#Mashtag 2014 Day 2: Malt Bill & ABV

Choose the malt base for your beer...

#Mashtag 2014 Day 2: Malt Bill & ABV

We're pleased to announce we have a clear winner in round one of voting for this years #Mashtag. If you feel like providing your own drum roll, do so now.

#Mashtag 2014 Day 1: the chosen beer style is... RED ALE!


Over 1700 votes were placed by 8pm last night, with the following breakdown:

Pilsner - 20.8%
Red ale - 48.9%
Porter - 30.3%

We won't linger on this for too long, as we've still got a lot of work to do! Now three more choices present themselves (it's like one of those adventure novels). 

In case you're new to #Mashtag, here's a run-down of how it works:

Every day this week we'll post a blog at 10am. Each post will present you with three options; it's up to you to decide which one we go with. To make the decision, you can cast your vote here on the blog, on twitter, or on facebook. Here's how the week will pan out:

Monday: Beer style - red ale

Tuesday: Malt Bill & ABV

Wednesday: Hops & IBU

Thursday: Special Twist (Infused with berries? Wine barrel aged? Matured aboard an X-Wing?)

Friday: Label

Voting is open from 10am - 8pm each day, with the exception of Friday (more details will be revealed, but there's no harm in getting your artistic hats on early). Simcoe and his little helpers will tally up the votes each evening and each day we'll include the results from the day before in the blog. As we go we'll explain the ingredients and methods involved in each option, to give you the chance to make an informed opinion and give you an insight into how we come up with some of the ideas for our beer.

Day 2: Malt Bill & ABV

Your choices for the next stage are:

4% ABV Session Red Ale


Malt bill: Extra Pale, Cara, Crystal, Dark Crystal, Rye

This would be a light and spicy blend of speciality malted barley and rye. Providing ample opportunity for a range of hop options, this could become a summery session ale.

6% ABV Amber Ale


Malt bill: Extra Pale, Cara, Dark Crystal, Munich, Wheat

Bridging the low and the high ABV options is this punchy 6% ABV malt bill, providing a broad canvas for hops and twists, and utilising wheat for mouthfeel, with a touch of black malt to deepen the colour. This malt bill uses elements from UK and US amber ales.

9% ABV Imperial Red Ale


Malt bill: Extra Pale, Cara, Crystal, Dark Crystal, black malt

Weighing in at the heavier end of the spectrum is a big and bold imperial red, using copious amounts of speciality malts, which will give a luxurious body and a rich toffee sweetness.


Malt brings many things to a beer - flavour, colour, aroma, and probably the most important element: sugar, which ultimately creates the alcohol. When mixed with hot water the complex sugars in the malt are broken down and extracted into the liquid, which we then call wort.

The amount of malt we use in relation to water, ultimately determines the ABV. More malt in relation to the water = more sugar in the solution = more fermentation = higher alcohol content.


Here we have some Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Caramalt, De-husked roasted Crystal Malt and Chocolate Malt.

After the mash has converted the starch to sugars and drawn colour, flavour and aroma from the malt we gently add hot water (a process called sparging) to help flush out all this goodness and transfer the sweet solution to our kettle for boiling (more on the boiling process tomorrow).


Once again, make your choice and vote by 8pm tonight. Tomorrow, you get to choose our favourite ingredient - the hops!

Your response so far has been amazing - keep it up, and be sure to share this with your craft beer brothers- and sisters-in-arms; it's their beer too!

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Comments (28)

Money 12th March, 2014 5:16am
I Love 9% lRA!!
rbrownlie 11th March, 2014 8:32pm
tough choice between the 6% Amber and 9% Imperial
Bishop 11th March, 2014 7:49pm
I love the adventurous stuff that you do, but you cant have a few pints of most of it. Id like to see a new twist on the session ale.
HalfAnOuroboros 11th March, 2014 4:14pm
Most certainly the Session for rye.
NPA 11th March, 2014 3:49pm
brewdog already does 5 am saint, so that leaves out the amber, and theres always plenty of imperial reds to choose from on the west coast. The session will be an awesome change. Less abv, more ibu!
Andre-v8 11th March, 2014 2:08pm
9% Imperial with lots of fruit flavors, the Punk IPA is the best reference but with lots more fruits and sweet flavors.
BrewM1lls 11th March, 2014 1:12pm
Get me an Imperial Brewtrooper!! Bring this muthfuka on. Big shout out to Rosco!!
Gareth O 11th March, 2014 1:05pm
Voted for session! :D
Kirkio 11th March, 2014 1:00pm
Nice one, I was hoping Red Ale would come through. 9% Imperial hands down
Pete H., Nottm 11th March, 2014 12:54pm
4% session ale, just for the extra added rye.
Kevyg69 11th March, 2014 12:13pm
If you want a session go for the 5am saint. Imperial all the way.
Aleface 11th March, 2014 12:00pm
Go imperial or go home!
bucks 11th March, 2014 11:48am
Session all the way !
Mikeyt86 11th March, 2014 11:35am
Love a good session! See what I did there?! #Brewbants
silentdan 11th March, 2014 11:21am
9% ImperialOF COURSE!
pvives 11th March, 2014 11:13am
IMPERIAL! Of course!
Ade 11th March, 2014 10:55am
Dave Cowell 11th March, 2014 10:53am
I fucking love #MashTag. Its just such a damn good idea and makes beer even MORE fun :) This one is shaping up to be an awesome democratic brew! Big ups Brewdog. Never stop doing what you do!
AleBeHonest 11th March, 2014 10:39am
Session or Imperial? Session or Imperial? Session or Imperial? Flip a coin, tales wins. My votes in for Imperial.
Ninux 11th March, 2014 10:39am
voted session last year, but for this one : imperial !
rdoyle 11th March, 2014 10:33am
4% session for me. We need more quality down that end of the spectrum, especially heading into the summer months!
heavy metal brewer 11th March, 2014 10:29am
Has to be the imperial!
philippst 11th March, 2014 10:29am
4% Session Red Ale
Baldy Steve 11th March, 2014 10:27am
Think a session beer would be nice for a change.
rspython 11th March, 2014 10:22am
mmmmm, rye. underused in beers but always distinctive. swings it from the imperial to the session for me :)
Imperial Footsoldier 11th March, 2014 10:14am
All about the 9% ImperialConsider me voting that way
CraftBerrJunkie 11th March, 2014 10:12am
9% Imperial Red Ale
RHC 11th March, 2014 10:06am
9% Imperial please. (Says the Oskar Blues GKnight fanatic in the corner)