American Beer Guest Posts Irish Beer

Cheers to Wedding Beers: Part 2, Mosaic Red Ale

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series of guest posts by my buddy Brandon O., describing the beers he made for my wedding last November. If you haven’t read part one, go back and check it out here.

When we were trying to decide what wedding beer #2 was going to be, we only had a few qualifications:

  1. The beer needed to be low ABV.
  2. The beer needed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

Since the lager was going to be light colored and extremely easy drinking, we wanted something with a little more depth than a pale ale or IPA. After talking about some previous beers we’ve enjoyed—and toying around with the idea of a smaller stout or porter—we settled on something a little more middle of the road, albeit with a twist: a red ale hopped with Mosaic and fermented with S-04 to give it a slightly more fruity aroma and flavor.

What’s in it?

The Vitals

  • Category: Irish Red Ale (BJCP 15A)
  • Method: All grain (batch sparged)
  • Batch size: 5 gallons
  • Mash: 3.41 gallons @ 152F for 60 minutes
  • Sparge #1: 1.57 gallons @ 168F for 20 minutes
  • Sparge #2: 3.86 gallons @ 168F for 20 minutes
  • Boil: 60 minutes
  • Fermentation: 14 days at 68F
  • OG: 1.043
  • FG: 1.008
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • IBU: 30

The Grain

  • 7 lb 4 oz Proximity Pale Ale (77.9%)
  • 1 lb 4 oz Chateau Cara Ruby (13.4%)
  • 6 oz Crystal 60L (4%)
  • 6 oz RoastOat (4%)
  • 1 oz Debittered Black Malt (0.7%)

The Hops

  • 0.5 oz Mosaic [11.2% AA] @ 60 minutes (22 IBU)
  • 0.25 oz Mosaic [11.2% AA] @ 15 minutes (5.5 IBU)
  • 0.25 oz Mosaic [11.2% AA] @ 5 minutes (2.2 IBU)
  • 1.5 oz Mosaic [11.2% AA] dry hop for 3 days before packaging

The Rest

  • Yeast: 1 packet of SafAle English Ale S-04 (dry)
  • Water: 8.85 gallons of RO water + 5g Gypsum in mash water

How’d it go?

As with the lager, the red ale brew day went exactly to plan. Having brewed over 100 beers on my system, standard beers like this (no crazy adjuncts, long boils, decoction, partigyles, etc.) are very straightforward. The mash, sparging, boil, and chilling all went by without any trouble. I transferred the chilled wort to a sanitized fermenter and pitched a packet of S-04. The beer was chugging along nicely the next morning. I left the beer to ferment for 2 weeks at 65F.

I brewed this beer a few weeks before the wedding, which gave me plenty of time for fermentation to complete and then a week in my kegerator to carbonate.

How’s it taste?

Appearance: Ruby colored without much haze. I thought it would be totally clear but there’s still some chill haze present. The head is white and lingers for several minutes.

Aroma: Fruit and berry notes from the Mosaic lead, followed by a light caramel.

Taste: It’s a well-rounded flavor profile that combines the fruitiness from S-04, berry flavors from the Mosaic, and a nice caramel and slight roast from the malts. I wouldn’t say any one of these profiles is overpowering—they all mix really well together.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy and smooth, giving the impression that there’s some lactose or other sugar in there. If I had the right setup, this would be excellent on nitro.

Would I brew it again?

Red ales are a style I don’t really gravitate toward, but whenever I have one, I remember how much complexity this style has. I would love to brew this beer again, although I might try different hops to see how they play with the caramel notes. Mosaic actually worked really well with this beer, though, so if you’re thinking about brewing it as-is, it’s certainly great without any adjustments.

Post-wedding followup

Surprisingly, neither of the kegs kicked during the wedding, so I’ve been sipping on them for the last month or so. (Editor’s note: Wine, champagne, and cocktails were also available at the open bar, and we only had around 30 guests, so the beers no kicking is certainly no commentary on their quality!) Both beers have held up extremely well with some extended aging. As I mentioned in my first post, the lager did finally drop completely clear and still retains the citrus flavor and aroma it had during the wedding. The red ale has lost just a bit of its Mosaic presence, but it’s still an extremely solid beer.

If you’re looking for an easy-drinking beer to have on tap for a special event (or just daily drinking), either of these beers would be a great choice.