A few months ago, I stopped by the Newport Storm brewery for their tour and tasting. One of the beers they still had on tap was their Spring seasonal, an Irish Red. I can't think of any other commercial Irish Red Ale's I've tried - I think Smithwick's is supposed to be of that style, but, to me anyway, it leaves much to be desired, to me anyway. I tried brewing Jamil's version a while back, but it really did not turn out well (nothing to do with Jamil's recipe - it was completely my lack of brewing acumen at the time). Newport Storm's version, however, is excellent - there is this nuttiness and roastiness that I really like and it has this overall unique flavor. Being the resourceful homebrewer that I am, I checked out Newport Storm's website to see if I could gather enough info to take a stab at recreating their beer.
The website includes a lot of good info - including the malts, hops and yeast used, starting and ending gravity, color, and IBUs. I love it when commercial breweries pander to the beer geeks. Still, there were a couple of things I wanted to know more about. The first one I figured would be crucial to the outcome of this beer - how much roasted barley to use. The second one came about mostly from surprise in seeing Cascade hops listed in the description - I needed to know when those were used in the process because I was not expecting any American "C" hops in this beer (I need to see if I can pick it out next time I have the commercial version). So, I emailed the brewery, hoping to get more insights.
Even more than I love when breweries pander to beer geeks on their websites is when they are generous with their time and info on a one-on-one basis through email. Well, Newport Storm came through again - I received a very informative email from the Brewmaster, Derek Luke. He gave me their grist breakdown for a 30 barrel batch and told me to put Cascades in "at the end". Sweet!
As much as I really wanted to stay true to Derek's recipe, my LHBS does not carry Amber Malt. I've read that you can toast your own malt instead, but since I don't have a mill, I really need to get all my ingredients elsewhere. I thought about ordering a pound of Amber Malt online, but I really didn't feel like waiting to brew this nor did I feel like paying shipping on just a pound of malt. So, I decided to tweak the recipe a little by subbing a pound of Vienna malt in for the Amber Malt (about a 3:2 ratio of Vienna:Amber), realizing that it takes me away from the original, but that it will hopefully make me a very nice beer. Given the warm temps, even in my basement, and lack of temperature control fermentation equipment, I went with the swamp cooler technique, managing to keep temps in the low 60s for the bulk of fermentation.
Cheers to Derek and Newport Storm!
Gaelic Storm - an Irish Red Ale
Brewed on 8/8/11
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.75 gal
Estimated Color: 15.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.00 %
5 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) - 76.1 %
1 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) - 15.2 %
3.0 oz Roasted Barley (500.0 SRM) - 2.9 %
3.0 oz Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) - 2.9 %
3.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) - 2.9 % (for mash pH)
7 g Northdown [12.30 %] - (60.0 min)
14 g Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] - (15.0 min)
10 g Cascade [6.10 %] - (2.0 min)
California Ale (White Labs #WLP001)
Single Infusion, 152°F, Batch Sparge