India Red Ale: Rich Malt, Big Hops. What’s not to love?

IRA2

It seems breweries everywhere are releasing their version of an India Red Ale (IRA). Why limit big hop flavor and aroma to pale malt combinations? We all love amber/red ales, so increase the hops a bit; it really just makes sense. So when I came across this IRA recipe from TimBrewz on Homebrewtalk.com I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did because its delicious!

I believe it’s a variation of a Randy Mosher recipe found in “Radical Brewing.” This beer gives a nice hop punch but the blow is softened by the richness of the malt character. The flavors meld beautifully. Its similar to dipping a chunk of fluffy French bread into a bit of balsamic vinegar. By themselves, the bread might be bland and the vinegar too acidic but together they are an appetizing duo.

I’ve made this recipe a few times now with a few variations. Its a recipe that is wide open for hop experimentation. I’ve changed the hops a little each time with equally satisfying results. I’ve also used different yeast strains for this recipe as well. The clean American strains (i.e. WLP001, Whyeast 1056, SafealeUS 05) work well. I have also had success with English strains like WLP 007.   My last attempt was made with Wyeast’s 1332 NW Ale Yeast and I enjoyed the results. You’ll want to be certain to treat your yeast well for this one to insure proper attenuation. It could end up a bit “sticky” if your beer doesn’t finish low enough. My last attempt ended up at 1.014 and was just right.

This beer is a deep dark orange-red with a near white head that endures for almost the whole pint.  The aromas are of mixed berries and bready malt. The bitterness on the palette is firm. It has dank, herbal and resinous character with a sweet graham cracker flavor. There is a slight prickly carbonation but a creamy mouth feel and it fades to a clean dry finish. All in all a very enjoyable pint.  You can see a lot of feedback in the recipe link above. Its become pretty popular  with good reason. You’ll see my version is a little different based upon what was available at the time. If you brew it, (and you should), let me know what you think.

Yeast: Wyeast 1332 (WLP 001, US05 or 1056)
Batch Size: 6 gal
Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.014
IBU: 70-75
Boil: 90 min
Color: 17 srm
Fermentation: 10 days @ 66f
The Grains:

Thomas Fawcett Marris Otter 7.5 lbs
Great Western Munich  5.75 lbs.
Great Western Crystal 40L: 14 oz

Great Western Crystal 80L: 7 oz

Great Wester Crystal 120L: 2 oz

Simcoe(13.2% aa) 1 oz 60 min
Amarillo(8.8% aa)1 oz 30 min
Cascade (6% aa)1 oz 5 min

Simcoe .5 oz dry hops
Amarillo 1 oz dry hops
Centennial .5 oz dry hops

IRA

IRA