Monday, January 28, 2008

Red Tail Ale (Red Ale #1)

We weren't planning on it last weekend, but i got the bug up my ass and just had to brew another batch. It also helped that one of my poker buddies let me borrow his copy of 150 Classic Clone Recipes. This guide was packed with recipes to copy many of our favorite beers - from Guiness to Winterhook and everything in between. We decided a red ale would be a good candidate for our next batch and settled on the Red Tail Ale, a clone of a beer from the Mendocino Brewery.

First, we needed to rack our IPA to make room for the red ale. I went back to Bob's for the third week in a row and picked up a second glass carboy along with an airlock and thermometer strip (and of course, the ingredients needed for this batch). While racking the IPA, it seemed like the beer was being agitated a bit where the cane-siphon meets the hose, and we worried a bit about the oxidizing. Most books seemed to be more concerned with the beer splashing at the bottom of the carboy, so we may be alright. We also added an ounce and a half of Amarillo and Simcoe hops in a hop bag to dry-hop the beer. This will sit in the fermenter with the beer for two weeks until we bottle. Some of our favorite beers are the Maritime Pacific dry-hopped ales, so we're really excited about this one. I'm glad there's a beer that will be ready before this, so I can be more patient about leaving this alone until it's been conditioned for a long enough time.

We had fun with the red ale, which was actually a simpler recipe than our last batch. We used less malt extract for this brew, and the hops were added at the start, at 30 minutes, and at the end of the boil. This gave us plenty of time for cleaning equipment during the downtime (and sipping more beer). We also decided to stray from the recipe a bit and dry-hop this beer as well. We'll use the leftover Cascade hops to add to the secondary fermenter next week when we rack this. We keep talking about taking a week off from brewing, but I just can't stop! Already thinking about brewing a clone of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. Either way, we'll be bottling for our first time next weekend. This gets us closer to actually tasting the true "fruits" of our labor.

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