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Style of the Week: American Red Ale!

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September 5, 2014 by fhsteinbart


Red Ale

Typical Red Ale displaying usual and customary foam stand, and rich reddish amber color. You can almost smell the hops from here!

Evolution being what it is tends to eliminate the weak, and allow the stronger members of a species to reproduce and make the genome even stronger. Beer styles evolve just like plants and animals do as they are a product of another living family of creatures: yeast. In the beginning there was the American Pale Ale (APA), which begat the American IPA (AIPA), which later begat the American Amber (AA) style of beer. American brewer’s being the innovative and creative lot they are, made many variations of all three of the aforementioned styles. From that we got Extra Pale Ale (a drier cousin of APA), Imperial IPA (IIPA), a stronger version of AIPA. What happened to Amber ales is similar to what happened to American Brown Ales. Both American Brown (Texas style), and Amber got more additions of hops across the board and became styles unto themselves. What differentiates a Red from an Amber isn’t the color, but the finish. As a drier version of Amber Ale, American Red Ale aka India Red Ale (IRA) were drier, crisper, and hence hoppier versions of the venerable American Amber style. Below is a recipe of mine that captures both the flavor, and finish of this new emergent style of American Ales:

Extract version:

OG: 1.054 TG: 1.013

6 lbs. Light DME

¼ lb. Light Roast Barley

¼ lb. 30L Crystal Malt

¼ lb. 120L Crystal Malt

¼ lb. Red Wheat Malt

1 oz. Chinook hops for 60~90 minutes

1 oz. Centennial hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Cascade hops at 7 minutes

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, US-56

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Steep specialty grains for 20~30 minutes, strain, wash and remove from kettle and place in composter or feed to pets.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add 1 oz. bittering hops.
  • At 20 minutes add 1 oz. flavor hops.
  • At 15 minutes add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.
  • At 7 minutes add remaining 1 oz. aroma hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes), turn off heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.
  • Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 65°F to 68°F. for up to two weeks, allowing to age an additional two weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

OG: 1.054 FG: 1.012

9 lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt

¼ lb. Light Roast Barley

¼ lb. 30L Crystal Malt

¼ lb. 120L Crystal Malt

¼ lb. Red Wheat Malt

1 oz. Chinook hops for 60~90 minutes

1 oz. Centennial hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Cascade hops at 7 minutes

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in both mash and kettle

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss at 15 minutes left in the boil

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, US-56

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 150°F for 90 min.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Adding bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 75 more minutes.
  • Add flavor hops at 20 minutes remaining.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 10~15 minutes.
  • Add aroma hops at knockout.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 115 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 20 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45~50°F in a 16 oz. pint glass, share and enjoy!

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