Red Ale Recipe - Vienna and CaraRed

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ghpeel

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Hi everyone. I am planning my first brew after taking about 8 years off from brewing due to burnout over a bug in my system that ruined a dozen or so batches. My wife (who's never had my homebrew before), requested a Red Ale for the autumn, so I was reviewing some recipes and came across a Weyerman recipe for a German red ale (didn't know that was a thing) that used Vienna (66%), CaraRed (18%), Melanoidin (8%) and CaraMunich I (8%). Here's their recipe. I tended to like my beers made with Vienna and other Weyermann malts, and a Red Ale seems like a nice easy beer to test out my new system on, so here's the recipe I'm working out:

The Red Malloy


Irish Red Ale, 5.5 gal batch, 67% efficiency, Gravity 1.046 start, 1.010 end, 25 IBUs

7.00lb Vienna (Weyermann)
1.25lb CaraRed
0.50lb 6-row (just for help on diastatic power, Brewfather gave me a warning before I added this)
0.50lb CaraMunich Type I
0.50lb Melanoidin
2oz Carafa Special I (the dehusked)
1.25oz Hallertau @ 60min
0.50oz Hallertau @ Cube Hopping (I do No-Chill in a HDPE cube)
Nottingham Yeast (dry, 2 packs)

I made a Red a long time back with Marris Otter and a pound of CaraRed and it came out quite nice. I will be mail ordering my yeast, so I'm planning on pitching 2 packs just to be on the safe side and I am in Florida and the yeast might degrade in transport. Water is R/O and I'll be adding just 2.5gCalChlor, 1.5gGysum, and .5gEpsom to get a very low mineral beer. I know that's not exactly on style, but I just don't want to go crazy with salt additions at this time. Brewfather says I'll have a mash pH of 5.47 with this recipe so I think I'm good as far as pH goes.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please share, and wish me luck on my return to brewing! The wife and I really just drink mostly German/Czech lagers these days so I'm hoping to pivot to brewing some good lagers after I get at least 1-2 fast ales done to start my pipeline and also to blow the cobwebs off my brains and my mashtun.
 

ebbelwoi

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In terms of looking red, my most successful beers have been in the 28-29 EBC range, and absolutely clear. I've found that any haze just makes it look brown.

Good luck with your comeback beer!
 

Miraculix

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This is too much of everything.

You got more than 20% crystal malt, that alone would be too much sweetness. Then you got Vienna as a base, which brings loads of flavour on its own. Add these two together and you got the complete overload. And on top of that there's 8% melanoidin, madness.

A really easy fix would be just to use 100% red-x malt. Beautiful red colour and it really doesn't need anything else in it, plenty of flavour in itself. I usually brew American reds with it, but it should work with your noble hops as well. Just make sure to mash not too high because this malt tends to be a bit sweeter than your usual base malt. Definitely don't add crystal to this one.

If you would want to stay with your grist, I would cut all the crystal at least in half. My personal preference of crystal amount is at about 5% of the total grist, up to ten % might still be ok. But 20% is way too much. The melanoidin malt is not necessary, if you ask me, the Vienna already provides these type of flavours in abundance. But if you insist, cut it back to two or three %.

I know we want everything in there because we can, but it's usually better to only use 1 to 3 malts and each one for a specific reason.


And one last comment on the German red style, I've had some and they were all not good (I'm German and live in Germany). I'd swap those hops for nice American hops like Chinook or Simcoe. We Germans tend to not understand foreign beer styles very well. Almost all of the American beer styles brewed by German breweries are way too sweet. There are exceptions like Crew Republic, but in general, German American beer is not good. We can make lager and weissbier (ok plus some regional specialities), that's it.

This weyermann recipe looks like the prototype of a failed attempt to recreate an American style and calling it German because the hops have been swapped with noble hops. Doesn't work that way.

If there's a true German historic red, then it wouldn't include crystal malt.
 
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ghpeel

ghpeel

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This is too much of everything.

You got more than 20% crystal malt, that alone would be too much sweetness.

If you would want to stay with your grist, I would cut all the crystal at least in half. My personal preference of crystal amount is at about 5% of the total grist, up to ten % might still be ok. But 20% is way too much. The melanoidin malt is not necessary, if you ask me, the Vienna already provides these type of flavours in abundance. But if you insist, cut it back to two or three %.

Miraculix, thanks for your input!

I agree that the total crystal seems high, but my recipe is actually LESS total crystal than the Weyermann recipe. They specifically say on their CaraRed info page : "Recommended addition: up to 25%" and "For a deep red beer, we recommend a combination of Carared® with Melanoidin malt". I wonder what the reason is for them advising it to go that high. Is there a chance that CaraRed is not actually 100% crystal? Would they have some non-caramalized malt in the mix? I have learned that maltsters are somewhat secretive about their process, especially around trademarked brands. Perhaps Weyeremann's CaraRed is not, say, a direct equivalent of the same amount of normal C40 or whatever.

25% seems nuts to me, but then again, I used 1lb of CaraRed in a 4gal batch and it did not come out 'sweet'. I think while it might ruin a beer to go too heavy with these malts, it won't hurt it to go simpler, and I can add them back on the next batch if I really want to bump up their presence in the beer.

I'll drop the CaraMunich completely and cut back on the Melanoiden to 1/4lb, in addition to cutting the CaraRed back to just 1lb. And if its still too sweet, then I'll at least have learned my lesson.
 

Miraculix

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Miraculix, thanks for your input!

I agree that the total crystal seems high, but my recipe is actually LESS total crystal than the Weyermann recipe. They specifically say on their CaraRed info page : "Recommended addition: up to 25%" and "For a deep red beer, we recommend a combination of Carared® with Melanoidin malt". I wonder what the reason is for them advising it to go that high. Is there a chance that CaraRed is not actually 100% crystal? Would they have some non-caramalized malt in the mix? I have learned that maltsters are somewhat secretive about their process, especially around trademarked brands. Perhaps Weyeremann's CaraRed is not, say, a direct equivalent of the same amount of normal C40 or whatever.

25% seems nuts to me, but then again, I used 1lb of CaraRed in a 4gal batch and it did not come out 'sweet'. I think while it might ruin a beer to go too heavy with these malts, it won't hurt it to go simpler, and I can add them back on the next batch if I really want to bump up their presence in the beer.

I'll drop the CaraMunich completely and cut back on the Melanoiden to 1/4lb, in addition to cutting the CaraRed back to just 1lb. And if its still too sweet, then I'll at least have learned my lesson.
Might be that carared is different, I never used it. There are other "crystal" malts that are even almost neutral, like cara pils for example. Used this at 30% did not taste it at all, although that one has a really low colour, almost like pilsner malt itself, unlike cara-red.

If you swap out malts or lower amounts, keep an eye on the colour. You do not want it to go lighter, if the recipe itself provides a nice red. You'd need to compensate a bit for colour loss with something else, midnight wheat for example. But too much of that and you are going to taste the roast, if you like that or not is up to you of course.

Honestly, my advice would be just to buy red-x malt, go for a 5% abv beer and be done with it. That is the easy route and red-x really is nice on it's own.
 

grampamark

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My Irish Red uses no crystal malt at all. 75% 2 row, 22% Munich 10, and 1.5% each chocolate 350 and black barley 500 for color.

4.5% ABV, 13 SRM, all Willamette hops to about 25 IBU, Nottingham. Maybe this isn’t red enough but the gravity, color, and IBUs are right in the middle of the guidelines for the style.

1660849531759.jpeg
 

BongoYodeler

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If you want to change and brew a very good Irish Red Ale I’d highly recommend this one. The one and only red ale I now brew. It’s fantastic just as written.
 
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