New to ag recipe critique please!

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ancapgeko

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Hey all,
I'm new to brewing and I'm kind of jumping in the deep end but I want to do an all-grain brew. I've been reading lots of recipes and the following is what I've come up with. Any help or critiques would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Devil's Dance Floor Irish Red Raspberry

8 lbs-Marris Otter
.25 lbs-Crystal
.25 lbs-Roasted Barley
1 lbs-Roasted Red Wheat
1 oz Fuggles (60) min
Nottingham or US-05 yeast
1lb raspberries (in secondary rack to after high krausen)

The wheat is stuff I have at home left over from some inherited food storage. I'd like to start using it but I don't want to screw up my beer if I can help it.

Again thanks for any help.
 

beerman1957

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Personally I would avoid the use of fruit in your first batches unless you have seen this used in other recipes. I just don't think adding fruit to a Red Ale would be a good idea for this type of beer. You add a small risk of contamination adding things after the fermentation.

Also, I would not use the red wheat. I can see no reason to do so. I don't think it would contain many fermentables and I'm not sure what it would do to flavor.
 

McGarnigle

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I don't agree with beerman about adding fruit to secondary. I think that's a good technique, although you may have to make sure the berries won't contaminate.

I do agree with the other points. It's tough enough brewing AG right off the bat, adding fruit is another thing to worry about. And I personally wouldn't want raspberry in my Irish red.
 

beerman1957

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Okay, that is fine with me. I just have never done it based on the chance of contamination with Brett which lives on fruit. Maybe just pasteurization of the berries would do the trick?

Never been a fruit-in-beer fan. Thanks for the comments as I try to learn more.
 

bryank

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I hear ya on the not adding fruit to a red but the fruit addition to secondary seems right on with what i've read, it only makes sense to me that after the co2 bubbles out that flavor and aroma would be better retained after primary. maybe boil some water and let it cool down and try to rinse the fruit off first? so long as the white dust isn't on the fruit?
 
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ancapgeko

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Thanks for the response guys. The fruit addition is really more for my wife as the only beers that she's ever really liked before have been fruit beers.
I'll drop the fruit (at least until I've got the recipe down, as well as the process).
Does the base recipe look ok then?
 

Golddiggie

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I wouldn't use fuggles as a bittering hop at all. Use it as your flavor/aroma hop (give it a boil time of 5-20 minutes)... I'm about to brew an Irish amber ale (or red ale) that has 1/2 ounce of Target hops (60 minute boil time), then 1 ounce of Fuggles for flavor/aroma (thinking of adding 1/2 ounce at 15 minutes, and another 1/2 ounce at 5 minutes left in the boil)...

With the 60 minute boil time, you'll lose all the flavor/aroma from the fuggles you're using for bittering... Not something I would do (at all)...

Unless the wheat you inherited is whole grain, and you can be 100% sure it's good still, I wouldn't even think about using it. If it's already crushed, and more than 2-3 months old, I also wouldn't use it.

What toast level is the Crystal malt you have in the recipe? Have you run the recipe through any software to figure out if it's going to hit your target (or not)?? If you're new to all grain brewing (which it sounds like you are) I hope you have your setup/process fully mapped out (assuming it's not dialed in yet)... So, I'd also suggest having some extra light DME on hand, in case you miss your OG numbers by more than a small margin.

I'm using the BIAB AG method... It allows me to go all grain without having false bottoms and such.
 

Frodo

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Recipe sounds good, and I disagree about the fuggles - I think 1 oz would be perfect in an irish red for bittering. As far as the crystal - just depends if you want a bit sweeter caramel flavor lean on the light side, maybe 40 or 60L, and a darker fruit/plum/raisin flavor lean on the dark side, like 120L. Or 6 oz of a lighter crystal and 6 oz of a darker crystal. If you went with only 120L, you might want to reduce the amt of roasted barley a bit. With your current recipe, a mid-range mash temp of 152 to 153F would be a good bet I imagine.

As for the wheat... Not sure what the goal of adding the wheat would be, whether it's "good" or not. If you want to use up a bunch of it, and test whether it's much good, you could focus your next batch on an "old red american wheat"...
 

beerman1957

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@ancapgeko
I also read a few places that if you freeze the berries first, you rupture the outer layer and that infuses more fruit flavor into the beer. Also it was recommended that you should use 3 lbs per 5 gallons.... wow!

Maybe not use the red wheat because it may be a bad idea since you don't know how long it has been sitting around???

You could also split the brew and make 1/2 with fruit and 1/2 without. Of course that would mean getting another fermentation vessel. Be sure to add the fruit at secondary because it probably will make the leftover yeast take off again because of the sugar in the berries. Adding to secondary seems to be the most common response to adding fruit to beer.

Don't let my bias interfere with experimentation. If the berries are clean, there should be minimal risk of infection, according to a LOT of reading I did.
 

Golddiggie

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I'm sticking to my hop comments/recommendations... With Fuggles as a bittering hop, and NO flavor/aroma hop add, I don't see it as coming out much like an ale at all. With the 60 minute boil on the Fuggles, you won't get any flavor/aroma into the brew from them (or so little you won't notice over everything else).

For the fruit additions, you could do the 50/50 batch split... OR, brew ~5.5-6 gallons (end volume) and pull off a gallon for the wife to put on fruit (in secondary)... Then all you need to do is pick up a <$5 gallon glass jug for that. Scale the fruit addition to 1 gallon and rack brew onto it.

For the amount of berries to use, it really depends on how much flavor you're looking to pull out of them. I would only let the brew rest on them for 5-7 days though. Once you go past the week mark (and get closer to 2 weeks) you run the risk of pulling tannins out of the seeds, or other flavors you probably don't want. As a good gauge, in a 3 gallon batch of mead, I used 3#'s of blackberries in primary (1 week) before racking off of them. Once fermentation was completed, I then racked onto another 3#'s of berries (for 6 days), then racked onto a final 1.5#'s of berries for another 5-7 days (would need to check the brew log to see exactly how long)... Since that brew needs to age, to mellow out, I'm not going to add any more berries until it's closer to bottling time (if at all)... Looking at another 5-6 months before that happens...

I would get as close to 1# of berries as you can (this time of year) and add them one package (probably 6 ounces) at a time. Rack off of the berries before you add new/more though.

As for the freezing idea, I've read about that too. I've not used it, instead just giving the berries a good mashing (potato masher in a stainless steel bowl)... Do NOT put them through a blender of food processor. You'll cut the seeds and get the bitter flavor from those in excess.
 
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ancapgeko

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Thanks for the help everyone. The more I think about it I think I'll just stick to a standard recipe until I get something that I really like. Then I'll experiment with different techniques and ingredients. I'm just letting my mad scientist side get a little out of control.
As for the crystal malt I think I'm going to go for a crystal 40L. I like the caramel flavors more than the raisin/plum flavors for a red. I also don't want it to be too dark.
As for the fuggles: I'm going to keep them at 60 for the bittering as I don't want a big hop flavor, but I think I will add .25 oz at 15 minutes for just a "kiss" of hops.
Thanks everybody for the help. I knew I could count on all the good folks at HBT for good advice.
 

Frodo

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With Fuggles as a bittering hop, and NO flavor/aroma hop add, I don't see it as coming out much like an ale at all. With the 60 minute boil on the Fuggles, you won't get any flavor/aroma into the brew from them (or so little you won't notice over everything else).
An irish red ale is not about highlighting hop taste or aroma. If you highlight the hops it'd be more like an american amber, especially with S-05 and probably even nottingham. Not sure what you mean about it not being much like an "ale" at all without a taste or aroma hop addition... :confused:
 

Golddiggie

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An irish red ale is not about highlighting hop taste or aroma. If you highlight the hops it'd be more like an american amber, especially with S-05 and probably even nottingham. Not sure what you mean about it not being much like an "ale" at all without a taste or aroma hop addition... :confused:
I had to re-read the details (in BJCP) on the Irish Ale style... Looks like little, if any, hop aroma/flavor... Still, you could always go with some and still be within style parameters...

I'm still making my Irish amber/red ale (mashing now) so I have time to tweak my hop adds... Still planning on using Target for bittering, and thinking about using just 1/2 ounce of Fuggles for a 5 minute boil time... It might not be a classic 'Irish' ale when done, but it should still be rather good.
 

Frodo

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I have a bit of a problem with folks on here posting some pretty definitive advice, when they may not be operating with the best experience or knowledge base, and they don't couch their statements with a disclaimer.

I'm no expert by any means and I'll be the first to admit that advice I've given I've later learned was probably not the best, or was at least slanted incorrectly by my own experience; I think in the best interest of factual info, that when you don't know firsthand through experience or at least have read something from at least one reputable source, that maybe you should couch statements with something like "I'm not really positive, but I'm thinking that....", or "I've read in whatever book or magazine that...." Sometimes I don't even bother posting a question on here because judging by some of the advice people give, it's hard to know for sure whether posting the question will result in good info or not. If it's just a WAG why not just say so... Just sayin.

EDIT: I don't mean to come across as condescending. I'm just trying to ask to please try to refrain from sounding so definitive if you're really not sure.
 

Golddiggie

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I have a bit of a problem with folks on here posting some pretty definitive advice, when they may not be operating with the best experience or knowledge base, and they don't couch their statements with a disclaimer.

I'm no expert by any means and I'll be the first to admit that advice I've given I've later learned was probably not the best, or was at least slanted incorrectly by my own experience; I think in the best interest of factual info, that when you don't know firsthand through experience or at least have read something from at least one reputable source, that maybe you should couch statements with something like "I'm not really positive, but I'm thinking that....", or "I've read in whatever book or magazine that...." Sometimes I don't even bother posting a question on here because judging by some of the advice people give, it's hard to know for sure whether posting the question will result in good info or not. If it's just a WAG why not just say so... Just sayin.

EDIT: I don't mean to come across as condescending. I'm just trying to ask to please try to refrain from sounding so definitive if you're really not sure.
If you would read my first post in this thread, you would see "I wouldn't..." That alone should be enough of a disclaimer for anyone with more than a few remaining [living] brain cells...

When someone asks for an opinion on a recipe, you'll get people pulling from their own experience and tastes.

Personally, I don't like IPA's, or anything else with a lot of hop bitterness (so most of the "American" style brews). I do appreciate good hop flavor though. I also don't care for heavy spicy flavors, which also influences the hops I use and how I use them...

Personally, I like the flavor Fuggles (and EKG) give to a brew, so I wouldn't use them for bittering. I've just started (with my previous brew, and now the batch in process) using Target hops, but do like how they smell (before using them)... Once I have the brews using them in the pipeline, I'll know for certain what I think of them.
 
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