Red Ale From Grain To Glass In One Week!?

As any (home) brewer will tell you,especially those brewers with kids, time and money can be a factor in brewing time. So 2 Sundays ago I get a great idea to brew a beer as a tribute to the 4th of July, and my birthday which is the day before. It was however NOT my intention to have it completed in one week. I actually was planning on kegging this late for the 4th..more like the 16th. I figured what the hell…The hydrometer sample tasted fine. So, the 2nd of July I kegged it. I am usually not one to force any beer to be done on ANY schedule but its own. My feeling has always been that “it’s finished when its finished.” For instance, I’ve read many books and articles on slow smoking BBQ (pork shoulder or beef roasts) with a wood fire. If you try to cook these types of cuts especially beef brisket, it will become tough. BBQ is meant to be the very opposite, which is taking the toughest of cuts of meat and turning them into a very tender cut by way of slow cooking with wood smoke for extra flavor. “Low and Slow” as they say. Beer is no different except less chewing.

The yeast I used was Safale #S-04. In my experience this yeast has a tendency to ferment like crazy for the first few days and drop the gravity very quickly. In my case I had an extreme blow-off inside my fermentation chamber, but it hit final gravity in about 3 days. The ambient temps were about 62-63 which would make the fermenting beer around 70 degrees or so. This yeast is rated up to 75 degrees, although I would not ferment any higher than 70 unless you are fermenting with a Belgian yeast or just like fusel alcohols. So after hitting final gravity, I let the yeast continue to condition and clean up the beer from diacetyl, acetaldehyde, and other byproducts that fermentation creates. (see link here for definitions for these:  After about 2-3 days more, most of these off-flavors were dissipated. The only off-flavor that remains is a slight yeasty flavor, but thats to be expected, as the beer was slightly hazy. The yeast just didn’t get to drop out quick enough. Oh well…. Nothing a few days in the fridge wont fix.

Independence Red Ale: dry hopped with Amarillo hops in the serving keg.

I will say that the beer tastes pretty good considering the fact that I did in fact rush the beer, thereby breaking one of my rules. BUT…I did have good cause. My beer reserves were hitting a low point and I hate that!!!

As you can see it still has a great red hue to it. If i could only find a way to merge the blue and white in the glass at the same time it would be complete.

I will still recommend against rushing a beer, but as I said before…Its done when its done. By the same token, if you want to crank out a beer Fermentis dry yeast will usually chew through a batch in a quick minute. I hardly ever use dry yeast as I think the fresh liquid yeast has a better flavor , even though it is more work to use and maintain. That is my opinion however. I do believe dry yeast has its place and I cannot argue that it is VERY easy to use and you can almost brew on the fly without having to plan out and time a yeast starter. Dry yeast require no starter at all, just re-hydration, which is a cinch.

The beer itself has an excellent bready thing going on, probably due to the munich and victory malt. Balanced bitterness but the Amarillo hops take the forefront. If you have the means, give it a shot….

58% Dark Munich

31% Pale 2-row

4% 120L Crystal malt

4% 60L Crystal Malt

3% Victory Malt

32 IBUs of Centennial Hops – first wort hopped (bittering)

1oz of Amarillo fresh hops – Dry hopped in keg

Enjoy and Cheers…..


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