Devil’s Tower Red – US Red Ale brewday

It has been some time now since I have had any ‘free’ time to think about beer or brewing. Even having 2 minutes to check up on the brewing tweeps has been hard to justify. Ah life getting in the way again.

I’m not going to complain though! I have recently started a new job, which incorporates a return to academic study, so needless to say my feet don’t seem to have touched the floor for the past few weeks!

Possibly a bit too gung-ho for a brewday in blighty

Today however, a brief window of opportunity presented itself! I have, over the past few weeks, predicted the possibility of such an occurrence, so had created a ‘Up next’ brew list in Beer Alchemy, for the purpose of having a list of recipes already chambered, ingredients in stock, ready to go.

One recipe jumped from the screen. An american red ale I have been tinkering with. It is the hop schedule from an all Simcoe pale, and the malt bill from another recipe, combined to hopefully create a gutsy, red hued ale with bags of Simcoe flavour, aroma, backed up by a robust malt profile.

OG: 1.063
FG: 1.015
ABV: 6.4%
IBU: 68
Colour: 11 SRM
BU:GU ratio: 1.07

23L brew length

Pale Ale Malt – 92%
Dark Crystal Malt – 8%

Magnum 16%aa 26g – FWH
Simcoe 12%aa 26g – 15 mins
Simcoe 12%aa 26g – 5 mins
Simcoe 12%aa 52g – 0 mins
Simcoe 12%aa 52g – Dry hop

Safale US-05

Salt additions
Gypsum 5g mash, 10g boil

Ferment temp 18oC
Mash temp – 64oC

So the idea was to keep the grain bill simple. In a brew a few years ago i had picked up dark crystal from the grain bin instead of medium. The resulting ‘pale’ beer turned a great red colour and had a really nice malt sweetness. I also wanted to keep this recipe simple. I have, as many homebrewers do, have the propensity to throw the kitchen sink at a recipe, especially when i have a lot of great speciality malts in stock.

Show me the way to the mash tun

Again with the hops, I wanted a big punchy hop presence, but maybe reign in the varieties and showcase. I still think that this can be classed as a ‘single hop brew, as magnum brings so little to the table apart from bittering.

I decided to ditch the SLR and break out the iPhone 5 to see how it performed documenting the brewday. Quite happy with it TBH!

Pale and dark crystal malts

A chilly start to the brewday, had to up the strike temp accordingly.

Mash temp

I mashed pretty low for me at least) to try and increase the fermentability of the wort. With all the crystal I don’t think that this beer will be lacking in body, and I do not want it to be cloying.

Red 1st runnings

I was very happy with the colour of the 1st runnings.

Red Mash

Sparge Temp

I have taken to sparging at 80oC as it has increased my efficiency by a few % with no apparent off flavours. It should also stop any further conversion after the main mash time has elapsed.

Much paler 2nd runnings

The second runnigns, as you would expect much paler than the first.

Combined together I am very happy with the colour of this wort. It just screams ‘drink me’

A big wodge of Simcoe going in for the flame off 80oC steep.

Pretty clear run off

After leaving the wort to settle out the trub etc I managed a pretty clear run off.

Everyone likes a filth shot! 🙂

Aerated and ready for US-05 and a pinch of yeast-vit.

All in all it was a very chilled brewday in the sun. I managed 23L in total. Still to record the OG as i had to leave the sample to cool as I went to work. Hopefully it will be bang on the money.

The name for this brew is from the 1st ever US national monument. Established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. A 1267 feet laccolith that towers red over the surrounding scenery.




6 thoughts on “Devil’s Tower Red – US Red Ale brewday

  1. Oh, this looks gooood!
    I’ve been thinking of doing a brew with just pale and crystal and this fits the bill (minus some of the Simcoe! where did all of West Yorkshire’s Simcoe go?)

  2. Sounds and looks lovely. How long will you be able to leave this without ‘sampling’?

    Oh & good luck with the new job!

    • Thanks John! I’m hoping it’ll be a good one! Can’t really go wrong with simcoe! 🙂

      I’ll let it ferment out, dry hop chilled for prob 4-5 days, then bottle condition for a couple of weeks! That’s the plan any way! 🙂

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