1st Irish Red Ale...a little off

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derekjames

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Hey Everyone,

My first red ale didn't turn out to be the FG, ABV, or color that the recipe predicted using Brewtarget. Just looking for a little guidance as to what happened.

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.008 (should've been 1.014)
ABV: 6.4% (should've been 5.5%)
Color: pale orange (should've been coppery amber)

The boil and fermentation went fine. The yeast started super fast too (yeast starter=good!!), within 12 hours of pitching. I racked to keg after 18 days, the beer is currently carbonating.

Fermentables such as DME lite, Amber extract, Carawheat grain and 1lb of brown sugar was used. Whirfloc at end of boil and small amounts of aroma hops boiled at various times. I also tossed in some whiskey-soaked oak cubes at day 14 of fermentation.

The beer tastes fine, but I have a few questions...:confused:

Why is there virtually no toasty, oaky, or malty notes?
Why did the FG drop so low if the recipe was followed?
Does the low FG account for the ABV being higher?
If I drop in more whiskey-cubes straight into keg during carbonation, can I impart more toasted oak notes before serving?

Thanks for any help, and Cheers!! :D
 

Backporchbrewery

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Looks like the sugar is what dropped your FG, in turn, raising your ABV. I've never had a recipe with 1lb+ of sugar finish anywhere near 1.014. The lower FG also can make a beer dryer and lighter bodied which may account for the lack of "malty" notes (which is usually just a lighter bodied beer and can sometimes be perceived as less "malty" than one of more body).

Side note: I've experienced much more maltiness/toasty flavor from using amber malt (Kiln amber is awesome) rather than the amber extract. But as far as Irish Red goes, it's usually just a base malt (or pale extract), c40-c120, and a little roasted barley.

No idea on the oak cubes, but I would think they'd need at least a 1-2 weeks to impart flavors.
 

duboman

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+1 on the above, as for the oak, it is a very dense wood. If you soaked them in whiskey you needed to do this for at least 1-2 months for the wood to take on the whiskey and then secondary for almost a month as well. If you did not allow for enough time you did not get what you wanted in flavor.

You can certainly try them in the keg an let them sit for a while, should work, just needs time.
 

theshoe82

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Try 2 oz of roasted barley next time. I used that much in my Irish Red and it came out great.

Also, the color of the beer is probably not going to look like Killians Irish Red. Most people think that's the case with some Irish Brews, but often its a dark dark amber or copper color instead. No matter, as it still tastes wonderful!
 
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derekjames

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I appreciate all the feedback fellas! The oak cubes did soak in whiskey for a bout two months but obviously 5 days in the fermentor wasn't nearly enough time. I should have had another batch of cubes ready for the keg. I'll reduce brown sugar in exchange for more steeped grain.

I will also take 'theshoe82' suggestion up on roasted barley. I wasn't going for Killians, but rather that dark dark amber you mentioned. Oh well, maybe next time.
 
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