Thursday, February 13, 2014

#19 Irish Red Ale - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

Believe it or not, there is more than one beer in Ireland.  Besides dry stout, the other style to originate in the country is Irish red ale.  Sorta.  Depending on who you ask it's either a remarkably balanced and sessionable ale or a bland off shoot of English ale.  As Ron Pattinson writes, Irish ale (just like porter) started out as a copy of it's English cousin, with local producers cropping up to meet the demand filled by English imports.  What has since been defined as the "Irish red ale" style was probably first described--like most style distinctions--by Michael Jackson (the beer hunter not the pop star) to describe George Killian Lett's beer from Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland.  The brewery didn't last much past Jackson's visit, and now the most widespread ales of Ireland are Smithwick's (arguably more similar to an English bitter) and Kilkenny (an especially bland cream ale).

The style remembered from Jackson's writing remains most strongly (and tenuously at that) in the minds of American beer drinkers, if not in their mouths.  The only examples I've had here are Killian's Irish Red and Karl Strauss Red Trolley.  I'll spare you the details of how Coors has bastardized the Killian's brand, so suffice it to say I prefer Red Trolley, but it has been almost three years since I last tasted it.

Anyway, since I don't have any of these beers here in Seattle, more important for me is how I imagine the style in my own mind.  I imagine it as a medium bodied, fairly creamy, malt-forward ale with the dominant flavors being caramel and especially toffee, but in a dry way.  This is not to be confused with the more popular American red ales and imperial reds, which have more in common with amber ales and double IPAs respectively.  Listening to an episode of Brewing with Style, Jamil Zainasheff described exactly the kind of beer I seek to create, so I ended up using his recipe.  Unfortunately, the local homebrew store only had roast barley in 500L instead of 350L as the recipe calls for, so I cut the amount in half.

Irish Red Ale
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.0 %
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated FG: 1.011 SG
Estimated Color: 15.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 31.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt           Name                                     %/IBU         
8 lbs 9.6 oz  Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         78.7 %
1 lbs 6.4 oz  Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           12.8 %
6.0 oz        Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    3.4 %
6.0 oz        Caramel/Crystal Malt - 120L (120.0 SRM)  3.4 %
2.8 oz        Roasted Barley (500.0 SRM)               1.6 %
1.55 oz       Goldings, East Kent [6.30 %] - Boil 60.0 31.9 IBU
0.25 tsp      Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              -
1.0 pkg       Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084)            -

Mash Schedule: BIAB, 150F
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs 14.8 oz
Estimated Cost: $22.37

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