A few years back, red ales were iconic for the industrial breweries’ first ham-handed attempts to grab a piece of craft beer glory. Consciously or not, craft brewers have since taken red ale to a place they know the big brewers won’t follow: into the land of juiced-up, over-hopped ales of no small gravity. Here’s a recipe one of my Chicago cohorts and I recently brewed together on American Homebrewers Association BigBrew day.
5 gallons/19 liters
OG: 1070/17° Plato
Alcohol: 5.5–6.5 percent ABV
Color: red amber
Bitterness: 65 IBU
All-Grain Recipe (calculated at 75 percent efficiency)
5½ pounds (2.5 kilos) Vienna malt
4 pounds (1.8 kilos) Munich malt
2 pounds (907 grams) melanoidin malt
½ pound (227 grams)Cara Munich malt
3/4 pound (340 grams) Special B (very dark crystal) malt
1 pound (454 grams) wheat malt
Mash an hour at 150 °F, then mash out at 170 °F. An extract + mini-mash can be made by substituting 5½ pounds (2½ kilos) amber dry malt extract for the Vienna and Munich malts.
1 ounce (28 grams), 60 minutes, Perle 8% AA
2 ounces (57 grams), 30 minutes, Hallertau 3½% AA
2 ounces (57 grams), 10 minutes, Saaz, 2½% AA
You could lager this, or if you can’t manage temperatures well enough for a true lager, use one of the European ale yeasts and do a conditioning as cool as you can manage.