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Strong's Irish Red (Irish Red Ale 2.0)

Last year, I made an Irish Red Ale recipe of my own. Although it turned out fairly well and only a couple of bottles remain, when I saw Gordon Strong's Irish Red Ale recipe, I decided I'd like to try it to see how it compared with mine. I adjusted the recipe for a smaller volume batch and the efficiency of my brewing system, which results in the recipe you see here.

Ingredients

2 pounds and 6 ounces of 2-row Pale Malt (Briess)
1 pound of Vienna Malt (Weyermann, I think)
8 ounces Flaked Corn
6 ounces Caramel 40L
2 ounces Roasted Barley
2 ounces Carapils/Dextrine Malt
4 handfuls of Rice Hulls in the mash
0.38 ounces East Kent Goldings hops @ 6.1% AA (60 min.)
0.13 ounces East Kent Goldings hops @ 6.1% AA (10 min.)
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the mash
1.5 tsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer in the mash
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil (15 min.)
1/8 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (15 min.)
1/8 tsp. Super Irish Moss (10 min.)
2.4 gallons of Mash Water
2.0 gallons of Sparge Water

BeerSmith 3.0 estimates the following characteristics:
  • BJCP Category: 15.A Irish Red Ale
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons (actual was approximately 3.65 gallons)
  • Original Gravity: 1.041 SG (actual was 1.030 SG)
  • Final Gravity: 1.010 SG (actual was 1.008 SG)
  • IBUs: 24
  • SRM: 14.4
  • ABV:  4.0% (actual was 2.9% as a result of dilution)
  • BU/GU Ratio: 0.51 (actual probably 0.77 given lower gravity)
Mash schedule:
  • Mash in at 104F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 120F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 151F for 60 minutes
  • Mash out at 168F for 10 minutes
  • Sparge with 168F water for 10 minutes
Boil schedule:
  • 90 minutes: No additions
  • 60 minutes: East Kent Goldings hops pellets (0.38 oz.)
  • 15 minutes: Yeast nutrient and Brewtan B
  • 10 minutes: Super Irish Moss and East Kent Goldings (0.13 oz.)
  • 0 minutes: Chill to 62F
Fermentation schedule:
  • Allow the yeast to free-ferment at the ambient basement temperature of 62F until fermentation is complete
  • Treat the beer with gelatin and cold-crash for clarity
  • Bottle-condition at 68F until carbonated
Post-Brew Notes and Observations

02/03/2019 3pm:  Loaded the ingredients into the Brewie+ and entered the recipe details. Brewie estimated a brewing time of approximately 6 hours.

9pm: I ended up with almost 3 gallons in the fermenter, plus over half a gallon in another (hastily sanitized) fermenter. The gravity came out at 1.030 SG instead of the expected 1.041 SG. That combination (volume and gravity) reportedly represents a 66.2% brew house efficiency per BeerSmith. Unfortunately, it drops the beer's original gravity well below the style's 1.036 SG lower limit. I probably could have resolved this by transferring the wort into another kettle and boiling it down until the desired gravity was reached, but I chose not to. It's going to give me a chance to conduct two experiments as it is. I've pitched Mangrove Jack's MI5 Empire Ale yeast into the main fermenter, and some Safale US-05 into the smaller secondary batch.  That will allow me to test two different yeast strains on the same wort.  I also extracted a sample from the secondary fermenter and pitched some MI5 yeast into it to conduct a forced fermentation test to see if the final gravity achieved in that test compares to the final gravity in the main batch when it is finished fermenting. That knowledge will be useful when I do future high gravity beers.

02/04/2019 9pm: The gravity has dropped from yesterday's 1.030 SG to 1.012 SG today.

02/05/2019 9:35pm: The gravity is currently registering 1.010 SG and the temperature is reading 61F.

02/09/2019: A refractometer measurement of beer from the fermentation test vessel registered 1.014 SG. The main fermentation vessel has finished primary fermentation (and did so fairly quickly) and is registering 1.009 SG today. Since there is some rounding and estimating that takes place in the refractometer scenario, I'm planning to drop a Tilt Hydrometer in there before tossing that beer, just to see how close the readings are with the same method.  The main batch has been reading 1.008-1.009 SG for four days now, so I am confident that primary fermentation is over and it will be time to do some fining and then bottle it.

02/12/2019: The beer is registering 1.008 SG in the primary fermenter, at a temperature of 59F, which is pretty much the ambient temperature in that part of the basement right now. A reading from the Tilt Hydrometer dropped into the wort from the fermentation test vessel also registered 1.008 SG, proving that the technique works. This will be useful when doing higher-gravity beers, by allowing me to bottle those when they're 3-4 gravity points from final gravity.

02/17/2019: Today I bottled the two variations. The batch brewed with Safale US-05 registered a final gravity of 1.015 SG. The version using Mangrove Jack's MI5 Empire Ale yeast registered 1.008 SG. A small sample from the fermenter showed that the US-05 version was clearer but the roasty malt flavors were muted. The MI5 version seemed more tasty and "British" to me. Both variations were bottled with six small carbonation drops per bottle.

05/12/2019:  To add insult to injury, it turns out that the bottling wand used to fill the bottles with this beer was infected by an unknown strain of bacteria. The entire batch had to be dumped. Every bottle gushed its contents out after opening.  Worse, the affected wand was the one I used most often, so most of the batches I've brewed in the past year were infected at bottling and have had to be trashed.

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