Whoever said that The Grand Crew was restricted to wine chat? … Well, technically I did, referring to my “Join the Crew” tab and the title of my blog, “a wine blog”. But I’m the founder and editor so I’ve decided to do whatever the hell I want and open up this forum to all fermented liquids and spirits. Thus begins a 3 post series on beer, inspired by my friend Marshall—amateur brew master and my former supplier from Texas.
I am going to keep this rather raw with as little editing as possible, as I was very impressed by some emails Marshall sent me over the summer, highlighting some of his top beer recipes. So basically I’m copy-pasting the recipe below, extracted from my email exchange with Marshall. Marshall has over 20 years of experience in home brewing so although he’s not a trade professional, he has the experience and certainly the passion!
Marshall’s recipe numero uno:
“Here’s the Irish Red recipe. Big rich deep malty taste. Mild bitterness. Kind of like an overhopped Wee Heavy. I haven’t found a good commercial example of this style, but I’m going to Ireland in November and will by-God do it. Definitely my best and my favorite. This is morebeer.com’s original recipe. They have since changed the kit formulation. This one is better.
7 pounds light malt extract (liquid)
1 pound Chrystal malt (120 deg. Lovibond)
0.5 lb. Aromatic
0.5 lb Caramunich
2 oz roasted barley
2 oz special B
3/4 oz Target (Galena) hops (60 min)
2 oz Willamette (last 10 minutes.)
1 tsp Irish moss. (traditionally in the last 20 minutes of the boil)
You will have to learn about bittering, flavoring and aroma hops, but it’s not that big a deal. The primary concern is heat. You are familiar with tannins, and phenolics. These are components in beer, as well. As beer is cooked, however, your ability to control them is in the wort (beer equiv. of must).
Brewing is different than winemaking. There is about 4 hours of work, then two weeks of waiting, then about 2 hours of work then 2 weeks to 18 months worth of waiting. You can involve yourself more in a secondary (clarifying rack), but the flavor won’t differ much. Temperature is important, light is important, foresight is important. As to foresight: I had a hops blowoff incident that almost soured the sale of my first house. A wad of hops during high ‘kruesen”, blowing the hose off of a carboy and depositing said load of hops on the ceiling of the laundry room apparently looks like a termite infestation coming down from the attic, at least according to the buyers inspector. That took a bit of explaining…
Forgot the yeast. Besides methodology, the most important thing that a homebrewer can do is buy quality yeast and make a starter culture. The yeast for the Irish Red is a White Labs WLP 004. I’ve made it with a dry yeast, but the difference between that and the White Labs is night and day to a good palate.”
Two more recipes will follow in the coming week, but just in case any of ya’ll out there are truly interested in kicking off your own home brews, check out these sources, which are also direct recommendations from Marshall the Brewmeister! …
“If you are going to get into homebrewing, the best book out there is Snyder’s Brewmaster’s Bible for recipes and processes. He goes all the way from extract to grain with a complete explanation of the processes. Mine is covered in notes and wort stains. Principles of Brewing Science is also good for advanced knowledge.”
And finally morebeer.com is a comprehensive online supply store, which sells “Absolutely Everything! for Beer-Making”
So happy brewing! … Oh and please understand that The Grand Crew HAS NOT deviated from its wine focus. But this blog is all about exploration and a community approach … which brought us to Marshall and his passion for beer! And well I must admit that I have a vested interest in this topic as well since I’ve always been a big beer buff and I look forward to brewing my own beer at home, along with el vino of course, in the near future.