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Understanding Specialty Grains - Irish Red Ale

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GuyQLD

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Hey all,

I had a bit of a search through and found numerous variations on the Irish Red theme so finding a recipe isn't the hard part. My question is more about understanding what I'm getting into.

So far I've made a handful of KnK's with the odd hops addition but I quickly found that yeast / temp control / and using dextrose was pretty much holding me back and I moved onto a couple of recipes that used pre-hopped tins with an extract tin, maybe some hops and a specialty yeast and while I'm still waiting for the first one to condition, the smells and taste of the gravity sampler pretty much proved that KnK can only go so far.. At least with my limited experience.

Enter my next brew - I was making a kilkenny clone with the Morgans Amber + some hops and what is essentially BE2 but I wasn't happy with the result so I thought I'd try my hand at a full extract version of an Irish Red, Jamil's in particular.

I also decided at this point that confusing myself with brewing software was a good idea as well; so I downloaded Brewtarget and plugged some stuff into that and I got a recipe that looks balanced... but when it comes to buying the actual grain I ran into a problem - The Colour values in Brewtarget (specificaly the Roasted Barley) seem way off and I'm not sure if I'll be making an irish red... or something else.

Here's what I've got so far in brewtarget, and this ticks all the boxes as far as style goes, colour, bitterness etc. I'm looking at Craftbrewer since they had the most information on their site, it was easier to try and see what I was doing.

Brewtarget list
3kg DME - Light
250g Crystal Malt 120 (I think this is equivalent to crystal malt dark 220-260 EBC on craft brewer)
250g Crystal Malt 40 (Caramber or Crystal Malt Pale would be equivalent I think)
100g Roasted Barley (Had a problem with this one, Brewtarget has a value of about 600 EBC for this which is vastly different to the roasted barley on craftbrewer - would a higher content of Caraaroma or a smaller value of Roasted Barley 1300 EBC accomplish the same?)

Hops I went with fuggles because I already have some - but it's a fair wack of them at 45g for 60 mins.

Yeast I decided on US-04 because I'm to much of a wimp to go to liquid yeasts yet and this seemed the closest dry match.

As for brew day - looking at doing a full boil in a 37L pot I picked up recently but just wondering what the best process would be for steeping the grains and how long is long enough. Would bringing it up to 65-70 degrees and then dropping the the grains for 30-60 mins before removing for boil be the right thing to do? Should any of the extract be added at this stage or does that only affect hops utilisation in which case I'll add just before boil.

And Dry vs Liquid Extract - without sparking off a huge debate and problem with the DME?

Without sounding pathetic, help?

Cheers!
 

Mayor of Mildura

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Hi Mate

Sounds like you have most things covered.

The roast barley will be in there mainly for colour. Just halve the amount. The rest of the recipe looks fine.

Brew day should be. Steep grains (half an hour is fine in 60-70 degree water). remove grains and drain. Add malt extract and start boil. add hops. also remember to drink a few beers for inspiration and luck.

dme or lme. I have used both and haven't noticed any difference in the end result. Dry malt can be a pain because it clumps up. liquid malt can be a pain because it sinks to the bottom of the pot and can scorch if you're not careful.



Cheers
 

manticle

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Can you change the colour values in brewtarget to reflect what you are actually using? I'd stick with the RB for colour in this one although I have successfully used carared before in an irish (better red than dead recipe in the database).

I'd base my calcs on the product, not the parameters of the software if you know it's out. Full boil is unnecessary with extract unless you really feel like trialling it for full boils of a mashing type nature later on. If full boiling, you will need to consider chilling or no-chilling.

Make sure the yeast is healthy and in date - with that amount of extract and crystal grain, a yeast that is not in its optimum state (especially 04 which has been known to stall) may struggle to finish.

Dry versus liquid mainly matters in terms of what's available and in terms of amount to use. Liquid contains water so you need to use about 20% more by weight from memory. Dried is a bit easier to store if you don't use it all. Whichever you choose, make sure it is really, really fresh.

That goes for all - grain, hops, yeast and extract.

Your summation of hot steeping grain is good (make sure grain is cracked first). If you have calculated for a full boil, then put in all your ingredients at the start. However you can use less hops if you have a lower gravity wort so you can save money on hops by leaving out some of the extract until the last ten minutes.

However a few reasons why I would argue that's not a good idea here. Firstly too low (much below 1030) can possibly extract harsher bitterness. If you had a very high gravity wort (say 1060 or 1080) then utilisation would suffer badly and you would need a lot more hops but I'm guessing your recipe is probably around 1040-1050 so I wouldn't start playing around too much.

The other reason is that hops contribute more than just bitterness, even in a single bittering addition so you will get less if you use less.
 

ianh

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Welcome to the forum.

I would drop the Roasted Barley down to 20g otherwise too dark a colour and 100g would overpower the brew.

I generally use CaraAmber and CaraAroma in my Irish Reds.

I used to use DME for most brews, easier to measure and to store. Now do BIAB which you could do with that pot, only need a bag.

I agree with manticle on the hops.
 

Nick JD

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There's a trick to making red beers and it's counterintuitive: very small amounts of dark roasted barley (same with the really dark candi sugars in belgians with a red hue) give beers a bright red colour as the light passes through the charred malt. Ypu can make a red beer with nothing but base malt and 50g of roasted barley.

The key malt for a red ale, however, is roast barley which is added in very small quantities for coloring. It is the roast barley (not black patent malt or chocolate malt) that gives an Irish Red its traditional deep red color. Care must be taken to add just enough to color the beer, as you don’t want the roasted flavor to be a major component for flavoring. For 5 gallons, as little as a few ounces is sufficient to color the beer.

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2011/08/24/i...ed-ale-recipes/
 

GuyQLD

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Thanks for the replies guys,

I'm looking at doing the full boil for two reasons; 1. hops utilisation since I haven't seen a difinitative answer on hops utilisation in partial boils and messing around with smaller amounts of extract to add hops then scaling up seemed like more work than doing a full boil and 2. I'll confess to having a BIAB dream and thought this would be a good "dry run" of my equipment.

I ended up adding CaraAmber, CaraAroma and Roast Barley (using average EBC, I know it's not perfect) to Brewtarget and got a nice balance with

3KG DME
200g CaraAmber
200g CaraAroma
20g Roasted Barley

Shooting for about 4.9% ABV, 1012 FG amd 23 IBU bitterness.

Got about 2 weeks till I go ahead, so now need to do some research into chill/nochill and should be good to go.

Thanks all.
 

manticle

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I'm looking at doing the full boil for two reasons; 1. hops utilisation since I haven't seen a difinitative answer on hops utilisation in partial boils and messing around with smaller amounts of extract to add hops then scaling up seemed like more work than doing a full boil and 2. I'll confess to having a BIAB dream and thought this would be a good "dry run" of my equipment.
2 very good reasons.
 

pcmfisher

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Have you worked out your chilling or are you going to no chill?

Also, with 3kg liquid or dry malt and lots of specialty grain, I think you will struggle to get down to 1012 especially with so4. Probably 1015 or 1016 at best.
 

Josh

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Outstanding first 2 posts.

You will be making fantastic beer in no time with research and question asking like above.

If you stick with S04, be sure to rehydrate it first. If you only get to 1.015, no sweat. It will have a bit more body which is kinda desirable in an Irish Red. The main advantage with liquid yeast is the variety. Wyeast would have more than 10 different English/British/Irish Ale strains alone. All with subtle differences.

I like the full boil. Colin Kaminski reckons it's the number one improvement to be made in a beginning homebrewery. Even before temp controlled fermentation. He said it in one of the last live Brewing Network shows from Downtown Joes. I would find it, but am at work and have to get back to it.

Keep up the good work.
 

Bribie G

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There's a trick to making red beers and it's counterintuitive: very small amounts of dark roasted barley (same with the really dark candi sugars in belgians with a red hue) give beers a bright red colour as the light passes through the charred malt. Ypu can make a red beer with nothing but base malt and 50g of roasted barley.

The key malt for a red ale, however, is roast barley which is added in very small quantities for coloring. It is the roast barley (not black patent malt or chocolate malt) that gives an Irish Red its traditional deep red color. Care must be taken to add just enough to color the beer, as you dont want the roasted flavor to be a major component for flavoring. For 5 gallons, as little as a few ounces is sufficient to color the beer.

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2011/08/24/i...ed-ale-recipes/
Nick is well on the money here. I've made great ( I thought ) Irish Reds using Carared and Caraaroma combinations and got the reddest beers you can imagine. A couple of weeks ago I rocked up to Craftbrewer with a bottle of my latest IR and Ross countered by pouring me a glass of Anthony's IR which is made mostly on roasted barley. Same colour as mine but that lovely background roast.

Since then I've done an IR with mostly roast barley providing the colour - kegged it a couple of hours ago, tastes the deal already.
 

GuyQLD

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Hey guys,

Still looking into the no chill / chill debate. I don't have a wort chiller and while a decent ice/salt/water bath in my icebox would probably work almost as quickly there is something about the no chill method which intrigues me.

As for the yeast, I was leaning towards the US-04 specifically for the higher finishing gravity. The original yeast I was looking at is the Danstar Nottingham which I believe finishes much lower? If you think DME might mean a higher finish then I might look at the Nottingham again to try and get a bit closer to my target of about 1.011-1.012. At the end of the day I think I might be overthinking it a bit. But that's half the fun right?

I found the recipe specs don't seem to change much based on the CaraAmber/CaraAroma so I bumped them back up to 250g. I don't suspect it'll change the outcome too much though.

Anyway, thanks again for all the replies.
 

manticle

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I think your recipe will be fine - thing is, you won't know until you brew it and then you can work out how to tweak next time.

You certainly aren't doing anything stupid with what you've suggested so far so the rest is up to experience which you only gain by................
 

Diggles

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Thanks for the replies guys,

I'm looking at doing the full boil for two reasons; 1. hops utilisation since I haven't seen a difinitative answer on hops utilisation in partial boils and messing around with smaller amounts of extract to add hops then scaling up seemed like more work than doing a full boil and 2. I'll confess to having a BIAB dream and thought this would be a good "dry run" of my equipment.

I ended up adding CaraAmber, CaraAroma and Roast Barley (using average EBC, I know it's not perfect) to Brewtarget and got a nice balance with

3KG DME
200g CaraAmber
200g CaraAroma
20g Roasted Barley

Shooting for about 4.9% ABV, 1012 FG amd 23 IBU bitterness.

Got about 2 weeks till I go ahead, so now need to do some research into chill/nochill and should be good to go.

Thanks all.
Mate,
Good decision with the full boil, I did a partial the other day and found it changes all the balance of everything and complicates issues, hance going to modify a keg I got. Far more thinking required than is work the effort I think. Also had the dilema regarding chilling, iced water in the esky (2 bags) was not up to the job, and ended up cubing it and placing in the fridge to cool over night. This also has an advantage that some of the trub can be removed when transferring to the fermenter. Just remember that you don't need as much hops if doing the no chill method as the extended cooling time gives the beer more hop flavour.

Learn from my mistake and save yourself some time, but it's an excuse to do it again and have a beer at the same time!!
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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I used roasted barley in my last irish red - it was probably still a bit light, and needed soem carared, but the malt flavour was spot on - that bit of roast in the background really does make the style.

Goomba
 

Vanoontour

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I also found out a 90 min boil aids getting the 'red hue' (from the evil twin blog on mrmalty.com).
 

Bribie G

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:icon_offtopic: but still on the subject of roast barley, a beer made on base malt, 25% white sugar, Pride of Ringwood and a touch of roast barley(we are talking about 30 grams) then fermented with Wyeast Danish Lager will give you a convincing knock-off of Resch's Draught.
 

GuyQLD

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Not sure if this is the right place for this thread anymore....

Haven't been able to try this out as planned because life has gotten in the way; but long story short the extra time gave me the oppertunity to read up on BIAB some more and I'm now thinking that 3Kg of extract would look mighty fine as a couple of kilo's (4.5) of Maris Otter...

But here's the kicker. Gear. I don't have a lot of it since I've only been brewing since Jan and the sum total of my brew gear to date is the contents of a LHBS starter pack, a 37L pot and a burner.

Still need at the bare minimum a gas hose+reg, grain/hops bags and a decent thermometre.

Then the issue of deaing with 23 litres of hot wort comes into play; my pot has no tap on it and it's a bit bigger than I originally thought which makes the ice bath a bit hard to do. In fact I don't imagine picking the whole thing up at all is going to be much fun either so how do people transfer their wort?

I looked into the no chill method but cubes looked like they'd be near impossible to fill without making a mess since I don't have a tap and I wasn't sure about siphoning at those temperatures (I'd need to buy gear either way).

I got to thinking about no chilling in the fermenter by grabbing one of those willow 25L jobs (looks like a blue fermenter) and swapping lids for the first 24 hours, this would then give me a bottling bucket I badly need since I'm getting just a bit to much yeast into my bottles (not to mention priming each bottle is a PITA and I hate the idea of leaving beer behind so a bottling bucket/siphon was on the to do list anyway).

I suppose the simplest solution but maybe not the most cost efficient would be an immersion wort chiller followed by siphoning cool wort.

Any creative solutions out there I've missed?

While I don't want to spend an arm and a leg either, if it turns out that a wort chiller IS the best solution then so be it.

P.S. Is there any way to fix beer that is too bitter? Followed a recipe that has ended up waaay to bitter and while it's still only 3 weeks old in the primary, would 4 weeks of bottle conditioning likely to improve it enough? I know the only sure fire way to know is to let it age and find out but it's also pretty hard to fix once it's bottled.
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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You own more equipment than me.

Look at my sig - you can see what can be done with little equipment.

Personally, when it comes to wort transfer when I chill (in the sink with cold water and a couple of iceblocks frozen in Chinese Tupperware containers), I use a 1.5m bit of food grade tubing from bunnings, and siphon it out of the pot (whirlpooled first) via gravity feed.

Goomba
 

brad81

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1. Still need at the bare minimum a gas hose+reg, grain/hops bags and a decent thermometre.

2. I suppose the simplest solution but maybe not the most cost efficient would be an immersion wort chiller followed by siphoning cool wort.
1. Got a gas bbq? Swipe the reg and hose from that. (or your mates), floating thermometers can be had for about $10.

2. Haven't tried it myself, but maybe some ice bricks, or frozen soft drink bottles (outside cleaned and sanitised) guess it comes down to how much room you have for overflow.
 

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