My cousin and occasional brewing partner Andy received the book IPA, written by Stone Brewing Co. Brewmaster Mitch Steele as a gift. Around a year ago we were spitballing ideas of what to brew for our next brew day. After reading the book he suggested red IPAs. Intrigued I suggested we both come up with our own interpretations, then pull a small amount of each and blend them.
Andy’s Cabot Street Red RIPA had a fair amount of flaked rye. From what I recall the spiciness of the rye worked nicely with the sweet caramel malts which gave the beer it’s red color. Anticipating that Andy would design a hop forward beer, I sought to make a more balanced brew as a counterpoint. For Curt’s Red Sock IPA I used English Pearl base malt, similar specialty malts that I had used in a previous Irish red, and London Ale 1318 yeast to give the beer a fruity finish.
Where the beer fell short was in complexity of hop flavor. This was the second IPA I had designed from scratch and in hindsight didn’t know what I was doing. The dank Simcoe hop flavor dominated, which along with the roasted barley in the grist made the beer finish quite dry. The beer was good, but it didn’t have the flavor I was going for. Almost immediately I started tinkering with the recipe in anticipation of a re-brew.
Over time I looked at ingredients for other hoppy red ales that I like including Maine Beer Comapny Red Wheelbarrow, Troegs Hopback, and Bissell Brothers Bucolia. When Northern Brewer released a limited edition North Coast Red IPA kit I gave serious consideration to purchasing the kit after my experience brewing the Welkin Ringer ESB kit. In the end I reviewed the recipe, compared it with the ideas I had been working on, and decided to brew an original recipe. By the time I had finished developing the recipe it had nothing in common with the original Curt’s Red Sock IPA, thus the Camp Randall Red IPA was born. When I went to purchase my ingredients I had to make even more last second adjustments based on hop availability.
For this red IPA I wanted the beer to have the fruit flavor my last red IPA lacked. The Mosaic and El Dorado hops should provide that. I used six types of malt to give the beer a complex malt flavor. Pale ale malt is slightly darker than a standard 2-row base malt and will give the beer a little more color and malt backbone to stand up to the hops. Caramel 80 malt will provide color, sweetness, and hopefully fig or raisin notes. Small amounts of Vienna and Munich malts will add additional malt flavor and color while allowing me to use less caramel malts which can clash with hop flavor when used excessively. The Honey Malt and Special B were left over from Rundown Irish Red around and will hopefully give the beer a little something extra.
The yeast selection was something I went back and forth on. The ubiquitous California Ale WLP001 (Chico) would have been a perfectly fine choice, but I wanted a more estery flavor. My original thought was to use Vermont Ale (Conan). It produces peach esters which would work well, and there was enough specialty malt in the grist that even with Conan’s exceedingly high attenuation the beer hopefully would not finish too dry. In the end I decided to try American Ale II 1272 (Anchor Liberty). Although it will not produce as much alcohol as Vermont Ale, it does provide more complexity than Chico. The slightly lower attenuation will preserve more malt flavor. The fact it clears well was appealing because I decided I wanted the beer to be bright and clear, to really pop visually. There are entire forums online of people debating the merits of Chico vs. Anchor; I am excited to try it for the first time.