Battle of the Amber/Red Ales
Are you ready to ruuummbbblllee!? What better way to start off the holiday season with a little friendly brew battle? Tuesday December 1, 2015marks Moody Ale’s first Beer Battle Royale! In this round, we’ll be bringing forward four uniquely different amber/red ales. We will have Roxanne’s “Red Light” Honey Red Ale, Dan’s American Red Ale, Robyn’s Ginger Red Ale, and last but certainly not least, Adam and Sho’s Chocolate Rye “Red” Ale. Who will rise to taste delicious malty victory and who will fall flat? (haha beer jokes)
Red Ale: primarily a catch all for any beer less than a Dark Ale in colour, ranging from amber to deep red hues. This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples.
Here’s what they each had to say about their tasty creations:
What is the story/inspiration behind this beer? Have you made this red ale before?
Roxy: “The story of the Honey Red Ale started last November when I asked a friend of mine what beer he would like me to make for Christmas. His request was for a red ale, which was a great request for me because it had never really crossed my mind to make that style. Honey Red Ale had a nice ring to it and sounded delicious, so I concocted a recipe and tried it out!”
Dan: “I’ve always been a fan of red and amber ales. Back before the prevalence of craft beer I used to drink a lot of Rickard’s Red. Originally this recipe was an IRA (India Red Ale) because I was really into hoppy beers at the time. I certainly enjoyed it but some of my friends and family that weren’t so into hops thought it was too hoppy. I decided to convert the recipe to an American Red Ale (basically less hop bitterness compared to the original recipe). The hop profile is made up of additions of Chinook and Cascade used both for bittering and aroma. A healthy dose of both are used for dry hopping as well.”
Robyn: “I developed a fondness for traditional ginger beers while backpacking around the UK. I wanted to brew a beer with a nice ginger punch balanced with a sweet and malty body. Why red? I was on a craze with a newly discovered (for me) Carared malt at the time and was throwing it in everything.”
Adam & Sho: “Sho and I haven’t made this beer before. I was inspired to make a red ale after reading about a grain from Best Malz called Red-X. After committing to brewing a red ale I found out that everyone is currently sold out of this grain – but as they say – the show must go on! I wanted to do something with rye and chocolate malt, with a hint of mint. Sho and I chatted about this and he came up with a recipe which we tweaked a bit and ultimately brewed. I was also partially inspired to do this to beat Dan in the Battle Red Ales. The beer tastes more or less as I expected, maybe not as sweet as I thought it would – but it seems to be more brown than red – which is why we called it Adam and Sho’s Chocolate Rye ‘Red’ Ale.”-Adam
“For the battle, Adam had the idea for a red ale with chocolate overtones, minty hop flavour, and a bit of spiciness from rye. I threw together the recipe, we revised it, and then the beer got brewed. Since it’s the newest and least established recipe, it’s kind of the dark horse in this race.”-Sho
Tell us about the beer and the ingredients used to make it:
Roxy: “When making this beer I wanted it to have a deep red hue, a nice malty roastyness with pronounced flavour and aroma coming through from hops and honey. I’ve used a variety of malts in this beer including Chocolate, Caramel, Crystal, and Munich. The hops used were Willamette and Cascade, and last but not least I added honey for a lightly sweet aroma. I find the best way to enjoy this beer is to let it warm up ever so slightly and swirl it in the glass to really bring out the honey and hop aromas.”
Dan: “There are 7 types of barley used in this beer. The base is a blend of Canadian 2-row pale malt and UK Maris Otter, which gives the beer a nice underlying nuttiness. A combination of amber, dark munich, crystal, and chocolate malts contribute to colour and provide a balanced roasty caramel sweetness. Lastly, a small amount of flaked oats helps to round out the mouthfeel.”
Robyn: “The beer’s base is a American Red Ale with an addition of honey and fresh ginger in the boil. After fermentation more fresh ginger is added to the secondary to give it a bit more zip.”
Adam & Sho: “This beer is a Chocolate Rye Red Ale. It uses pale malt, some mid coloured crystal malts and lots of pale chocolate and rye malts. Northern Brewer hops provide a hint of minty-ness. I think there may also be some holiday cheer in this one.”- Adam
“The beer’s got a good dose of rye malt for spiciness, a mild minty quality from Northern Brewer hops, and a large dose of pale chocolate malt for some rich, malty, chocolatey taste. It’s like a thin mint inspired milk shake re-imagined in beer form.”-Sho
If you had to choose any one else besides yourself, who do you think would win the battle of the red ales/ which red ale is your favourite (besides yours)?
Roxy: “What I love about this battle is each of the Red Ales is unique and completely different from the other ones! If I had to choose a favourite it would be Robyn’s Ginger Red. It’s the perfect comforting and delicious beer for this time of year! Plus I am a sucker for ginger.”
Dan: “The other three red ales are all really good and I will be drinking my share of all three, but if I had to pick a favourite it would probably be the Ginger Red Ale. I’m a sucker for red ales and I’m a sucker for ginger so it’s only natural that I would gravitate towards this one.”
Robyn: “I’d say it’s a toss up between Dan American Red or Roxy’s Turn off the Red Light. Both are extremely delicious yet incredibly different.”
Adam & Sho: “this is a tough one, each of these beers is different and enjoyable in it’s own right. I think I have to choose Roxy’s Honey Red though. She’s brewed this a few times and I really like it, the honey comes through, it’s got a nice maltiness with balanced hops.”-Adam
“I think Dan’s red has some excellent hop aroma that keeps me drinking. But then Roxy’s red is infinitely drinkable. On the other hand I can’t think of any other beer than Robyn’s gingered red that I would rather have next to a large plate of Korean fried chicken.”-Sho
What are you brewing next? What will the next battle be?
Roxy: “I have a bunch of beers on the go at home so I’ll see if any of them pass the test to make at the brewery. Maybe we can do a Battle Stout Galactica? Whatever we do I’m pumped for the next challenge!”
Dan: “It’s hard to say when we’ll have another battle of the beers or exactly what that will look like. We have so many recipes to squeeze into our brew schedule so the stars may not align again for a little while. I do have a couple of other ideas for similar types of events so stay tuned…”
Robyn: “I’ll be brewing up a rauchbier, a smoked German lager. Hmm… next battle? I’d say a cask off perhaps?”
Adam & Sho: “I’ve been thinking a lot about Belgian quadruples – It’s the time of year for something big and sticky to keep us warm at night! Battle of the quads could get a bit messy though!”-Adam
“I’ll be making a biere de mars, an amber farmhouse ale. I think I’m done with battles, maybe a reconciliation collaboration brew to mend our relationship.”-Sho
Now that you’re all enticed (and most likely thirsty), come join us at the launch of our first Beer Battle Royale right here in the Moody Ales tasting lounge on Tuesday December 1st! You’ll be able to sample all four delicious red ales in a beer flight and judge for yourselves! But hurry, because there is only one keg of each!