Monday, June 21, 2010

Session Beers: Irish Red Draught Ale

On this edition of Me and the Homebrews, WBN chronicles the Session Beers: Irish Red Draught Ale.

Irish Draught Ale: Like Irish stouts, Irish ales are sociable session beers with a low alcohol content but substantial body. This beer pours with a deep red color and tan head over a caramel-like malt character with roasty and fruity notes. As a bow to Ireland's meadmaking past, clover honey lightens the body and boosts the gravity of this recipe, while a small dose of oats adds creaminess to the mouthfeel and a hint of grain to the flavor.

Well, I kegged the beer with my brother yesterday and had a little taste. Ooh! Ah! Nothing like warm, flat beer, I know! The color initially looked too brown, but once it poured in the glass it looked much like the picture above, more red like it's supposed to.

Something new I tried with this beer was cooling the wort with ice - as in a frozen gallon of water put directly in the boiling wort. That worked like a champ. I also added maltodextrin to the boil to increase body - that worked well too as it has a nice heft to it.

Now we come to the all important taste. I can tell the malt is present and it had a nice nose as well. But there is a bitterness on the tip of the tongue that isn't due to hops - and this is bugging me, since I was trying so hard to get it right this time. My current suspicion is that when I steeped the grains I squeezed the bag when it was all done which may have released unwanted tannins (or something) into the brew. I also made it with mostly spring water but also a little tap water which may have some unwanted impurities. I may let it sit in the keg a bit longer to see if it will smooth out with additional aging.

Fortunately I have an Irish Red right behind it if this doesn't work out.

Irish Draught Ale. O.G. 1.038, F.G. 1.10, ABV 5%

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