Monday, March 1, 2010

Easy Irish Red Ale, 2.5 gallon batch

It'd been a good weekend for brewing, so we figured we might as well finish it up with a small batch of Irish Red, using some steeping grains we had in the leftovers stash.  We planned on walking to the grocery store in the morning and making a roast for dinner, so I made a quick and easy recipe.  Extract with steeping grains, what a breeze!

Easy Irish Red (extract with steeping grains)
(a little more than a) 2.5 gallon batch
Estimated OG: 1.051
Actual OG: 1.042
(ingredients not shown in correct amounts)

-3.3 lbs Briess Pilsen Light LME
-0.13 lb Briess Black Patent Malt (Lovibond 500)
-0.13 lb Muntons Carapils (Lovibond 20)

-0.5 oz US Goldings 4.5%

Nottingham dry ale yeast, 1 packet (11g)

First, we weighed out the grains and put them in a nylon bag for steeping,

And put one gallon of water in our pot.  Then we began heating the water to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

During this time I sanitized the carboy by putting a tiny bit of bleach in the bottom and filling it with water.  I let it sit like this in the tub while we began.

Alright, the water in the pot is starting to warm up.  Let's add those grains!


When the water reached 150 degrees, we turned the burner down to low and stirred the bag around a little, then covered the pot for 30 minutes.  At about 15 minutes:


Then we weighed out the hops.  If you don't have a vacuum-sealer, an effective way to keep hops fresher is the good old straw and mouth method.

You'll get a good taste of the hops when you suck the air out of the bag, and you'll help prevent oxidation.  Then just refrigerate as usual.

pretty good, eh?

Time to kill, time to kill...let's rinse out the carboy!  It needed plenty of rinsing since we used chlorine bleach to sanitize.

Now our steep was about done, and here's how it looked after about 30 minutes:

We removed the grain bag, added 2.5 gallons of water, and the hops bag.  Being the scroungers and savers we are, we didn't discard the grains as usual, instead opting to dry them on a pan in the oven.  We're going to try baking them in a bread for added texture.

Then we boiled for one hour, adding the liquid malt extract during the last 15 minutes (to prevent carmelization/darkening).


Keeping your LME in a hot water bath before use to makes pouring easier
15 minutes rolls by, and our 60 minutes boil is done.  We turned off the burner and cooled the wort.  At about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we removed the hops bag and poured our pre-beer into the carboy.
It was then that I realized we had a problem we've never had before -- we had more than our intended 2.5 gallons of wort!  But it still fit in our carboy so we poured it all in anyway, assuming the gods of blow-off would get more than their due that night.  I pitched the whole packet of yeast at about 90 degrees and secured the blow-off tube on with a rubber bung.

Then we finally got to eat the amazing roast that my fiance was cooking in the oven this whole time.  And boy was it good!

And good thing we had that blow-off the time we went to sleep it looked like this:

Since the ending volume was higher than intended, our original gravity reading was 1.042, a lot lower than the 1.051 we were shooting for.  We could have boiled our wort longer to concentrate the sugars and lower the volume; however, the color would have darkened, and since we were going for quick, cheap, and plentiful, we just left the beer as is.  This also could have been remedied by adding less water after the steep, 1.75 or 2 gallons rather than 2.5.  But this was a by-the-seat-of-our-pants beer.  No time for calculations!  It's lighter in gravity than BJCP guidelines for Irish Red Ale by .002.  But you don't have to tell anybody that...

This was last night, and today the krausen has fallen.  Now it's got an airlock and it's ready to rock.  I can't wait to share this on St. Patrick's Day!  Don't worry, you know there will be pictures!



  1. Mmm sounds good, might want to get your steeping grains crushed, I always crush mine when I do an extract brew and it really helps get all of the grain flavors out. Also has good info on sanitizing with bleach which I found helpful for my last brew.

    Might be pitching to hot as well, pouring beer above 80F invites hot side oxidation.

    Cool blog btw, neat way to document the brews.

  2. Haven't had problems with HSA, and the steeping grains seem to be fine just steeping them, thanks though. I'll try a crush next time. I've been sanitizing with bleach since I started and haven't had a problem yet. I just like iodophor now for the no-rinse aspect.

    Thanks for enjoying the blog!


  3. I'll have to admit I'm a sucker for a good Irish Red (and a good roast, too!). Thanks for publishing the details as it makes a great read. I'm betting the beer came out good. I have enough ingredients to make an Irish Red and I think that will be my mission this evening. Cheers to you and yours...!!!