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Luck of the Irish

Luck of the Irish

There’s no denying it. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular holidays celebrated at bars. Pub crawls, green beer, lots of toasting and laughter.  You clearly don’t need to be Irish to be drawn into the festivities. But, if you prefer to celebrate at home this year —or to extend your celebration with your own private party— there are several homebrew recipes that will serve you very well. All are low ABV and very drinkable. Plus, the flavors are so genuinely Irish, you’ll be dancing a jig in no time.

Dry Irish Stout
The beer that is most often associated with St. Patrick’s Day is probably the Dry Irish Stout. Made famous by breweries like Beamishand Guinness, the “stout” dates back hundreds of years. Originally synonymous with “strong” beer, modern stouts differ considerably from their predecessors. Today, the “stout” is typically a light-bodied, low alcohol beer that imparts a host of very dry and roasty flavors. The key ingredient in a classic Irish Stout is roasted barley. Roasted barley gives Irish Stout its coffee-like flavor, deep dark color, and white foamy head.

The recipe for this beer is a 5-gallon all-grain batch. The grain bill is dominated by English pale malt, accompanied by the key ingredient—roasted barley. It is traditionally brewed with English hops, like East Kent Goldings or Fuggle.  This is a very simple beer to make and produces a great Guinness-style taste every time.

Ingredients:

5 lbs. Pale Malt (2 Row)
2 lbs. Barley, Flaked
1 lb. Black Barley
2.25 oz. Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min.)
0.25 tsp. Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min.)
1 Pkgs. Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084) Yeast-Ale

Info & Process:
Type: All Grain
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Boil Size: 5.50 gallons

Mash: Single Infusion
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs.
Sparge Water: 2.61 gallons
60 min. Mash In: 2.5 gallons of water – Temperature: 154.0 F
10 min. Mash Out: 1.6 gallons of water – Temperature: 168.0 F

Estimated Original Gravity: 1.039 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 3.7%
Volumes of CO2: 2.3

 

Irish Red Ale
The history of Irish Red is not as well-known as other beers. Although many of the traditional Irish ales share some similarities with their English counterparts, including English Bitters, Irish Red is generally recognized as its own distinct style, most closely represented by the Irish Red Ales brewed in Ireland today, such as Smithwick’s Red Aleand Beamish Red Ale. Irish Reds normally have a clean, dry finish, with mild toffee malt favors and little to no hop aroma. Similar to Dry Irish Stout, the Irish Red gets its unique coloring from the presence of roasted barley.

This beer is made from a very simple extract recipe, perfect for even a novice brewer. It is another very drinkable, low alcohol beer that would be a hit at any St. Patrick’s Day party.

Ingredients:

6 lbs. Pale Liquid Extract
0.60 lb. British Crystal – 55L
0.25 lb. Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L
0.25 lb. Roasted Barley
0.50 oz. Target [10.00 %] (60 min.)
0.50 oz. Willamette [5.50 %] (15 min.)
0.50 oz. Fuggles [4.00 %] (0 min.)
1 Pkgs. Irish Ale (White Labs #WLP004)

Info & Process:
Type: Extract
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Boil Size: 3.50 gallons
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Steep specialty grains for 45 minutes

Estimated Original Gravity: 1.044
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.012
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 4.16 %

 

Berliner Weisse
When formulating a list of beers for a traditional Irish holiday celebration, a Berliner Weisse is kind of a stretch. However, it’s a perfect way to achieve that goofy, obligatory green-colored beer, without settling on macro swill with food coloring.

The Berliner Weisse is a light-bodied sour beer that originated from Germany around the 17th century. Due to its sourness, flavored syrups have historically been added to smooth out the tartness. The most popular of these additives is something called “woodruff” syrup, which not only imparts a sweet flavor, but also changes the beer to a green hue.

This is definitely a more advanced recipe, as there are many ways to achieve the desired level of tartness, including different rests during the mash and utilizing multiple yeast strains. This recipe relies on a specific yeast blend created especially for the Berliner Weisse. It’s a good idea to discuss this process with your local home brew shop before attempting this recipe. But, it’s well worth the effort for the compliments you’ll receive.

Ingredients:

3.50 lbs. Bohemian Pilsner
2.50 lbs. Wheat malt
0.70 oz. Hallertau [2.75 %] (15 min.)
1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient (15 min.)
1/2 tbsp. Irish moss (5 min.)
Yeast: Wyeast 3191-PC Berliner Weisse Blend

Info & Process:
Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons
Boil Time: 15 minutes

Mash: Single Infusion
Total Grain Weight: 6 lbs.
Sparge Water: 4 gallons
50 minutes Mash In: 2.5 gallons of water – Temperature: 149.0 F
10 minutes Mash Out: 1.5 gallons of water – Temperature: 162.0 F

Estimated Original Gravity: 1.031
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.006
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 3.3%

 

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