I’ve been busy the past month with two different homebrews. I didn’t post about them individually since I was making them so close back to back.
The first one is a new recipe for a Red Ale. This was an extract and grain recipe. I used ultra-light dry malt extract, some British Brown and Belgian Special B. I made a recipe mistake with the grains. Instead of the British Brown, I should have used Cara-Red. I’m not sure how I missed that in my research. For that reason I think it may turn out a bit too dark when it’s finished. I’ll correct that next time.
As you can see, it was a great day for brewing. The Red is in the kettle in the background with a pint of Pumpkin Spice in the foreground.
I used some Chinook and Kent Goldings in the boil. As a new twist that I have never tried before, I decided to dry hop this brew and used Fuggles for that in the secondary. For those purests out there, I know, Reds shouldn’t have a strong aroma. But I’ve wanted to try dry hopping for some time and so I decided to toss some in and see how it works out.
I used Wyeast Labs 1084, Irish Ale yeast.
According to my calculations the brew should end up with a SG of 1.057, ABV of 5.6%, 20 IBU and 26 HCU.
So, how did I do?
Well, I have no way to measure IBU or HCU, but my SG ended up being 1.054 and my ABV is at 5.6%. Not too shabby.
A few weeks after making the Red, it was time for my annual Honey Wheat. I’ve been getting closer with each brewing of this beer and I went into this attempt pretty confident I’ll finally get it right.
The weather wasn’t nearly as nice for the Honey Wheat. Kind of rainy but luckily I had very little wind. Everything went fine on brew day. The main change I made to this version was to cut back on the amount of honey. I used 3.5 lbs in my first attempt and it was too weak. I bumped it to 6 lbs last year and it was too much, so I used 4 lbs this year. But I also divided it in half. I put 2 lbs into the boil and held 2 lbs back that I put in with 10 minutes left. I wanted more honey aroma in this batch and also didn’t want to boil off all the flavor either. I’m hoping that works.
I changed the recipe around a bit as well to give it more of a wheat style beer instead of an ale. I used wheat and British pale malts along with dry malt extracts. I added Galena, Centennial, Kent Golding and Hallertau hops as well. I may have used too much Centennial, but I did wait till the 30 minute mark to add them. Shelley detected a bit of a hop bite on our sample last weekend when I moved it from the primary to the secondary. So I may need to cut back on the Centennial next time or use a less powerful hop. I finished it off with some American Wheat yeast.
My calculations indicated I should be around a SG 1.066 (may be a bit high), ABV of 6.8% (also too high), 43 IBU and 5 HCU. The IBUs may be high for Shelley’s taste and I think she may be right when she tasted it last weekend.
My final numbers turned out pretty good. My SG turned out to be 1.060 and the ABV came down to 6.2%. I like both those numbers much better. We’ll see how it ages as it sits in the secondary for the next month. Both Shelley and I tried some samples when I transferred it the secondary. The flavor isn’t quite there yet but the aroma is very good. There is a bit of a honey flavor at the start but that fades pretty quick. My guess is some more aging should help this over time.
Here are the two beers sitting in their secondaries.
The Red will be transferred to the keg next weekend and should be ready to drink the weekend after that. The Honey has another month in the secondary and another week in the keg before it’s ready. We still have some of the Russian Imperial Stout and Pumpkin Spice on tap, so we are trying to make some room for the Red. The stout should go first and I’m trying hard to drink it all up so I have room for the Red. Bummer life, yeh?
Speaking of the Russian, that is my next project. That will get started around March 27 so it will be ready in October.