Batch 3: Irish Red Ale

I found this recipe (http://hopville.com/recipe/1132437/irish-red-ale-recipes/shaun-of-the-red-byo) and I brought it to the new Black Dragon Homebrew Shop (www.blackdragonbrew.com) to get it filled out. I met Jason and Heather, who were super nice and helpful (even offering a taste of Jason’s Fog, a California Common they’ve brewed). Jason signed off on the recipe and showed me to their grain room, where I measured and milled my own grain. Neat!! I see many an afternoon spent in the future at Black Dragon. They’re to open their brewery in just a few months, and it should be a great place to hang.

Anyway, I modified the attached recipe slightly, by replacing the 7 oz of Two-row Pale with an additional 4 oz of Crystal 60, and using a whirlfloc tab instead of Irish Moss. I also used 6lb Black Dragon Pale LME and 1lb Dry Malt Extract instead of the suggested 7lb LME. I was able to get the wort down to ~100 F in just a few minutes with a water bath and a good stirring (I’m really hoping I didn’t hot-oxidize in the process), and upon pouring the wort onto the water in the carboy, I ended up with a 78 F batch. I pitched WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast as recommended by the recipe (and I pitched it straight from the vial, no starter).¬†White Labs suggests 65-68 F for the optimal fermenting temperature of WLP004 (http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp004.html), so I’m keeping the carboy in our bedroom closet for the next two weeks.

OG: 1.06 (really, 1.062 but at 80 F, that needs ~0.002 adjustment)

SRM: 16-17 (very rough guesstimate)

UPDATE: 4/28/12

The krausen has been down for at least a week, and the fermenter has held at ~73 F (+/- 1 F) for the entire time. I’ve been a little worried about esters, but I have been assured by many that it won’t be a big problem, and it won’t spoil the beer. I bottled tonight with FG: 1.018, leaving an ABV ¬†~5.5%. The beer was definitely red in color, sweet with malt predominant, and with a hint of some esters that really compliment the ale. I am looking forward to this one!! I’ve kept the first two batches in the garage but otherwise unprotected from the temperature while they bottle conditioning. I think I’m going to store this batch in a dry cooler to try insulate it from so much temperature fluctuation.

UPDATE: 5/6/12

I’ve had most of the batch hiding in a large cooler in the garage to shield it from the growing temp fluctuations. I pulled one out this evening and popped it open to give it a shot (without cooling it), and I must say I’m impressed. Good head, and a nice remaining carb after the head fell. Deep red hue, but surprisingly clear. The beer is definitely malty and sweet without any prominent hop flavors, with hints of fruity esters that are more typical of some Belgian ales. Though not typical of the Irish Red style, I am enjoying the esters. Woohoo!!