Craft The Perfect Draft - Brew The Irish Red

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Finally, I have a few days off in a row and they couldn't have come along at a better time. The end of the year always seems to be full of things to do and not a lot of time to left to do them all. This year I'm thankful that my brew room and pilot system improvements have given me the control I've always wanted over my brewing conditions from brew house to packaging and that's been a huge relief. The beer shown in the picture below is what I'm drinking right now and it's delicious. It's a Belgian Witbier brewed to style less than three weeks ago and I've already been getting complimented for brewing such a great tasting beer, it's already become one of my favorites. So do I plan on brewing it again soon, no because there's another style of beer I want to brew next, an authentic Irish Red Ale. Not to be confused with its Belgian cousin the Belgian Red ale or an Irish Red Lager, the Irish Red Ale style is unique in its own right. Although I've never brewed this style of beer before I can already imagine how it tastes and looks in the glass, a nice rich red color with definite malt character that finishes a bit dry but isn't over shadowed by hop aroma.

While researching what goes into an Irish Red Ale I came up with three different grain bills all of which could use the same hop schedule and match the BJCP style descriptions. The beer I will brew is going to be red in color first and foremost, it's also going to have a very lightly roasted and bready flavor balanced with just enough hop bittering to avoid sweetness and deliver a slightly dry finish. There's already plenty of information published online about brewing this style of beer and it wasn't too difficult to find a grain bill out there that I wanted to try.
Style: Irish Red Ale
Estimated OG=1.056, IBU=26, SRM=15, FG=1.014, ABV= 5.5%
Marris Otter Malt - 92%
Melanoidin Malt - 7%
Roasted Barley - 1%
I figured out that four ounces of East Kent Golding hops would provide just the right amount of bittering needed to offset any sweetness left over after the fermentation with Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast was complete. I originally planned on using White Labs WLP004 - Irish Ale Yeast and a sizable starter but my LHBS didn't have it in stock on time for brew day. I go all out with my beers so after stripping my brewing water of salts and minerals I'll be creating a water profile to match the style of an Irish Red Ale. The strike and sparge water will be adjusted close to 5.6 pH with salts and minerals added to support malt flavor. I'll set the mash to run at 154F for 90 minutes to further enhance the malt character of the beer. The 70F fermentation will have to be completed in two weeks because I plan on drinking this beer before the end of the year. A little over a week for the beer to condition and force carbonate in the keg should produce an enjoyable beer to go along with a nice holiday dinner. The S-04 is a good yeast to use to ferment this beer, it's a high flocculent strain with good sedimentation qualities that will produce a very colorful, clear, clean tasting beer and I'm excited to be using it for the first time.

Each of the three styles of beer I've brewed in the past three months were very different from each another. Each beer had an enhanced color and taste that made them true representatives of their individual styles. For this batch I envision a beautiful deep red colored ale that's malt forward, balanced and slightly dry with just enough carbonation to prevent adding much more bitterness to the beer. This year has been really amazing and filled with lots of new brewing adventures, I've never been so excited. But the really amazing thing is that next year is going to be even better than ever for brewing and I can hardly wait to brew the Irish Red.
Vince Feminella [aka: ScrewyBrewer]
[email protected]
I have always throw some CaraAroma in mine to give it a nice rich red color. Looks like a good Irish Red Ale though, so does your witbier.
Irish, is by far my favourite style, yet the one I can never get they way I want. I like the roast to be a little more upfront, the best off the shelf example I can name is Pike Peaks Devils Head Red.