"Red" Sour Pale Ale

>> Monday, April 12, 2021

I brewed this beer back on March 7th for a "Red Beer" Competion. Since my blog is public and I didn't want to risk prejudicing any judges, I decided to hold off on posting details for this recipe. The competition is being put on by Bewilder Brewing in association with Jamie Burnham. Jamie is a cancer survivor and a huge part of both the homebrew and commercial beer scenes here in Utah. 100% of the entry fees for this comp go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Beers are judged on creativity and the use of red ingredients.
This is a varient of my Sour Pale Ale that I brewed a few months back. The primary red color contribution is from hibiscus tea and rooibos tea. Both of these teas are said to have a delicate berry flavor and aroma. I changed the hop additions up a little bit this time to reduce bitterness and hopefully get a little more fruity berry character that should compliment the character of both teas. Here's the recipe as I brewed it:

6.0# Root Shoot Pilsner
2.0# Mecca grade La Monta
0.5# Castle Chateau Munich Malt
6oz Weyermann Carared
1g BrewTan B (mash)
0.75# Corn Sugar (Boil)
7g Ekuanot Cryo (5 min)
14g Ariana (5 min)
1.0g Loral Cryo (5 min)
6.0g Mosaic Cryo (5 min)
4.66g BCAA (5 min)
7g Ariana (0 min)
7g Amarillo Cryo (0 min)
1g Loral Cryo (0 min)
8g Ariana (Whirlpool 170F)
3.5g Mosaic Cryo (Whirlpool 170F)
3.5g Amarillo Cryo (Whirlpool 170F)
3.5g Ekuanot Cryo (Whirlpool 170F)
1g Loral Cryo (Whirlpool 170F)
28g Ariana (dry hop 8 days)
28g Citra Cryo (dry hop 8 days)
14g Mosaic Cryo (dry hop 8 days)
13.49g Philly Sour (based on 1.057 OG)
Wyeast Nutrient
Tea added at kegging (3 cups hot RO water combined with 1.5 oz hibiscus and 1.5oz Rooibos, steeped overnight in a French Press)
EDIT: I ended up adding an additional 1oz of each tea, for a total of 2.5oz of each (5oz grand total)

Mash at 152F. Ferment at 70F

Brewing Notes
No issues other than I was a little hungover from too many tiki drinks the night before. I did chill the wort more than I'd planned, down to the low 60s (F). I pitched the yeast after it had warmed up to mid-60s and I continued to warm the wort. O.G. came in at 1.057.

Update 3/10/2021
I'm not going to lie, I was starting to get a little worried with this batch after I saw zero gravity change 48 hours after pitching. I suspect this is directly related to the cooler pitch temperature. I'm glad to say this morning the gravity has dropped three points to 1.054. I have the fermentation temp set to 72F rather than the planned 70F, and I'll probably hold it there due to the sluggish start.

Update 3/11/2021
Gravity is down to 1.047 this morning. I probably won't take a pH reading until I'm ready to keg this beer.

Update 3/12/2021
Gravity is reading 1.031 this morning. I'm not convinced this is 100% accurate because the more active the fermentation, the more the Tilt tends to wobble. Regardless, things are looking pretty good.

Update 3/13/2021
Gravity is reading 1.024 this morning.

Update 3/14/2021
Gravity is reading 1.011 today. Fermentation is still fairly active today with a fairly regular "glug" about every 20-ish seconds. I went ahead and added the dry hops today.

Update 3/19/2021
I pulled a sample this morning and I really like the reduced bitterness from changing up the hop schedule. I didn't take a pH reading, but the perceived sourness doesn't seem to be as intense as the first time using this yeast. That could be related to the cooler pitching temps as the bulk of the lactic acid production happens at the beginning of fermentation. It's definitely still sour though, and it will also pick up some acidity from the rooibos tea. Corrected gravity reading is 1.006 and it tastes and smells great, so I'm going to start cold crashing today.

Update 3/23/2021
I'm preparing the tea today with plans to keg tomorrow. I'm going with 3 cups of hot RO water over 1.5oz of each (rooibos and hibiscus) in a French press. This will be added to the keg with finings, then the beer transferred in top of it. If I need more color, I'll dose as needed with additional tea.

Update 3/24/2021
I decided the color was a little on the light side, so I mixed up another batch of tea using 1oz each of hibiscus and rooibos with 2 cups of hot RO water.

Update 3/28/2021
Competition entries were bottled today. I thought it turned out well, but I'd probably tweak a few things if I were to do it again. First, I'd pitch at 70F or even a little warmer to try to maximize lactic acid production. Second, I think I'd try pairing this with some fruit (blueberries perhaps?) to bring out more berry character
. That said, I think it turned out well enough to enter it in NHC. I doubt it'll medal, but I think it's interesting and worth submitting. It carbed up and cleared nicely. It's not quite the blood red color I was hoping for, but it's definitely red. Hop flavor and aroma are really nice. Sourness is much more restrained compared to most of my sours, so I'm interested to see how it does in competition. The hops aren't quite as berry-like as I'd hoped, but I think the acidity, hops, plus mild berry character of the teas work well together. Overall it's a very approachable sour and an easy to drinking beer that fits in with the warmer Spring weather.

Update 4/12/2021
I'm publishing this post today. This beer didn't end up medaling in the Red Beer Competition. I'm not sure whether or not we'll get the regular AHA/BJCP scoresheets since it wasn't a typical homebrew comp...I hope so because I'd love to get some feedback and see if my thoughts align with the judges'.