Red X is a selection of many malts together in a blend which gives excellent bright red beers which can be quite stunning visually, but there’s a few things to keep in mind.
During our initial trials with Red X, we did a few intensely bright red beers, though they failed to attenuate fully. In those trials, we'd done a single infusion with no mash out and a 2 step infusion with mashout. We also did a triple decoction in a moment of insanity.
To get a good, fermentable wort which has the bright red character, a single step infusion mash just doesn’t cut it.
For best results, Mash in at 52-53 Deg C and hold for 30 Minutes, Step to 64/65 Degrees C and hold for 30 minutes, then step to 72 Deg C and hold for 30 minutes. Raise to mash-out and hold for 10 minutes, while recirculating and then sparge with hot water for a run-off temp of 75/76. That means you’ll need to sparge up around 80 Deg C. Allowing a decent protein rest, followed by Beta Amylayse and Alpha Amylase rests ensured sufficient enzyme activity in the right areas to end up with a good, bright and fermentable wort.
When looking for that stunning bright red colour, it is all about clean/crystal clear wort.
Here’s what I’ve been playing with:
Mash as above, adding 4g Calcium Sulphate, 2g Calcium Chloride and 2g Magnesium Sulphate before mash in. This assures you get the pH in the correct range and provides the all important calcium and sulphate levels for clarity and hardness. (applies to our local water - will be different in different areas) The little bit of Chloride helps with the malt body and balance. Add a small amount of a good quality complete yeast nutrient at 1 Minute before power off.
Use a kettle fining. For using Red X, we're aiming for the clearest possible wort to start with, so I use Polyclar Brew Bright at 0 Minutes. (wait till you see the cold break form) Chill as quickly as possible and then rack to a sanitised clearing cube. The clearing cube is then placed in a fridge at 0-1 deg C. That will ensure that all the trub/break material settles fairly tightly down the bottom of the cube. After 24 hrs, I rack to the fermenter and ferment the now very clear wort.
For lagers, I tend to go straight to a 20-25g dose of MJ Bohemian Lager Yeast and ferment at 10 Degrees C until gravity reaches around 1.020. Once it’s at that point, I start ramping the temperature each day by 2-3 degrees C. Until it hits 17/18 Degrees C and hold it there until gravity is stable for 3 readings, 24 hrs apart.
At that point, rack the beer across to another vessel, leaving all the settled yeast behind. Dry Hop and slowly bring the temp down again. It can sit on the dry hops for a several weeks at very low temperatures. Lager (cold store) the brew for 8 weeks for best results. I lager at -1 – 2 Degrees for 8 weeks.
Recipe Notes: Aim for a 1.051 OG up to 1.056 using 100% Red X on a very bright and clear wort. If aiming for a higher gravity wort, use a bit of Pilsner Malt and if aiming for a lower gravity, use a bit more Melanoidin Malt.
90 Minute Boil Time
Aim for a starting gravity of 1.051-1.056 OG
Try Pacific Gem for bittering to 18 -20 IBU @ 60 Minutes.
10g each Cascade and Nelson Sauvin at 10 Minutes and again at 0 Minutes
Another winner is 10g each Amarillo and Cascade at 10 Minutes and again at 0 Minutes
Yet another is Motueka as a late addition and again as a dry hop
Dry hop at 1g/L in both cases.
Special thanks goes to Thomas Schumacher at Best Malz Brewery in Germany for clarifying and assisting with technical information while we played with Red X.