PM#4 – Leann Dearg

After much deliberation, reading forums, posting on Beoir and listening to podcasts, I finally decided on a recipe for my Irish Red which I’ve christened “Leann Dearg”. I want something akin to “O’Hara’s Red” – plenty of caramel, clean yeast character and a generous roasty finish. Using the targets specified in “Brewing Classic Styles” I came up with the following. I was a bit confused about how much roasted barley to use. Jamil uses a whopping 170g of 300L roasted barley but it seems the Americans use a much lighter version than we do here (and in the UK). My roasted barley is around 600L so decided to tread carefully on my first attempt and use 60g for a 19 litre batch. I hope to get a decent colour but with a noticeable “burnt toast” finish. I just don’t want to veer into porter/stout territory, so caution is the key here.

Category: Irish Red Ale
Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 12 L
Total Grain/Extract: 3.50 kg
Total Hops: 58.0 g


  • 1 kg Maris Otter Pale
  • 0.17 kg Crystal 100
  • 0.06 kg Roasted Barley
  • 0.17 kg Crystal 40
  • 0.1 kg Biscuit Malt
  • 0.9 kg Dry Light Extract
  • 1.1 kg Dry Light Extract (15 min late addition)
  • 37 g East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 4.5 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 21 g East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 5 min.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets(15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale US-05

Original Gravity: 1.055 (1.044 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.014)
Color: 15.62 °SRM (9.00 – 18.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 25.0 IBU (17.00 – 28.00 IBU)
ABV: 5.5 % (4.00 – 6.00 %)

Used Jamil Zainasheff’s “Irish Red” targets as follows: OG: 1054, IBU: 25, SRM: 17

Got an OG of 1.054 but I was careful about the amount of top-up water I used. I reckon the total volume was only about 18 litres, so it seems my mash efficiency is way off target. I thought it would be a lot better because I was careful with the sparging.

Sample from trial jar tastes fantastic. Lots of caramel sweetness and plenty of hops but not much roast coming through. This will probable become more evident when it’s fermented. Here’s hoping.

06/10/2012 –bottled with 130g sugar. I only had about 60g of dextrose so I made the difference up with plain old table sugar. Only got 31 bottles due to the reduced volume. I really need to sort out my efficiency issues if I’m planning on upping the amount of base malt in my partial mashes. Got a nice roasty aroma out of the FV.

31/10/2012 – Perhaps it was a tad optimistic but I just had my first sample of this, less than 4 weeks in the bottle. Not great, it still tastes pretty young, like the darker crystal malt hasn’t had time to mellow out. I’ll give it another 3 weeks. Carbonation is decent. Colour is a little darker than I was expecting. Nice hit of roasted barley too, but nothing too dry. This may become more apparent as the beer matures.

22/11/2012 – Had an excellent result with this, though not quite there with the recipe yet. I think the darker crystal gives too much raisin, stone-fruit type flavours. It also comes across very sweet. Funnily enough, I agonised most over the amount of roasted barley to use, but I think the 60g I used was perfectly judged. Next time, I might reduce the ABV a bit and sub out the darker crystal with a lighter variety. I think I’d like a bit more late hop character in this also. Overall I’m very pleased with it though. I’d like to do a side-by-side tasting with some Clotworthy Dobbin as I think it’s quite similar. Indeed, the title “ruby porter” could easily applied to this beer.

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