohol and was aiming for that.

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Old 10-20-2010, 12:33 PM   #4
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First things first: You've got, by your own admission, three brews under your belt. I'm going to Ruin Your Fun by advising you to not go out on a limb.

You want to christen your new kegorator - props to SWMBO, by the way! - with a special beer. That's fine. Recognize, however, that big beers like your proposed recipe, which is assuredly a big beer, take a goodish bit of finesse. I strongly advise you to wait until you understand brewing - from recipe formulation to fermentation - better before you go too far afield. Brew a more approachable recipe.

You can't brew outside the box if you don't know what the box looks like, what its dimensions are, what it's made of. After only three brews, you can't possibly know that. So increase your chances of confident success by staying inside the box a little longer, K?

Now, let's take a look at your proposed recipe.

Take another look at the Irish Red Ale style parameters. Max OG is 1.060. Above that and you're doing something else; it may be tasty, but it ain't Irish Red Ale.

I like your grist, to a point. You've got the key ingredients, which is awesome. Unfortunately, amounts are out of whack. The addition of Munich extract is very good indeed. The Crystal malt amount is very much excessive. Don't exceed 10% in a beer like this, or it will be cloyingly sweet regardless of how high your calculated IBU.

I'd reduce the Pale extract to 6 lbs, replace the Crystal 20L with a half-pound of Crystal 60L, keep the Munich extract the same, and knock the Chocolate back to 2 ounces. That should get you ~1.060 OG.

Now, before we go to the hops, let's talk yeast. The style requires a fairly dry finish. That means, to my mind, attenuation of at least 75% - if you start at 1.060, you should end below 1.015. Windsor will not do that. Windsor is a yeast you choose for a low-gravity session beer like Ordinary Bitter or Scottish 60/- or Mild, to get flavor and body from residual malt sugar. S-04 might get there. It's a far better choice than Windsor in this application, I can tell you.

On to hops. One ounce of Northern Brewer pellets at 9% alpha acids will, according to my calculations, produce 42+ IBU in a wort derived from my suggested grist. That's waaaaaaaaay too high. Irish Red Ale is not supposed to have a pronounced bitterness. You'll need to know the AA% of your specific hops, but I'd not exceed 25 IBU. Especially if you're adding flavor hops, which I think is a good idea. I'd knock it back to a half-ounce - you want subtle - and call it a day.

That's about it as far as my feedback. Summing up: Until you've got some more XP, don't go too low in the dungeon. Keep killing kobolds and skeletons, gain a couple of levels, and then go after the trolls.



Cheers,

Bob

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for bursting my bubble Bob. But seriously, I appreciate the detailed reply and the advice. Especially pointing out the AA% of the hops I'm using. I get all of my ingredients from Austin Homebrew and their Northern Brewer Hops are listed at 10.4%, so yeah, that would've been rough. I'm glad I didn't order everything before I got some feedback. I went back and dialed the recipe back down to style and will run with that. I guess I was letting my past successes get to my head, but then again, I was working with recipes developed by pros. Thanks!

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:39 PM   #6
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So Bob is right, but remember that this brew is part of your experience- pay attention to the way the variables interact, the way each ingredient comes through, etc.. Getting an understanding of what various levels of bitterness and types of maltiness taste like, especially in combination with each other, is a huge part of designing good beers. As Bob said, pay attention to the box, so when you do get around to brewing outside it, you can move in the direction you want and leave less to chance. The discipline to stay a bit conservative when getting started is a tough one- I made a really bad stout before I went back to brewing established recipes and paying close attention to how they achieved particular flavors. Good on you for heeding the advice, and good luck with the brew.

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:45 PM   #7
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Ed,

Thanks for taking my advice in the spirit it was given. It's hard to hear, "Down boy!" and not get a case of the arse. But it's given in the spirit of only wanting you to brew the best beer you can from day one. I've seen too many new brewers want to brew "exceptional" beers - in the sense that "exceptional" means big, bold, hard-to-brew-successfully recipes - and fail, only to get frustrated with the craft and give it up.

Michaelangelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel on his fourth attempt.

You're in a fascinating and wonderful hobby, which has the added benefit of physically transporting your consciousness. Savor it. Walk slowly through its many paths. You won't be sorry.

Cheers!

Bob

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