Monday, February 20, 2012

Irish Red - First all-grain

I decided to make an all grain Irish red to follow my Russian imperial stout. The idea was to get a moderately sweet and malty beer with a fairly low abv. I quite like Smithwicks and it's the type of beer that I can drink any time and have a few of or be content with just one.

Because this was designed to be a fairly small beer I felt it would be a good chance to do my first all grain recipe and came up with the recipe as follows: 

60% 5 0 Warminster Floor-Malted Maris Otter 35 5
24% 2 0 Briess Ashburne Mild Malt 34 5
6% 0 8 Carared 35 20
6% 0 8 Simpsons Medium Crystal 34 55
2% 0 3 Roasted Barley 25 300
2% 0 2 Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 46 1
Batch size: 5.0 gallons


boil 60 mins 1.0 Willamette pellet 4.9
boil 20 mins 0.5 Fuggles pellet 4.2
Boil: 4.0 avg gallons for 60 minutes

Irish Ale Yeast
 Like my partial mashes I chose to do the brew in a bag method (BIAB).  Being my first all-grain it's not a big surprise that this one drastically missed efficiency expectations and my OG which should've been 1.044 (with 75% extraction) hit just 1.032 (an extraction below 55%).  This is probably due to a number of reasons including too little mash water, not sparging and inaccurate thermometer readings.

Despite having some malt extract on hand it was an easy decision for me to just stick with the original plan and see how this one turns out.  As is the results may actually be in the range of an ordinary bitter albeit there might be a bit too much roast and the Irish ale yeast would be non-traditional. On the plus side this one should be low calorie, super drinkable and the hops might shine through more in the low OG than they would have had I hit my target, giving me more fuggle character that I look forward to. At worst this was a learning experience and a check mark for one of my goals for the year (all-grain batch).

In the future I plan to buy a better thermometer, mash longer and actually sparge.  I had planned to sparge this batch but began to make a big mess and gave up on that idea.
About 8 lbs of grain and just 1.5 oz. hops.
Less than 12 hours later it's bubbling away
in front of the Imperial Assassin,
doesn't look like it will be as red as I hoped

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