What is Red Ale: A Comprehensive Guide to Red Ales from Around the World

How much water in a beer?

What’s red, refreshing, and goes great with buffalo wings? If you answered “red ale”, you are right! Red ales are a subcategory of pale ales that have become especially popular in the last few decades.

Many people don’t even realize that red ales exist because they are so under-represented in the beer world. There is still quite a bit we don’t know about these lesser-known beers, but we will dive into what we do know about them below.

Red ale has been around for centuries, but it has only recently gained such popularity among beer drinkers. The history of this drink goes back to 19th century England where the first red ales were brewed by an unpronounceable Scottish scientist named Patrick Sellar.

Fast forward to the 1990s when microbreweries started producing more and more red ales throughout North America leading to their mainstream resurgence today – yay!

History of Red Ale:

The origin of the Red Ale is still unclear but it is said that it originated in Ireland and England. The Red Ale is yet to become a household name among beers, they also pair wonderfully with food including cheese, grilled poultry, and other foods.

The red ales are rich in umami flavor. These beers are also known as “Irish Reds” and “Scottish Ales”. Interestingly enough, this beer style is not very popular among many people despite its popularity in European countries.

Red ales are also known as Irish Reds and Scottish Ales are a variation of the ale beer style. They are amber to red-brown in color and may have a slightly roasted malt taste. The characteristic bitterness is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

These beers have an original gravity of between 1.048 and 1.060 (12–19° Plato) and an expected final gravity of around 1.012 to 1.020 (3–5° Plato). One distinguishing characteristic of these beers is that they are brewed with less hops than pale ales or India Pale Ales, but still possess a subtly bitter flavor profile.

Originally brewed in Scotland and Ireland, they are much more tamed down versions of the English Brown or Old Ale styles which were popular during this time period in Europe.

The history of the style is yet to be fully determined but it appears that it was first imported into America by way of the British who had been importing Irish-made Red Ale for some time previous to its arrival on American shores.

The style has grown increasingly popular over the years although it has yet to become a household name among beers, they also pair wonderfully with food including cheese, grilled poultry, and other foods.

There are two variations to this beer style: one with a light body and a more roasted malt character; the other being rich and fruity with a deep color from the addition of caramel malts or unmalted dark grains.

What is a Red Ale?

What is a Red Ale?

Are full-flavored, hoppy, buttery beers similar to American Amber Ales (which rely on caramelized malts to obtain their color and flavor) but red ales also contain components of a much lighter beer with a dry, crisp, and hoppy finish.

Red ale is a variation of the Ale beer style. They are amber to red-brown in color and may have a slightly roasted malt taste. The characteristic bitterness is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

A red ale is a type of beer that can be either a Pale Ale, Irish Red or Scottish Ale. The name “red ale” refers to the color and not the flavor of the beer. A red ale contains both bittering hops and sweet malt flavors.

The difference between a red ale and American Amber Ale is that the American Amber Ale’s redness comes from the use of caramelized malts in the brewing process which is what gives the beer its color. The distinguishing factor between a Red Ale and other styles of beers is that it has a dry, crisp, and hoppy finish.

ABV of Red Ale: 4.5-7% ABV range

Food Pairings: Red Ale is a strong beer with a deep-red to brown color. It has a moderate to high bitterness and an original gravity of between 1.048 and 1.060 (12–19° Plato). Red Ales have an expected final gravity of about 1.012-1.020 (3–5° Plato).

Red Ales typically have an ABV in the 4.5-7% range, although this may vary depending on the brewer’s target alcohol by volume, brewing methods, and grain bill used.

Red ales will typically have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of between 4.5 and 7%. This is lower than the range for barley wines, which are in the 8 to 12% range.

Beer Fundamentals – What is Included in a Red Ale

A Red Ale provides a medium or slightly fuller body which gives its a distinct taste including medium levels of fruity aromas and flavors common in IPAs. However, the beer also has medium hop bitterness and flavors, and a medium to slightly fuller malt character.

The style is characterized by a reddish copper color.

Red ales are typically amber to red-brown in color and may have a slightly roasted malt taste.

The characteristic bitterness is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

Brewing Process for Red Ale

The brewing process for this beer style is mostly the same as the brewing process for any other ale. However, the brewing process for a red ale involves using specialty roasted malts in the brewing process. These malts will enable you to create a unique complexity within the finished beer.

The end result of using these malts and the special brewing process is a sweeter, butterscotch, or camel-like flavor.

Moreover, the brewing process enables the finished ale to have the characteristic reddish color. The malt will also have a slight roastiness to it which can be used in moderation to achieve the proper balance for this style of beer.

Varieties of Red Ale

Varieties of Red Ale

There are three major varieties of Red Ale: Irish Red Ale, Scottish Ale, and Irish Red Ale. The Irish Red style is the original type of red ale with a balance between malt sweetness and hops bitterness. It uses English hops.

The Scottish variant of this beer is brewed with higher hop content, but is not as hoppy as an IPA or Pale Ale. One difference from other ales is that the characteristic bitterness from roasted malt is generally not as strong in a Red Ale.

The most popular varieties of red ales are Irish Red Ales, Scottish Reds, and English Browns. These beers are all made in the same way with one exception: Irish Reds use English hops while Scottish Reds use Scottish hops. The other difference is that Irish Reds have a slightly more caramel color than their counterparts.

The Irish Red style has only moderate to high bitterness. This beer style can be identified by its amber to red-brown color. Commercial examples include Samuel Adams Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams Irish Red and Harpoon Brewery’s Harpoon Irish Style Red.

Related: Does Lager Have Hops? Comparing Lager & Ales Hops Quantities

Commercial Examples of Red Ale

Red ales are a great beer for both novice and expert craft brewers alike. One of the most popular examples is Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale, which is brewed with a combination of American, British and European malts.

The red ale offers a rich caramel maltiness that is balanced by just enough hops to make this easy-drinking brew perfect for any occasion.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale, a West Coast-style red ale with exceptional depth; but be careful with this one as it approaches an alcohol content of 6.9%.

Some commercial examples of Red Ale include: Amber Ale, by Glenn’s Brewing Company Harvest Ale, by Anderson Valley Brewing Company Crazy Aunt, by Crazy Mountain Brewing Company

What is the taste of Red Ale?

The taste of a red ale is dry, crisp, and hoppy finish with a darker and usually rich sweeter, butterscotch, or caramelized flavor. The rich, robust flavors make it an excellent beer to take.

To produce the rich taste, use specialty roasted malts that create a unique complexity within the finished beer. The malts and the special brewing procedure produce the sweeter, butterscotch, or caramelized flavor.

Moreover, the malts and brewing process give the beer its characteristic reddish color.

Red ales are also known as Irish Red Ales and Scottish Ales are a variation of the Ale beer style. They are amber to red-brown in color, there is some disagreement about whether it should be an ale or a lager but traditionally they are ales.

Color or Red Ale

The color of a Red Ale ranges from a light amber/red to a dark brown with red hues. The beer should be clear and have an off-white head. or Red Ales are maltier than other beers, but should not be sweet.

It may have a slightly roasted malt taste that is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

The balance is usually towards the malty palate, though diacetyl is low or absent. The characteristic bitterness is also usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

Red ales also known as Red Ales, Irish Reds, and Scottish Ales are a variation of the Ale beer style. They are amber to red-brown in color and may have a slightly roasted malt taste. The characteristic bitterness is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

Differences between a red ale and red beer such as Mexican red beer

Differences between a red ale and red beer such as Mexican red beer

The difference between a red ale and a red beer is that Mexican red beers have tomato colorations whereas there is no tomato coloration in a red ale. Red beers are just a beer cocktail containing tomato juice that gives them the red color.

The base beer for Mexican red beer is the light Mexican lager. However, other brewers use other beer types for the beer.

In addition, some mixologists mix the beer with other additives such as limes, sauces, and spices. Examples of the spices or sauces used are soy cause, pepper, and hot sauce among others.

Difference between a red ale and American Amber Ale

The two types of beers are put in the same category but have some distinct differences. The differences between a red ale and an American Amber ale are as follows:

FeatureAmerican Amber AleRed Ale
MaltsUses caramelized malts to obtain their color and flavorsUses specialty roasted malts
Color‘Red’ and ‘amber’‘Red’ and ‘amber’
HopsAmerican hopsEnglish Hops
TasteSweet butterscotch or caramelized flavorSmooth, warm mouth feel and moderate carbonation with a dry finish

The term Red Ale was coined by manufacturer Samuel Smith in the late 1980s to describe their flagship beer, which was based on traditional English recipes and had a distinctive reddish hue.

To help distinguish themselves from American Amber Ales, some producers are now referring to their beers as Scottish Ales or Irish Reds.

Related: What Does Beer Taste Like? A Comprehensive Guide on the Flavors and Tastes of Beer

Summary

Red ales are typically amber to red-brown in color and may have a slightly roasted malt taste. Some people enjoy these beers for their malt sweetness, but the characteristic bitterness is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale.

Red ales are a variation of the Ale beer style. Amber to red-brown in color and may have a slightly roasted malt taste, the characteristic bitterness is usually not as strong as in other styles of ale but may range from moderate to high.

Red ales are popular in Ireland and Scotland with many breweries producing their own versions of this beer style. The style has developed over centuries with many small variations on the recipe, with some recipes dating back 300 years or more.

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