|Home Brewing Recipes
Baker Street Ales Associate Brewer
the crossroads of the beer world
I've had a few requests for an easy way, to make a red ale so the subject of this
month's column is how to do just that using extract. The red ale is historically a
close cousin to the American pale ale so my recipe resemble a pale ale one in
everything except color. A base of American two-row malt sweetened with a
variety of Crystal malts should comprise the majority of the grains. To get a
bright, sparkling red color, the secret is found in a tiny amount of black malt.
Adding one to two ounces of black malt to your steeping grains does the trick
and doesn't impact flavor. By the way, Red Ales can be focused on malt or hop
flavor according to your personal preference. You know mine - bring on the
hops! Here we go- but first remember- proper sanitation is priority number one!!
6 gallons of tap water, split
6 pounds Light liquid malt extract
1 pound CaraRed malt, crushed
1/2 pound Crystal 60L malt, crushed
2 ounces Black Roasted Barley malt, crushed
1 1/2 ounces Cascade or Centennial Hops—60 minutes
1 1/2 ounce Cascade or Centennial Hops—15 minutes
1 ounce Amarillo Hops—5 minutes
1 Liter starter of American Ale yeast (White Labs WLP001 or Wyeast 1056)
1 ounce Amarillo Hops—for dry hopping in secondary
priming sugar for bottling
1. If possible, place 2 gallons water in the refrigerator to cool in
a sanitized container.
2. Tie the CaraRed, Crystal 60L and Black Roasted Barley malt in a large
mesh grain bag or hop bag. Place the bag in 3 gallons of water in a 5 gallon
pot and immerse the grain.
3. Begin to heat, making sure mesh bag isn’t sitting directly on the bottom
of the pot. Remove the grain bag when the temperature reaches 170°.
4. Bring wort to a vigorous boil. As water is heating, slowly add 6 pounds of light
liquid malt extract, stirring constantly until completely dissolved. When the boil
begins, add 1 ounce Centennial hops in a mesh bag.
5. After 45 minutes of boiling has passed, add 1 ounce Cascade or Centennial
hops in a mesh bag.
6. After a total of 55 minutes has passed, add 1 ounce Amarillo hops in a mesh
7. After total of 60 minutes of boil, remove from heat. Warning: After wort cools
below 180°F everything that touches it should be sanitary, and exposure to open
air should be limited as much as possible.
8. Cool wort by placing pot in ice bath until it is below 85°F. Transfer to sanitized
fermentor (either a carboy or a fermentation bucket). If you like, top off to make
5 gallons using refrigerated water. I personally don't do this so as not to over-
dilute the mixture but others do.
9. Use a sanitized auto-siphon racking cane to remove enough wort to take a
gravity reading with your hydrometer. Make a note of this number, since you will
be using it to calculate the actual alcohol content when it's done fermenting. The
reading should be around 1.060.
10. Carefully pour yeast into cooled wort (it should be below 70°F), and agitate
vigorously. Cover fermentor with a sanitized stopper and airlock. Ferment in
dark place, keeping ambient temperature consistent, preferably 65 to 68°F.
11. After 2 to 3 weeks when primary fermentation is complete (take at least two
consistent gravity readings), transfer to a secondary carboy for conditioning,
add 1 ounce Amarillo hops for dry hopping and store as cool as possible.
12. Bottle after another one to two weeks using enough priming sugar for a
medium level of carbonation according to these instructions.
Now to answer a few of the many questions I've received. By the way, keep
sending them in. It's all about making good beer and that's the fun of it!
Q- Is a starter yeast really necessary?
A - A yeast starter is used to initiate cell activity or increase the cell count before
using it to make your beer. The yeast will grow in this smaller volume, usually for
1-2 days, which then can be added to 5 gallons of wort. While a starter is not
always necessary, I recommend making it if the Original Gravity is over 1.060, if
you are pitching lager yeast at temperatures below 65F, or if a faster start is
Q- What is SRM?
A - SRM, is a color scale used to describe beer color. A golden Pilsner might be 4-
5 SRM, while a brown ale would be 17-20 SRM, and stouts and porters 35+ SRM.
Q - Should I know the ph of the water I'm using?
A - Yes. The pH of water is a shorthand way for indicating it's relative acidity.
The value is scaled from 0 (maximum acidity) to 14 (maximum alkalinity). 7 is
neutral. Adding grain to the water will lower the pH, hopefully into ideal pH range
for a beer mash: 5.2-5.6. Even if you're not mashing, the pH of your water will still
affect the flavor and clarity of your finished beer. Historically, the single most
important factor in determining the kind of beer brewed in a certain area has
been the pH level of the local water.
Q - How can I get more hop aroma in my beers?
A - Try dry hopping. The name comes from the fact that the hops aren't added to
the kettle during the boil, they're added to the secondary fermenter (or keg) while
still dry. This approach extracts maximum aroma while having little to no impact
on flavor and bitterness. While you can use hop pellets for dry hopping, I find that
the easiest approach is to use whole hops. You actually don't really need a bag,
just stuff them down the neck of the carboy - they'll float on top of the beer and
you can siphon it out from under them after a week or so.
That's it for this column. Hope to see you next month!
Good Brewing and Cheers!