Wednesday 1 September 2010

My Competition Red Ale Recipe

So here I am, sitting in a converted French school house listening to Planet Rock, drinking Jentain Ambre and dreaming up recipes for my Brew It Yourself competition Red Ale. It's all good.

Not knowing an awful lot about red ale; all I've got to go on is the Beer Smith's definition of Red Ale and the competition guidelines which state the beer must be:

A dry-hopped red ale between 4.8% & 5.5% ABV

Beer Smith's definition of Red Ale:

Style OG 1.044 -1.060
Style FG 1.010 -1.016
Style EBC 17.7-35.5 EBC
Style IBU 17.0-28.0 IBU

I've recently taken delivery of a small amount of Sorachi hops, and I like to try my first beer as a single hop beer because I like to get a full sense of the hop flavour. Well it makes sense to me anyway.

Anyway, here is the first draft of the recipe.

Brewlength 23L
Est OG 1.054
Est Colour 32.5 EBC
Est IBU 27 IBU

Grain Bill
Maris Otter 5.9 EBC 4800g (87%)
Carared 39.4 EBC 390g (7%)
Amber Malt 43.3 EBC 112g (2%)
Torrefied Wheat 3.3 EBC 112g (2%)
Chocolate Malt 689 EBC 55g (1%)
Black Malt 55g 985 EBC (1%)

Hop Schedule

20g Sorachi (12.2%AA) FWH
30g Sorachi @ Flame Out
20g Sorachi Dry Hop (3 Days)

Protofloc at 5 mins. In terms of yeast I can use US-05, S-04, Windsor or Nottingham. I haven't made any decisions on that yet.


  1. Interesting stuff. I never seem to get the hop flavour and aroma I want, so I'd tempted to up those hop additions. Also isn't Sorachi Ace typically a lager hop? Any reason you FWH?

  2. Yes I might up the late hop additions, not sure about the hop designation for Sorachi, but do know that it is used in Thornbridge's St Petersburg Imp Stout. I FWH cos Evin told me to :)

    What yeast would you veer towards?

  3. BJCP style guide suggests no esters for a red ale ... so I'd go with a cal ale yeast (US05) and up those late hops.

    Or ... if you don't really care about style, would it work to have an English ale yeast for the ester profile and then dial back those late hops?

    Interesting about FWH. Have you noticed any differences? I had a go at mash hopping on my last brew and Im not sure yet if it made much difference. Be good to hear what you've found.

  4. This will be the first FWH I've done. I asked Evin to critique my Green Bullet and two of the things he came up with was using FWH and massively increasing the late hops so you're in good company.

    Obviously I'll get a beer to you for evaluation purposes. I'll probably be brewing it the weekend after next.

  5. I'm still not convinced by either FWH or mash hopping. Any flavour compounds produced at that point are surely going to be driven off or break down during the boil. I'd use some hops in the boil and then save the best for late / post boil / dry hop additions.