This beer was another one that was supposed to be brewed just once, but in addition to rounding out our offering, people really like it. Some of our regulars rarely try anything else as this is now their go-to beer.
The idea for this beer came from two different directions and sort of…merged. I was getting quite a few request to make a “red ale.” On the other hand, I wanted to make a beer that would slightly cannibalize the IPA sales so I wouldn’t run the risk of running out. So I toyed with the idea to make a sister IPA, like an English-style to contrast our American-style. I wasn’t certain that it was a good move, so I instead thought of doing a Double IPA (more hops and more alcohol, but not exactly double everything). Then I remembered having a double red in the Midwest a few years back. It was malty like a red, but hoppy like an IPA and it had a whole lot of alcohol.
So I designed a few recipes and was going to brew a small pilot batch and put it on the Haunted Series for a test run. The working title at the time was Doble Rojo (“doh-blay roh-ho” or literally “Double Red” in Spanish). I never got around to making a pilot batch, it was probably on the back burner for 6 months before I needed to relieve the sales of the Himalayan IPA, so I designed a 3.5bbl batch and took a chance to brew without a test batch. It turned out to be 10.0%, dark red and very hoppy (twice the hops as the Himalayan IPA) People thought the first batch was good, but had a very artificial cinnamon character suspected from the Zythos hops. The name for the beer came from my good buddy J. Wilson who writes the Brewvana.net beer blog and was named 2012 Beer Drinker of the Year by Wynkoop Brewing.
After releasing this beer, I discovered Pizza Port’s Shark Attack two days later. If I was trying to clone a beer, I inadvertently did. Then just last week I had an Oskar Blues' G’Knight which tastes very similar to the WCG as well, oops another accidental clone. Shortly after I released my double red, Wynkoop released a Double red too called “Colorojo.” (good thing I didn’t name mine Doble Rojo!)
The second batch that I brewed I scaled up to 5.5bbl because 3.5bbl is almost impossible to boil in my steam jacketed kettle, (the side steam-jackets are too high for the wort and it takes longer to boil 3.5 than it would 5.5bbl when only using the bottom jacket). The hops and the hopping schedule was the biggest recipe difference as I replaced the Zythos with Centennial, which is one of my favorite hops (calculated to be 150IBU’s but nobody thinks over 100IBU’s is actually possible) The other change was targeting the beer to be less big at 9.0% but my efficiencies were higher than I expected and it came in at 9.6% ABV. The beer turned out to be a great blend of malt, hops and alcohol so I haven’t changed it since. Due to the high alcohol content we serve this responsibly in 10oz Belgian glassware.
This beer is rapidly becoming very popular and is also a favorite at Hops & Pie, when available on tap. If you haven’t had a pint for awhile, check it out and maybe you’ll appreciate the beer a little more knowing what’s Behind the Beer.