15-A Irish Red Ale Brew,Medal, Blog, Repeat

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Active Member
Mar 10, 2017
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Brewed by: Michael Jacobs

Written by: Steve Thanos

Casted behind the shadows of the English Bitter or Pale Ales, the Irish Red Ale’s history is difficult to trace. While some Irish Ales have actually been lagers too, the confusion sets in when considering the American Amber Ale next in line due to its added coloring and ever so slight roasted malt character. Considering this, it makes the Irish Red Ale a nice break from the hop bombs that we all love so much.


A touch of Roasted Barley does this beer wonders with color and a slight roasted taste.

The Irish Red has its origins in the Irish town of Kilkenny at the famous Smithwich Brewery. This red ale really lost the focus of hops and laid its sights on a malt forward beer. The Irish Red Ale never really became popular in Ireland. The Dry Stout and Porters dominated the Emerald

Isle, however, interestingly enough it was vastly more popular in the United States. Thanks in part to Coors Brewing Company purchasing the rights to Killian’s Irish Red from Goerge Killian Lett.


Wort coming to a boil.

When considering your recipe, one must be careful with the grains that are selected. No caramel or crystal malts should be used to impart color as too much will be needed to give the desired color. Likely a heavy caramel flavor would be the end result instead of that red color. As an alternative, a scant amount of Roasted Barley should be used to achieve both that red color and the ever so slight roastiness that really has become synonymous with the Irish Red Ale.

In terms of hopps, English varieties work well. Look towards Kent Goldings, Fuggles, and Perle. Avoid American hops with a citrus profile. A bittering hops at 60 and possibly a half ounce at around 20 minutes should be the hop additions.

First Wort Hopping

First wort hopping (FWH) is done when you add a portion of the hops to the boil kettle as the wort is transferred from the mash tun or lauter tun. As a result, the hops steep in the wort and releases the ever so important oils and resins. You can read more on First Wort Hopping here. The American Homebrewers Association does a great job with this article.

Pale Malt 92%

Melanoiden Malt 4%

Roasted Barley 4%

1 oz East Kent Goldings First Wort Hop

1 oz East Kent Goldings Flamout

Nottingham Yeast