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Irish Red 7.0

Thanks to the mold infection, I had to toss Irish Red 6.0 before I even got to taste it.  Since it was mostly a mash optimization experiment, it was less painful to toss it out than it might have been.  Today, I decided to brew a sixth version of the beer, as a further test of mash optimization.

Ingredients

6 pounds, 6 ounces Maris Otter malt
6 ounces Caramel/Crystal 120L
6 ounces British Medium Crystal
5 ounces Chocolate Rye Malt

0.57 ounces Whitbread Golding Variety hops @ 7.1% AA

1/4 tsp. Brewtan B during boil (20 min.)
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (15 min.)
1/2 tsp. Irish Moss (15 min.)

3 gallons RO mash water
1.75 gallons RO sparge water
1 gram Calcium Chloride
0.5 grams Canning Salt
1.1 grams Epsom Salt
2.5 grams Gypsum
0.5 grams Magnesium Chloride

1 package Wyeast English Ale III yeast

Brewfather estimates the batch will have the following characteristics:

  • BJCP Category: Irish Red Ale
  • Batch Size: 3.0 gallons, 2.7 gallons actual
  • Original Gravity: 1.058 SG estimated, 1.060 SG actual 
  • Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.043 SG estimated, 1.043 SG actual 
  • Final Gravity: 1.015 SG estimated, 1.015 SG actual
  • IBUs: 24
  • SRM: 16.5
  • ABV: 5.7%
  • Mash Efficiency: 59%
  • Fermenter: Mandalorian
  • Tilt Hydrometer: Red
  • Carbonation Method:  2 small carbonation tablets
  • Bottling Wand:  Stainless 1
Mash Schedule:
  • Mash in at 120F and hold for 20 minutes
  • Mash at 154F for 60 minutes
  • Mash out at 168F for 10 minutes
  • Sparge with room temp RO water
Boil Schedule:
  • 90 minutes: No addition
  • 60 minutes: WGV hops
  • 20 minutes: Brewtan B
  • 15 minutes: Yeast nutrient, Irish Moss
  • 0 minutes: Turn off heat and begin chilling
Fermentation Schedule:
  • Ferment at ambient basement temps unless we get within 2 degrees of the yeast's upper end, in which case I'll slap a couple of ice packs against it to cool it down.
Brewing Notes and Observations

10/18/2020:  The grain mill behaved itself for the second batch in a row, crushing all the grain without jamming or have any trouble.  The mash went fine and an iodine test showed full conversion.  Sparge was unusually slow but went fine.  When I looked at the kettle volume at the boil, I realized that we were a little high, so I extended the boil by 90 minutes to compensate.  I ended up with a higher gravity in the fermenter than expected, so I diluted it down using distilled water until I was within a couple of points.

10/21/2020:  Gravity is down to 1.029 SG today.  

10/27/2020:  Gravity is around 1.023 SG today.  I raised the fermentation temp and swirled the fermenter, hoping to bring it closer to the intended FG.

10/30/2020:  Despite my raising the temperature of the wort to 72F and giving the fermenter a good swirl, gravity has held at 1.024 SG since Wednesday.  This is a bit too high for the style, so I may pitch in some US-05 yeast to see if that helps attenuate it a little more.

11/02/2020:  Gravity has been holding at 1.024 SG now for a week. I'm concerned that this is higher than it should be for the style, and higher than the Brewfather-estimated 1.015 SG.  My primary concern is that the beer could continue fermenting in the bottle and result in "gushers" or explosions, so I may try adding the US-05 today.

11/19/2020:  Gravity seemed to hold at 1.023 SG for about six days, then started to drop again.  It's currently down to 1.018 and has only been there for about a day.  I'm keeping an eye on it and hoping that it has not picked up mold.  I noticed this happen with an earlier batch of a different recipe. The gravity was steady for a while, then suddenly dropped. When I looked in the fermenter (a clear one), I saw a dime-sized bit of mold on the surface. Since this is a stainless fermenter, I can't see inside it to tell and don't want to open it in case it's not mold - as I might introduce some by doing so.

12/3/2020:  The beer was bottled today.  Because I've had an issue with what seems to be bacterial infections, but more likely seem to be bottling the beer too soon, I've waited until this hit the expected FG and held it for a long time.  I've also only used two carbonation tablets, which would be below "low" carbonation according to the manufacturer.  With any luck, if the beer continues to ferment a couple of points in the bottle, that will leave me at a normal carbonation level.  If this one becomes a foamer as well, I'll be about out of options.

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