A Hoppy Red Ale

Red Ale
To my mind, a hoppy red ale is the quintessential contemporary American beer. This style is influenced by a variety of European styles: the slightly sweet maltiness and caramel hue of a German lager; the hop-forward bitterness and floral bouquet of an English IPA; the clean and subtle yeast character that American pale ales inherited from their British predecessors. Combining these features with the punchy zest of strong American hop varieties gives an entirely different breed of beer that is distinctly American.

My first experience with such a beer was Rogue’s Saint Rogue Red, which is a relatively mild incarnation of the style. Lately, one of my favorites is Green Flash’s Hop Head Red, which has a decidedly more assertive flavor profile. Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye incorporates flaked rye to the malt bill for a delightful twist on the style. Having developed a strong taste for the hoppy red ale, I figured it was time to try my hand at making my own variation. Here is the recipe I devised for a 5 gallon batch:


  • 8 lb pale malt (American 2 row)
  • 5 lb Munich malt (light)
  • 1 lb flaked rye
  • 8 oz crystal 60L
  • 2 oz black patent


  • 1.5 oz Chinook (60 min)
  • 1.5 oz Centennial (20 min)
  • 2 oz Cascade (5 min)
  • 2 oz Centennial (dry hop)


Mash 2 temperature infusion

  • Mash in 145 F for 30 min
  • Raise to 154 F for 30 min
  • Sparge at 165 F


  • 2 weeks in the primary at 60 – 65 degrees
  • 2 weeks in the secondary with dry hop

Notes For some reason, my mash in was significantly cooler than expected, so I had to add extra boiling water to hit my target temperature of 145 F. As a result, I ended up adding more hot water, giving about 8 gallons of sweet wort. I let the boil go for about 3 hours to boil off the extra water. I anticipate that this will result in a slightly more intense maltiness and sweetness than otherwise, but there are enough hops in it that it should still be well balanced. I ended up with just over 5 gallons of wort with an initial gravity of around 1.065.

Update I just racked the beer to the secondary fermentor and added the dry hop. The beer had a gravity of 1.011, which corresponds to an abv of around 7%. I snuck a taste, and everything is good so far!

Will Rosenbaum

Saarbrücken, Germany

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