Quantcast

Recipe Tweaking- India Red Ale

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher. I must admit, when I first saw the title of this book, I was not immediately drawn to it. I am a pretty pragmatic guy, and I am not usually one to go extreme or radical on anything. But one day I found myself at the homebrew shop waiting for a CO2 refill, and began to read. Randy Mosher immediately captured me as he described his background and what the book was all about. About this time my CO2 was ready, so I decided to have the book rung up with my tank of gas (I now recommend this book as required reading for every homebrewer I meet.).
Thumbing through the recipes I saw India Red Ale. The first thing I remember noting about Mosher's IRA was that the base malt was odd, at least to me; about 60% pale and 40% Munich. To this point I had not blended base malts-something I do often now as a result of this beer. Not only was the base malt bill odd to me, Mosher seemed to lean heavily on the crystal too, 1.25 lbs, much of it dark crystal in a 5 gallon batch. Then the recipe calls for some black malt, which seemed like overkill for both color and flavor.

Having brewed a few decent American IPAs and living in Portland I had become accustomed to our NW hops and was scratching my head at the recipe as written with Cascade to bitter and Goldings for flavor and aroma. Again, odd... or was this just radical? I knew that I was not in love with Goldings, from brewing a couple of "authentic" ESB recipes. This is probably due to my lust for all hops dank ,citrusy or piney.
As a big fan of a couple of hoppy Portland area red ales; especially Double Mountain IRA and Laurelwood Free Range Red I had been wanting to brew a hoppy red, so the radical Brewing recipe seemed a good place to start. I decided to use Mosher's grain bill, but change the hops (but not the hopping schedule) to suit my tastes. A glance in my brewing freezer revealed Amarillo, Cascade and Simcoe...seemed like a good mix?
I decided to use the Simcoe to bitter due to its higher alpha acid percentage and low cohumulone. Amarillo for flavor at 30 min and Cascade at 5 minutes for Aroma. Then dry hop with all three hops, leaning more on Amarillo, which I hoped would be nice with the sweet malty backbone. I put it all together in BeerTools, and the recipe came in at OG 1.065, 16-17 SRM and about 70 IBU.
To digress, I am a science teacher, I tried to only manipulate one aspect of the recipe at a time. However, reality is that I changed all the hops from the original recipe, but since I had never brewed the beer before, I felt OK using my version as my control batch. I brewed the first batch without a hitch, hitting every number just about perfectly, something that does not always happen for me.

The first time I tried a gravity sample I knew this was a good beer. The next time I had a sample after dry hopping I knew I had a great beer! The taste was so amazing to me; the malt was very substantial and complex yet blended with the hops so perfectly. The aroma was just what you want in an aromatic IPA mingled with the bready Munich and dark malt overtones. I knew this was one I wanted feedback on, which my brewing buddies are always happy to provide, but I felt that entering it in a homebrew competition would be better. It just so happened that the Slurp and Burp Homebrew Competition was just around the corner and they had a new "Northwest" category. Since my IRA was too hoppy to be an American Amber and too dark to be an IPA, I entered it in the Northwest category.
The beer was a hit, winning the category and earning scores from 39-41 points from the judges. The only "dings" were wanting even more aroma, and maybe slightly too sweet. Feeling like this recipe was worthy of sharing, I posted it on HomeBrewTalk. Though it is nowhere near as popular as one of EdWort, BierMuncher, or Yooper's recipes its been fun to have a recipe that brewers like and continue to tweak.
As this recipe has evolved, with dozens of brewers chiming in with results and alterations I have learned a lot about recipe formulation. I often use Magnum or Columbus to bitter this beer, and have tried all kinds of hopping schedules-even single hop versions with all Simcoe or Columbus. I have brewed a "light" version at 1.060, that I prefer in the summer. Using English yeast such as Wyeast 1968 is also a nice yeast to use, adding some mild esters. I have even brewed this beer as a lager that was very smooth and unique.
My recipe has evolved to the version below as my current favorite version of Mosher's IRA. A great hoppy beer for winter; plenty of complex malt and just enough alcohol to warm you up a bit. I moved the Cascade to 20 minutes and the Amarillo to 5, as I find the aroma works best with this grain bill.

India Red Ale by TimBrewz as inspired by Randy Mosher
Brewery efficiency at 84%
OG 1.065
FG 1.014-1.016
SRM 16-17
IBU 65-70
ABV 6.3-6.6%
Pale Ale Malt 6.5 lbs (51.5%)
Munich type 1 (6-10L) 5 lbs. (40%)
Crystal 40L .5 lbs (4%) (decreased from .75 lbs in the orginal)
Crystal 90L .5 lbs (4%)
Black malt 1 oz (.5%)
All whole hops
Simcoe(13% aa) 1 oz 60 min
Cascade(7% aa)1 oz 20 min (switched order from first recipe)
Amarillo (9.7% aa)1 oz 5 min (switch order from first recipe)
Simcoe .75 oz dry hops
Amarillo 1.25 oz dry hops
Cascade .75 oz dry hops
Mash 151-2 for 60 min
Collect 7 gallons
to yield 5.5 gal.
American Ale yeast.
***
Tim "Timbrewz" Livingston is one of the brewers making everyone's beer better here on HomeBrewTalk. I really appreciate Tim giving us the time to explain his creation, and hopefully allow us all some insight into the design process we're all attempting to master.

 
Weird because I love a heavy helping of crystal in IPA's also... The conventional wisdom is it tends to bury the hops with residual sweetness. For me, it has the opposite effect, the crystal proves balance.
Sierra Nevada Celebration comes to mind...
Thanks for the article. I now know I'm not alone. Will definitely check out the book as well.
 
I love mixing Pale or 2 row with Munich or Vienna....just seems to work so well.
I have been looking at the India Red in Moshers book for a few years now, maybe this will get me to brew it!!!
 
Crystal can be overdone, but in the case of this recipe it makes the beer work. I find that the more "bready" the base grain bill the more crystal you can get away with before it seems too sweet.
@MX1 I do a 50% pale, 30% Vienna, 20% Munich mix often and it creates a fantastic background for just about any recipe that is in the deep gold or darker range.
As for the IRA, its a great winter beer for hopheads:)
 
Sounds great. I have an India Red recipe that has almost the same grain bill. I have started to use Munich in most of my beers, even more of a session ale. My hops are different but similar amounts, IBU's and time. You could do 50 variations just playing with hops. I love the color and clarity too.
 
I recently started kegging and found that a bit of Irish Moss helps the clarity but possibly takes the edge off of the hops. I notice that you don't have a clarifying agent in your recipe. Any tips?
 
With the broad variety of hops, malts, yeasts- you can brew an endless number of versions of IPAs, not to mention DIPAs, which is an excellent basis for such experimentation. I'll definitely be trying this recipe in the future, it sounds delicious.
 
I brewed the original Mosher recipe. I too scratched my head at the recipe but quickly decided Mosher knows more than me! At first it tasted a bit off, but now its very good after a few weeks in the keg. I cant wait to try your recipe above. I have some 2014 Amarillo and Simcoe that just arrived! I can smell it now! Thanks for the recipe.
 
One other note on his book. There are several corrections to various recipes in the book on his website. Check it out before you brew. Some of the mistakes will make a difference.
 
Top