Sunday, December 1, 2013

Three Micks Irish Red Ale Brew

11 November 2013 - Tuesday, November 5th, was a first for SBBC and myself. This brew is my first original recipe, that will be permanent memorial beer recipe dedicated to my cousin and two good friends that have passed away over the last year. 

Jon Fleming was a fellow VEMS paramedic and great friend that passed away in October 2012. Jon was remembered by a one-off memorial Fleming's Irish Red Ale brew in November 2012 ( I realize it is a funny story to remember a guy who didn't drink with another beer, but that's what we do; we brew beer.  Jon's passing has left a hole that can never be filled. 

Another EMS friend and fellow beer lover, Brian McCarthy passed away on September 7th, 2013, following a motorcycle accident on his way home from work. 

Both were young guys, taken too soon and they left behind lots of family and friends to grieve. 

My cousin, Matt Doyle, died 6 days later on September 13th, at home in Colorado. Matt's death was a great loss for me, since Matt and I were best friends growing up. He had moved to Colorado in 1992, but we kept in touch throughout the years. He also left behind a lot of family and friends to grieve at his passing. 

I had this idea of this brew on my way to work a few days after Matt died. A song on the radio started me thinking about him. Then I drove through the Valley, where Jon and I worked together at VEMS. I also passed the intersection where Brian was hit and gravely injured on Fountain Street in New Haven. This started me thinking about all of them and what I can do to remember them in my own little way..... A beer! But not an regular beer would do. Since their last names read like a ledger at Ellis Island during the Irish Emigration, it had to be an Irish Red Ale. It also had to be completely different than Jon's beer, but memorialize him with a permanent beer as well.

This was the first brew that was my own original recipe. I found a Irish Red Ale and tweaked it to my design. This recipe has 2 lbs of Smoked Malt, that will impart a subtle smoky flavor in the background. This beer will also age in the secondary fermenter with lightly toasted oak chips, that have been soaking in an ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey since brew day. That will add the whiskey and oak flavors to the beer as well. This was the first test batch to test the recipe. It might change depending on the outcome. I might also tweak or refine it to make it better. 

I started the brew day out right by putting on my new, kelly green, Watertown CT shirt, with a big shamrock on it. Of course, my UT kilt and boots were a given as well. I locked myself in the garage, set Pandora to my Dropkick Murphy's channel (a favorite of Matt's), cranked the volume and got brewing. It went with no real issues. I did come in a little below the OG, but well within the specs for this beer style. It was happily bubbling away the morning after I pitched my Wyeast Irish Ale yeast starter. It was fermenting while the family and I was away on vacation. I'm going to check the SG on it tomorrow to see if it's ready for racking into the secondary. Stay tuned for updates as this beer ages and finishes. Thanks.

**UPDATE** 13 November 2013: I checked the SG last night and it was 1.010. Thanks a drop of .044 points. That means the beer finished out at 5.7% ABV. Not too bad. I plan to rack it to secondary tonight and add the Irish Whiskey soaked oak chips. Then the waiting begins. I'll have to periodically check it to see when the oak and whiskey flavors peek and not overpower the beer. 

** UPDATE** 17 November 2013: Beer was racked and is now in the secondary fermenter. This will allow the oak chips and Jameson Whiskey to mix and meld flavors with the TMIRA. I'll check it in a week or two. New photos below. 

**UPDATE** 20 November 2013: I sampled the TMIRA last night. Beer is good. Solid malt upfront. Smoky finish. Oak and whiskey seem present as well. I'm going to check it again next week to see how it's progressing. 

**UPDATE** 24 November 2013: I pulled a sample to test and share on Sunday (11-24-2013) while we were brewing a clone of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. the TMIRA gets better the longer it sits and mellows in the secondary. Glenn, Dad and Joe were very impressed with it. I must say that I am as well. We let it sit and warm up a bit and the vanilla, oak and whiskey notes shine through. I'm going to check it again on Thursday to see how its progressing. That will mark two weeks in the secondary and I will see if I feel it's ready to carbonate. 

**UPDATE** 01 December 2013: TMIRA was racked into the keg today for carbonation. It should be ready in about a week. there was about 1/2 gallon left, so I put into a growler with some priming sugar to bottle carbonate. We shall see how that works. 


Grains, hops, oak chips and yeast, all ready to go

Mmmmm, Jameson Irish Whiskey will be a part of this brew (no shots were involved in this brew...yet)

Brew stand ready to go

Heating the strike water

Grain bill and hops all layed out 

All ready to brew. And yes, it was cold in the garage

All mashed in

Wort draining into the boil kettle


Wort ready for boil
Boiling away

Boiling away. Wort chiller all set up

Getting ready to finish

Wort chiller being sanitized

**UPDATE**  Photos - 17 November 2013

Oak chips soaking in Jameson Irish Whiskey

Oak chips and leftover Jameson in secondary fermenter

TMIRA racked in secondary with oak chips and whiskey

Into the fermenter for a few weeks or more 

All set to go. See you in a few weeks

Looks good and tastes even better (11-24-2013)

**UPDATE Photos** 01 December 2013
One beer going into secondary and one going into keg

TMIRA into the keg for carbonation

Racking into the keg

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