Posts Tagged ‘red ale’

A Brewer’s Four-Pack

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Is it over yet? Winter, I mean? This last day of March it is 45° here on the hill, overcast, but the sap is running the best it has so far. And we are awaiting the arrival of another nor’easter, expecting 5 – 10” of wet snow overnight. No, I didn’t take the month off from brewing, far from it. Today’s brew is actually my fifth of the month, including my annual batch of maple mead. I’ve just been lazy about writing and posting. So here, all at once, are my last four beers brewed.

March 3, 2011 – “Red 57″ Irish Ale

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 lb. roasted barley
  • pinch peat-smoked malt
  • 8 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1/2 lb. 145°L crystal malt
  • 1/2 lb. malted wheat
  • 1/4 lb. Belgian Special B malt
  • 1 oz. Challenger hop pellets (7% aa)
  • 1/2 oz. First Gold hop pellets (8% aa)
  • 1/2 oz. Bramling Cross hop pellets (5% aa)
  • White Labs Irish Ale yeast (WLP004)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming

Procedure:

Crush grains. Heat 13 quarts water to 167°F. Mash in grains and hold at 155° for 60 minutes. Heat another 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 25 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil. Boil 30 minutes without hops, to develop color and caramel flavors. Add Challenger hops, boil 30 minutes. Add First Gold hops, boil 25 minutes. Add Bramling Cross hops, boil 5 more minutes (total of 60 with hops, 90 overall) and remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading and pour into a sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 8 – 10 days at 65°F. Rack to secondary and age 2 – 3 weeks at 50°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and condition cool (50°F) for two weeks.

OG: 1057

IBU’s: 41

A little richer and smokier than the usual Irish Red ales (like Smithwick’s), this is a smooth dark amber ale with a lot of complexity and character.

March 10, 2011 – Fischer Amber clone

My neighbor Kevin asked me to develop this recipe for him, so this is an experiment. Fischer is a brewery in Alsace, France. Most of their brews are pretty standard european lagers. Their amber, however, seems to be closer to a British pale ale, so I decided to try this as a hybrid. British malts, German hops, Steam beer yeast, cold conditioning… throw in a reporter and a photographer doing a newpaper story on me, and you never know what will come out of the fermenter!

Ingredients:

  • 9 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1 lb. 120°L crystal malt
  • 1/4 lb. malted wheat
  • 1 oz. Spalter hop pellets (5% aa)
  • 1 oz. Tettnanger hop pellets (3.5% aa)
  • 1 oz. Hallertauer hop pellets (3% aa)
  • White Labs San Francisco Lager yeast (WLP810)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming.

Procedure:

Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 164°F. Mash in grains and hold at 152° for 60 minutes. Heat another 16 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 28 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil. Add Spalter hops, boil 45 minutes. Add Tettnanger hops, boil 5 minutes. Add Hallertauer hops, boil 10 more minutes (total of 60) and remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading and pour into a sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 8 – 10 days at 65°F. Rack to secondary and age 4 – 5 weeks at 40°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and condition cool (50°F) for six weeks.

OG: 1064

IBU’s: 28

In the end this came out just a little too dark and is probably a little hoppier than the target, but the combination of the sweet British malts and the bright spicy German hops is pretty cool.

For Kevin and others who might wish to try this as an extract-based brew, I would steep the crystal and wheat (as above) in 3 gallons of cold water to start. Bring the water up to 160°F and hold there for 30 minutes. Remove the grains, continue to heat to boiling, adding in 6 lbs. light dry malt extract or 7 lbs. light malt extract syrup. Boiling, hop and fermentation schedules would be the same.

March 17, 2011 – Cuppa Joe Golden Ale

My devious nature whispered to me, “How come all the coffee beers are stouts and porters? Couldn’t you just kill for a lighter colored beer with a strong coffee aroma and flavor?” I listened, and this is what I came up with. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1/2 lb. cara-pils malt
  • 1 lb. malted wheat
  • 1/2 lb. coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 1/2 oz. Northern Brewer hop pellets (10.6% aa)
  • 1/2 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7% aa)
  • White Labs California Ale yeast (WLP001)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming 
  • 2 oz. Flavorganics® Organic Coffee Extract

Procedure:

Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 164°F. Mash in grains and coffee beans and hold at 150° for 60 minutes. Heat another 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 26 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil. Add Northern Brewer hops, boil 45 minutes. Add Sterling hops, boil 15 minutes (total of 60) and remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading and pour into a sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 8 – 10 days at 65°F. Rack to secondary and age 2 – 3 weeks at 50°F. Prime with corn sugar, add coffee extract, bottle and condition cool (50°F) for two weeks.

OG: 1060

IBU’s: 27

Nice deep golden color, a hint of coffee in the nose and some nice coffee notes hidden among the malt sweetness and hop bitterness. I think next time I’d add more crushed coffee beans to the mash, as they really didn’t darken the brew much.

March 31, 2011 – Maple Märzen

I almost always brew at least a couple batches with maple – mashing with the sap, adding syrup to the kettle, sometimes both. Since I do make my own syrup, I have access to all the fresh sap I need for a couple of weeks. I start by concentrating the sap some (I’ll boil 6 gallons down to 3 for my mash liquor, generally), which adds a hint of smoky/woody sweetness to the wort. This brew is a more or less traditional Märzenbier – brewed (just barely!) in March and lagered in bulk all summer, I will unveil this beer in the fall, when our local brewers’ group has an Oktoberfest tasting planned.

Ingredients:

  • 8.5 lbs. Weyermann’s Bohemian Pilsner malt
  • 6 oz. cara-pils malt
  • 4 oz. 120°L crystal malt
  • 6 oz. 60°L crystal malt
  • 4 oz. melanoidin malt
  • 1 pt, grade B maple syrup
  • 1 oz. Tettnanger hop pellet pellets (3.5%)
  • 1 oz. Styrian Goldings hop pellets (4.5%)
  • 1 oz. Saaz hop pellets (4% aa)
  • White Labs Octoberfest Lager yeast (WLP820)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure:

Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts semi-concentrated maple sap to 168°F. Mash in grains and hold at 154° for 90 minutes. Heat 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 27 quarts sweet wort. Add syrup to kettle. Bring to boil. Boil 45 minutes without hops, to develop color and caramel flavors. Add Tettnanger hops, boil 15 minutes. Add Styrian Goldings hops, boil 15 minutes. Add Saaz hops, boil 15 more minutes (total of 45 with hops, 90 overall) and remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading and pour into a sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 8 – 10 days at 65°F. Rack to secondary and age 3 – 4 months at 40°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and condition cool (50°F) for four weeks.

OG: 1080

IBU’s: 30

If you don’t have access to fresh sap but want to try something like this brew, you can always add some real syrup to the mash water – probably a pint will do the trick. I’m sure there’s a way to figure it out but the math is beyond me… And yes, this is a LOT bigger than the usual Festbier, the high gravity is a product of the sap and syrup!


And now for something a little different…

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I really have no idea when or how the idea for this beer came to me. I lived with it for a long time before finally deciding I’d better brew it or go mad… With some perspective, it’s really not that weird or unusual a beer, just not on a logical radar screen…

I’ve decided recently that I am just not a big fan of wheat beers, especially true-to-style hefeweizens. I can certainly appreciate a well-made one like the one my friend Ben gave me the other day. I do like a good Belgian Witbier from time to time, and I can appreciate a wheat-based lambic or other fruit beer. But the banana/clove/bubble gum aromas and flavors of the typical weizen or weissbier just don’t do it for me. I do feel the need to brew with wheat, however, and will on occasion make what I call an “American Wheat Beer” – which is basically a Pale Ale with a substantial percentage of wheat in the mash, hopped like a West Coast ale, and using a neutral (i.e. non-fruity) ale yeast. But this one is even less like a Hefeweizen. It’s amber to reddish, with some nice roasty notes, substantial hop bitterness but little aroma, and I decided to use an Irish ale yeast just to mix things up… It will be on the light side in terms of body and alcohol, so it will be a summer beer, but because of the color and malt flavors I expect it should still be my kind of beer…

Amber Waves Red Wheat Ale

5 gallons, all-grain

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. lager malt
  • 2 lbs. dark wheat malt
  • 1 lb. light wheat malt
  • 1/2 lb. 120°L crystal malt
  • 1 oz. roasted barley
  • 1 oz. Styrian Goldings hop pellets (@ 7.0% aa)
  • 1 oz. Cascades hop pellets (@ 7.3% aa)
  • White Labs Irish Ale yeast (WLP004)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure: Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 165°F. Mash in grains and hold at 154°F for 60 minutes. Heat another 14 quarts to 170°F, begin runoff and sparge. Collect 26 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil, add Styrian Goldings hops. Boil 75 minutes, add Cascades hops. Boil 15 more minutes (90 total), remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take hydrometer reading. Pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Add yeast, seal and ferment at 70°F for 8 – 10 days. Rack to secondary, age 10 – 14 days at 65°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and condition 10 – 14 days.

OG: 1050

IBU’s: 40.6

Notes on style: There are none, as this is something I made up. Well, there are dark wheat beers and amber ales with wheat in them, but not like mine… I expect this will be like a medium-bodied “amber ale”, whatever that is, with a slightly breadier/more cracker-like malt profile… not much hop aroma, more focus on the malt in general…

Notes on brewing: Wanting to get a dryer, less full-bodied beer, I went with a higher mash temp than I usually do, as well as a shorter mash and a bit thinner consistency…


Celebrating with beer…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

This past Saturday my daughter graduated from college! No more payments, no more FAFSA and other financial aid forms, and probably no more graduation speeches to listen to! Worth celebrating, definitely! I’m pretty proud of my daughter, too – not only does she have a degree in Baking & Pastry Arts, and a full-time job right away in her field, but she also made reservations for a family luncheon at a brewpub a few minutes’ walk from the site of the graduation ceremony! Her father’s daughter, in many ways…

Eight of us shared a table at the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island, right under their famous mural of the Last Supper (with John Lennon in the place of Jesus, Kurt Cobain as Judas, etc…). They had six beers on tap, and I got the six-beer sampler tray, not wanting to miss anything…

First up: a Kölsch. My Dad, a Bud drinker, enjoyed the Kölsch enough to have two. It was nice and bready, malty, crisp, Trinity says it is between 3 and 4% abv, with 18 IBU, and hopped with Galena.

Tommy’s Red Ale, a very malty Irish style ale, glowed a deep amber. At 4 to 5% abv and 28 IBUs, all Tettnang, it was yummy.

ESB: didn’t catch the name, nor the abv/IBU counts, but I’d guess it was around 35 – 40 IBU, very English tasting at first (Goldings?) but with an American (Cascade?) finish. Overall impression: hops, but pretty well balanced by malt.

Rhode Island IPA, their flagship, a multiple medal-winner, and the only beer they bottle at the moment (everything on tap is available in growlers at the pub, but the IPA can be found in dozens of retail outlets). 7% abv, 65 IBUs, all Kent Golding, according to the website. Very nice hop bitterness and a crisp balanced flavor. I had another pint.

Decadence Imperial IPA – brewed to celebrate 10 years in business, this is a big (10% abv) bitter (150 IBU’s) “wow” of a beer. Summit, Amarillo, Cascade and Simcoe hops, LOTS of malt…

Russian Imperial Stout – a beautiful opaque black beer, with a thick beige head. They say 8% and 60 IBU’s, hopped with Kent Goldings. Something in the yeast profile reminded us all of licorice or anise, but otherwise a nice rich beer…

The menu was fairly typical pub food, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, steaks and seafood, and the service was quite good. Get there early and be sure to make reservations – the place was hopping!