Back in the middle of November I brewed an amber ale called Red Hopper (recipe here). This beer was born out of a discussion I had with The Beernut in relation to my opinion that the majority of Irish red ales were bland and uninteresting. I argued that in order for a red ale to be enjoyable it needed to have the characteristics of both an Irish red ale and an American amber. The red ale would provide the malty platform on which the ambers characteristically citrussy hops would sit. In researching a beer like this I came across Randy Mosher's recipe for India Red Ale in his excellent book, Radical Brewing. Having tweaked the recipe a little bit I was satisfied that it would deliver what I was looking for, a heavy malty beer balanced with a nice cirtus hop aroma and flavour.
Red Hopper - one of, if not the best, beer I have brewed.
Well I am happy to say that I got exactly what I wanted from this beer. The beer pours a lovely blood red colour, nice clarity, with a thick creamy off-white head. The aroma is dominated by the American citrus hops (Cascades, Cascades and more Cascades) with a nice hint of the late addition Goldings. The mouthfeel is lovely, medium bodied with a nice low level of carbonation. This is a very hop forward beer, but this works as there is a strong malt base to back it up. The flavours you get are a hop focussed first hit with a nice caramel and toffee flavour in the middle, followed by a subtle but firm bitterness. This is exactly what I was looking for, and certainly one of, if not the best beer, I have brewed.