New Assistant Brewer and Best Beer Ever?

The last few months have been busy outside the brewery.  After much consideration (and nine months of work on her part) AJ and I decided to bring an assistant brewer on board.  He joined us in early September, and we’re just pleased as punch to have him with us.  He hasn’t gotten his feet underneath him just yet, but that is just a matter of time.  He’s already running the show, though, and we’re running around trying to keep up!

The Bill

The Beer

To honor his coming arrival I spent his due date brewing up what may just be the best beer ever.  The Wee Baby Ginge was born from the anticipation that our wee one would have hair red as fire, as it seems to be a familial trait.  A nice Irish Red with a spicy twist: 2 ounces of rough chopped fresh ginger thrown in the boil at 12 minutes.  The beer was designed to be an easy drinker with a bite.


Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 90 min 25.3 IBUs 15.0 SRM 1.059 1.018 5.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Irish Red Ale 15 A 1.036 - 1.046 1.01 - 1.014 18 - 28 9 - 14 2.4 - 2.8 3.8 - 5 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 9 lbs 80
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 1 lbs 8.89
Carared 1 lbs 8.89
Roasted Barley 4 oz 2.22


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Fuggles 1 oz 90 min Boil Pellet 4.5
Goldings, East Kent 0.5 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 5
Goldings, East Kent 0.5 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 5


Name Amount Time Use Type
Ginger Root 2.00 oz 12 min Boil Herb
Irish Moss 0.25 tsp 10 min Boil Fining


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
SafAle English Ale (S-04) DCL/Fermentis 73% 59°F - 75.2°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 156°F 45 min


Ice Bucket Chilling

The Brew Day

I love a good no-stress brew day.  We had enough stress (due date!) to go around, so a crappy day at the kettle would have been less than awesome.  Thanks to a prior Amazon delivery, we had some new toys to integrate.  Most notably, we utilized the pond pump and ice bath method of powering our immersion chiller.  A couple of fellow Ozark Zymurgists turned me on to that method and I don’t think I’ll ever go back:  $4 of ice goes a long way, an achieves our minimizing water usage goal.

The other toy implemented on this Due Day Brew Day was a refractometer.  After cranking out just one batch with this tool at my side, I was unsure how I ever got along without it.
More on that later.

Brew day efficiency came out to be an acceptable 70.9%, and at the end of the day I was munching on ginger chunks that had been boiled in wort.  Nice little brewer’s snack.

The Rest

I racked the wort into the 6.5 gallon carboy, pitched a packet of dry S-04, and let it roll.  Fermentation was largely uneventful with nothing worth noting until 2 weeks after pitching.  Skipping even more sleep I pulled a sample and with great anticipation, placed it on the refractometer prism: “1.030.  What in the world?”  After waiting a week longer, the next reading came out at 1.027.  The beer should be at an FG of 1.017 by this point, and I’ve become really concerned.  Visions of dead yeast, O2 bottles and diffusion stones began running through my head.  On the verge of breaking out the Yeast Necronomicon, I thought to question my methods and whether I needed to adjust the refractometer somehow.

Turns out, using a refractometer after pitching requires some conversions.  The value in the viewfinder isn’t valid.  “Today I Learned…”

Armed with this knowledge, and my trusty hydrometer, I pulled another sample and found that we’d hit FG spot on.  Cold crash, gelatin and kegging made it servable.  And serve it has done.

The Ginge!

The Taste

Malty, mild hop character. Good ginger nose, but lacking in the bite I was hoping for.  Very drinkable, as many attendees of our Scaraoke party can attest to.

The Future

This is a good candidate for being always on tap.  I want a stronger ginger hit, so the next batch will be getting double the ginge.  I will certainly be making it again soon.

And, yes, our little guy has red hair.  That surprised the pediatrician a bit.

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