Charlotte’s Park Ale (a slightly smoked red ale)
Beer style: red ale
Target ABV: 4.7%
Hops: Challenger and Goldings
Ready for drinking: from 10 Sep 2014 (keg)
Rauchmalt is a german smoked malt. It’s used in large quantities for rauchbier, which is often incredibly smokey (and sometime delicious with smoked salmon or smoked meats). It’s pale like pale malt – but smells of barbeque. In this red ale I used about 7% rauchmalt. I wanted a fairly lightly hopped ale with a hint of smokiness and a good red colour. Considering we drank this keg in Regent’s Park out of green and blue plastic cups I can’t really confirm the success of the appearance – but it tasted ok. Could have done with a few more late hops thrown in – and perhaps a less bumpy journey to the park.
Interestingly, all malt used to be smoked due to the lack of control in the malting process. Like pale malt (and hence pale ales and pilsners) unsmoked beer is a pretty recent invention.
Making my first ever “red ale” made me question wher0e the sytle comes from. You get flemish red ales (like the famous and marveollously complex duchesse de bourgogne beer – think ale with a hint of sour compost) which this definitely was not. And you get Irish red ales. There wasn’t much that was Irish about this beer (hop varieties were both british) but this was the style I was going for. It seems to me that Irish red ale is just an Irish name for an lightly hopped English bitter. I think lots of microbreweries are brewing “red ales” to appeal to the east london hipster who will happier order a “pale ale” but would hesitate to order a “bitter” .
Hopefully with a bit more smokiness and a few more aroma hops this’ll develop into a nice little recipe.