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I have the following grains available and was wondering what would be the general idea of doing my own recipe.

  • 0.5kg Amber Malt
  • 0.5kg Maris Otter
  • 0.5kg Halcyon
  • 1kg Pale Malt
  • 1kg Caramel Dark
  • 3kg Red-x
  • 1kg Black Malt
  • 1kg Brewing Sugars (dextrose)

I would like to do some sort of red tinted beer but I fear that I don't have enough of the Red-X grains. My fermenter can handle 20 liters. That is the amount of wort I'm aiming for.

Also is the brewing sugars necessary? What would one kg brewing sugars do to a 20 liter batch of wort? Is the sugars a good idea?

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You do have enough Red-X. Especially with added caramel, it tends to bring some reddish hues. Carered would be best for this, but all caramel can help.

Get your tools

For recipe formulation, I really like Brewtarget. It's free, and it lets you see for yourself answers to questions like:

What would one kg brewing sugars do to a 20 liter batch of wort?

Also, it lets you select style you like, read about it, and formulate recipe that will at least keep main parameters of that style.

Malts you have that are good for reddish ale:

  • Maris Otter - no colour to speak of, but solid base malt.
  • Pale - looks like some generic base malt, again no colour contribution to praise or worry about. Sugar source.
  • Amber - between base malt and red, will not hurt.
  • Caramel Dark - Try to steep a bit of it in cold water and see colour. If it's reddish, as I expect it to be, it's good. If it's brown, don't use it for red ales.

Malts you have I would not use:

  • Fawcett Halcyon Pale Malt - floor malting tends to give more browns than reds as far as I know. I might be wrong, maybe there was other factors, but I wouldn't waste it on this recipe.
  • Brewing Sugars - You have enough sugar in your malt. Leave this for priming
  • Black Malt - roasted malt tends to get brown. Roasted unmalted barley brings reds.

What I would do:

I would aim for red variation about Best/Premium Bitter style. Grain bill:

  • Red-X 3kg
  • Pale 1kg
  • Maris Otter 0,5kg
  • Caramel 250g

You would get red / copper colour, 1.050 OG (depending on your mash efficiency), good base for English hops if my guess is accurate.About 4.5% ABV, good for easy drinking. Not in style (nothing with malt as modern as Red X can be), but close to.

Here is Brewtarget file for this.


Adding sugar in anything but Belgian styles is not a good idea. Unless, for some reason, you want to replicate style that allowed sugar usage - but if you do, you don't have to ask.

Keep it for priming, there it's pretty good.

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    "Adding sugar in anything but Belgian styles is not a good idea." Where does this come from. Many English style traditionally used sugars. And there is nothing wrong with using sugars to make a higher gravity beer, nor is there nothing wrong with using sugars to dry out a beer. Sugars are a tool just like the rest of the ingredients. That was a long post to sort of drop the ball at the goal line. – brewchez Jun 7 '16 at 10:29
  • @brewchez have you read any further than the quote? Especially part Unless, for some reason, you want to replicate style that allowed sugar usage. Because your comment about English styles indicate you commented without reading that. – Mołot Jun 7 '16 at 10:30
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    I read the whole comment. That first part is just too absolute even when followed with... 'well its OK sometimes'. Which you final comment suggests about not having to ask. – brewchez Jun 7 '16 at 10:49

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