Brewing an Irish Red

My friend Michael does a big Oktoberfest celebration every year, complete with lots of wurst and beer. In the past I’ve contributed a keg to his parties, but I hadn’t done that in quite a few years. This year I decided to step up again, and offer to help, by contributing to one of this taps. After talking about what styles he needed, we settled on an Irish Red. I’ve found that having a purpose to brew, besides competitions, really helps me to get more motivated to brew. I was actually very excited to get this batch going.

My original plan was to brew on Sunday morning, but Saturday was a rainy morning, and felt like a better day to sit in the garage with boiling water for a few hours. Since I’ve brewed so infrequently, and I wanted to make sure this beer turned out well, I stuck with an extract wort. It makes the brew day go faster, and really ensures that you’re starting your boil without any major issues.

I’ve taken to naming my beers for areas of the Twin Cities, and this beer will be known as Swity’s Felyn Irish Red. Edward Felyn was one of the earlier settlers of Saint Paul, and as such there are places named for him. As with many immigrants, their names came to be spelled differently in the new world, so the name probably doesn’t look familiar to most people. But when you say it out loud you realize what part of Saint Paul currently bears his name. Specifically, Lake Phalen in east Saint Paul near where I grew up.

Edward Felyn wasn’t a great guy, and was acquitted of murder at one point in his life before fleeing to California to avoid prosecution of other crimes. On the way his companions killed him in what they claim was self-defense. He was truly a character that fit into the wild west of early American expansion.

The ale I’m brewing is a straight up Irish Red, hopped with Fuggles. I’m using Maris Otter extract to give it more of a European malt character, but overall it doesn’t stray from a traditional Irish Red. As I write this I am in the middle of the boil, and everything is going well. I have soothing music coming out of my laptop, with a steaming pot of wort in front of me. It’s a peaceful way to spend a Saturday.

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