The good oil on Red Ales

The good oil on Red Ales

Stouts and porters aren't the only beer styles that come to the fore in the cooler months. Another style that is perfect for the chillier weather is Red Ale. What makes a Red Ale a red beer? The colour! Not all red beers are the same however, depending on what the brewer did to get that colour will have a huge impact on the final beer.

Red beers range from lighter copper, to intense ruby and deep red-browns. To make these brewers use higher kilned malts like a Munich, roasted malts like Amber or Crystal malts that have been stewed to crystalize the sugars. In most cases these malts are the heros, not the hops like in an IPA.

Flemish reds use lactobacillus in the fermentation and are aged in large wooden vats. Usually fruity and a bit sour.

Irish reds are malty, less hoppy than a modern red. They are rich and complex but finish dry with low to moderate bitterness.

American red ales are full bodied, mildly sweet malt and have delicate hop flavour because of the American hop varieties. Generally there is no roastiness to an American red style.

Red IPAs are a fantastic blend of two styles. All the rich malty notes are balanced with floral and fruity hops and the extra body and punch from the elevated alcohol levels.

Rye adds an earthy spiciness to red beers. The Red Rye style balances well with many different hop additions.

- Chris, Albury -