Irish Red - The beer style that isn't a beer style

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Well with St Patties day all of 4-5 weeks away and me not being a lover of stouts I decided I'd revisit one of my early all grain forays and brew an Irish Red. On a side note I did a bit of research on the origins of this style and the sad reality is..... The famous Irish Red is really a slightly darker English keg bitter bastardised by the American market and pushing it's way onto the BJCP style guidelines more for the American love of all things Irish rather than any sense of actual history or Irish Pride.

So, in my most hypocritical pseudo Irish persuasion I thought, "To hell with it! Screw the styles lets go nuts"

The design brief - Take one Irish "American" red and make it something me old great grandfather would be proud of.

Here's the thoughts so far;

Approx 82% Maris Otter
Approx 10% CaraAroma
Approx 8% CaraAmber

Bittered to about 35 IBU - haven't really decided on hops yet other than British but I have some EKG, Fuggles and Styrians.

Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Obviously 35 IBU is way out of style and that much crystal is just huge compared to the rather lame Jamil recipe which relies on Roast Barley for just about everything.

My main concern is - is this much crystal going to be way too cloying or will getting the IBU up that high be enough to balance it? The traditional ABV for Irish session beers seems to be about 3.8-4.4% ABV - I'm shooting for about 4.7% here, will that be enough to carry it or am I going to end up with liquid toffee? Given that this style rarely sees over 20IBU's I'm thinking it should come out ok.

I will be missing the dryness from the roast - should I adjust my mash temp to suit?

I made an irish red and it turned out a cracker.

90% Golden promise
5% Roasted Barley
5% Caraaroma

Fuggles 16ibu's
Stryian's 8 ibu both at 60 min boil.

Irish ale yeast.

IMO it was the Roasted barley that made it a winner.
Yes, roast barley is the signature of an Irish Red.

It gives it that toasty flavour - but almost more importantly it gives it the red colour. Sounds weird, but you know how there's not really such thing as "black"? Ask for a black paint and they'll ask you "what colour black?"

Roasting barley makes it black ... but it makes it a red-black. Watered down in a beer with light shining through, you get that ruby tone.

Also the secret to red belgians like Radieuse. Use too much though, and your beer will taste like ashtray.
I'm enjoying this one right now. I put it in the keg for Australia Day.
Recipe came from article in Zymurgy that Fatgodzilla posted.Discussion thread: RecipeDB - Better Red Than Dead

Better Red
Irish Red Ale

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (L): 41.0
Total Grain (kg): 9.400
Total Hops (g): 90.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.050 (°P): 12.4
Final Gravity (FG): 1.013 (°P): 3.3
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 4.91 %
Colour (SRM): 15.7 (EBC): 31.0
Bitterness (IBU): 22.2 (Average - No Chill Adjusted)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 60

Grain Bill
5.800 kg Pale Ale Malt (61.7%)
2.500 kg Munich I (26.6%)
0.500 kg Carared (5.32%)
0.500 kg Crystal 120 (5.32%)
0.100 kg Roasted Barley (1.06%)

Hop Bill
45.0 g Fuggles Pellet (5% Alpha) @ 50 Minutes (Boil) (1.1 g/L)
45.0 g East Kent Golding Pellet (5.4% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Boil) (1.1 g/L) (22.5g into each cube)

Misc Bill

Single step Infusion at 67°C for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 20°C with Wyeast 1968 - London ESB Ale

Recipe Generated with BrewMate

Comments in the Recipe DB were:

Mash at 67C for 60 minutes. Ferment at 18C. Do not use secondary - the yeast will need to clean up well after itself - you want a hint of diacetyl, not mobs of it. Suggest leave 3-5 days in fermenter after reaching FG. Recipe suggests IBUs of 26 and SRM 17 which varies slightly from calcualtion.
OG 1.053 FG 1.016
The article in Zymurgy also recommends a cool cellaring time before serving.
original recipe had a different yeast from memory.
My Irish Red recipe is

79.6% Maris Otter
5 % CaraAroma
5% CaraRed
10% Wheat Malt
0.4% Roasted Barley

66C for 90 Minutes

OG 1.047 SG 1.012

Bittered to 21 IBU with English or neutral hop (Northern Brewer) 60 minute addition.

Wyeast 1084 at 18C
The Munich looks like an interesting addition. I'm not sure if I phrased my original question correctly, I already have a recipe that is to style;

Maris Otter 89%
CaraAmber 5%
CaraAroma 5%
Roast Barley 1%

Bittered to 20 IBU with fuggles.

But as far as beers go, it's about as adventurous as wearing a floatation device in the bath tub. I'm wanting to go a fair way out of style and try and get some serious flavour going on. It wont really be an Irish Red any more. In other words;

1. Is 20% crystal malt going too much? What if I increase the IBU to balance it?
2. Should I do something to dry it out if this is the case? Low mash temp, add dextrose?

Edit: And finally my Google-Fu paid off

Sounds like there are a few success stories around.
Yeah the 20% crystal is too much. Esspecially the 10% caraaroma.

1. The grain bill above looks heaps better and is in line with what i have done and read in the past. Mash at 65 and you are away. I would probably up the ibus to 25, but thats just me. For extra flavour perhaps add a small amount of hops lateish.... I wouldn't dry hop.
Above really does produce a well ballanced, lovely beer but if you do want to push the boundaries i wouldnt go above 7% of each crystal. 1% RB is plenty. if you do up the crystal, up the ibus to 30 or so.

2. No point in adding dextrose if you can tweak the grain bill and mash regime. The more you replace grain with dex, the less flavour you will have. Designing the perfect brew for you will take several iterations and tweaks. In almost 10 years of brewing i have only nailed a beer 1st time once!

Take this with a grain of salt. My thoughts and preferences only. Best of luck mate.
I've gone 15% carared in a red ale before. Fermented with burton ale, and low hopped. It was very nice, and not cloying at all.
The arguement that the IRA is just an under hopped bitter has a fair bit of merit and has been around for yonks. The catch is that the moment you start beefing it up with more hops and a bit more crystal you're instantly looking more like a bitter or an ESB. If you consider 'styles' to be just loose abreviated descriptions, then you might be more correct to call your beefed up IRA an ESB - but it's all just somantics.
Like Bong I think the initial recipe would be cloying and too heavy on the crystal. If you want a beefed up IRA, look at ESB recipes :ph34r: :p
10% Cara Aroma is going to take a fair while to mellow, it's a fairly aggressive crystal and a little bit goes a long way.
I love the grain myself and use it a lot in the English styles but it can be overpowering.
I reckon lower your IBUs and add equal parts crystal 40, crystal 120 and road barley. Gives you a good spread of tastes, the crystal combination adds a lovely caramel flavour and the roast barley gives it great colour (amongst other things).

I generally go:
91% Maris Otter
3% crystal 40
3% crystal 120
3% roast barley

EKG to 20 IBU @ 60 minutes
EKG to 5 IBU @ 15 minutes

Fermented with 1084

Comes out beautifully sweet and malty, with really subtle bitterness.

My 2c.

I disagree with the use of roast barley, wrong profile for me. Better to use the 1100EBC Simpsons or Bairds Choc, gives a nice nose. Also important to get some water salts in there, prefer a 50/50 of cacl2 and caso4.
/// said:
I disagree with the use of roast barley, wrong profile for me.
Even the BJCP mentions it in the style guide. :rolleyes:
That doesn't necessarily make it true.
I don't necessarily object to your recipe, just BJCP being god.
I don't necessarily object your BJCP being god, but by god, if you're making an Irish Red you'd better put some roasted barley in there or paddy, seamus and sean will come round and bottle you.
Heh, taken from the first reply in CM's link

Stupid style, nothing to see here move along :wacko:
Just make a bitter thats not really bitter and strip/hide/don't have the majority of flavour from it somehow, the creamflow horrid things seem to do the trick but I don't think most of those beers have the flavour to start with. :ph34r:
That's sort of the point though, if you brew it to style it's really a very underwhelming sounding beer (though very sessionable I suppose) - if you go out of style even slightly you end up with the beer that inspired the style in the first place.

I've made it to style a couple of times now and it's always popular - I wanted to beef it up a bit but sounds like you really can't... Maybe I should just learn to like stouts!
My opinion for what its worth.

The inclusion of roast barley is essential in obtaining not only the colour but the the balance of the beer.

It's like when you firt sip it, the caramel and toffee flavours are imediately present and the sweetness almost feels like its going to throw the beer way out of balance and then suddenly right at the end of your palate this dry slightly roast or toastyness kicks in and lingers, drying it out and effectively balancing the beer.

The trick is to get your crystal, hop and roast barley additions just right, I wouldn't hop much past 25IBU and allow the roast barley to do the rest.

Also IMHO go easy on the Cara aroma a little goes a long way and its primarily Caramel you want with a hint of toffee.

I know this style doesn't hold alot of respect, but I have a real soft spot for it, when given one over 25 years ago as a young ignorant noob when VB was like an imported beer in Adelaide it was the first time I actually enjoyed a beer and opened a door to exploring beer flavour I had know idea even existed.