Irish Red


As the weather is getting warmer I’m working closer to the normal ales I usually brew. I decided to brew my 1st batch of Irish Red.  The more I home brew the more I like to brew simple and easy to drink beer every couple of batches and this is where this beer falls into.  I also want to brew a little bit more english/irish/scottish ales this year so this one is the first in that trend.

OG:  1.048
FG:  1.010
ABV:  5%
Mash:  151
Added:  1.5g Gypsum & 1.7g CaCl and 0.6g Baking Soda to Mash.  Also added 1.5g Gypsum & 1.7 CaCl to Sparge water.

Water Profile:
Ca: 59.5
Mg: 0.6
Na: 19.2
S04: 62
Cl: 66.4
BiCarbonate: 38.5
Mash Ph:  5.3

78.3% 2-Row Malt
13.0% Munich
4.3% C15
3.3% Dark Crystal
1.1% Roasted Barley

1.5 oz Goldings (4.0%) 60 min.
0.9 oz Goldings (4.0%) 15 min.
0.35 oz Goldings (4.0%) 0 min.

Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast
1.5 l starter on stir plate of 36 hours and decanted

Normally I would of gone with a base malt like maris otter or golden promise but I’m trying to work my way through a sack of 2 row I purchased a few months back.  I just listened to an interview with the brewmaster of Firestone Walker who uses a 2 row/munich blend instead of an english base malt after trying quite a few test batches.  Had I not had the 2 row needing to be used up then maris otter would of been my 1st choice followed by nw pale ale malt which I really enjoy as my normal base malt.


Fermentation started off quickly (about 3 hrs) at 65 degrees in the basement and was aggressive for several days before slowing down.  A good amount was blown off during this time, similar to the Altbier that I just brewed.  I think this batch will get a long primary and have some conditioning time in the keg before it ends up getting tapped since a have a little bit of a back log of brews to work though.

Tasting Notes – 5.21.13

Appearance: Red/Dark Carmel that is clear when held up to light. Small white head that disappears pretty quickly.

Aroma: Strong malty aroma. Seems a mix of munich and caramel malts with a hint of diacetyl.

Taste: Malt flavors up front, all pretty subtle with some bready flavors first followed by a hint of caramel sweetness. Hop flavors of tea and grass are present but very subtle and the beer is quite balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium low mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this beer is drinking. I am a little surprised by how much diacetyl is present in the aroma (more than is picked up in the beer). I’ve heard this strain throws some diacetyl, but I did a long warm rest so this is a little unexpected. Besides that, this is a very easy drinking pint that has a clean, dry profile. I’ve had other Irish red’s that have a bit more caramel sweetness, but I wanted this to a little bit cleaner and drier. A really nice spring beer that’s easy to throw back and just a notch above session strength. If I changed anything, I’d use a more authentic base malt as the character is slightly lacking, but using a higher percentage of munich made up a little for that, but its just not quite Maris Otter or Golden Promise. Cheers!

Update: 6.26.13

Well since the last time I reviewed this beer the diacetyl is pretty distracting and really takes away from this beer. I really think this beer would be better suited to a more neutral yeast strain. I’m thinking good olde chico ale yeast is what I’ll use next go around. All the flavors are there so a cleaner yeast will probably do a lot for this. Guess you live and learn. Cheers!


I recently compared the irish red vs. Flat Tail Brewing’s Irish Red to compare and contrast.  As seen in the picture, Flat Tail’s is more carbonated and has better head retention than my version.  The aromas are pretty similar, but mine has a little bit more diacetyl in the aroma.  The color are pretty much dead on and my version has a little better clarity.  The flavor profile’s are similar, flat tail’s has a creamier mouthfeel and a little bit more of a roasted flavor.  My version is a little drier with less roasted malt flavors, but overall pretty similar.  My version has more diacetyl and finishes with more of a fruity/estery note that lingers on the palate.  Overall, really similar beers but the difference in yeast strains is really noticeable and accounts for most of the flavor difference.


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