Article

Stone Brewing Co.

Dear Replicator,
My wife and I went to Las Vegas, Nevada to visit her brother a few years ago. While waiting on our wives to finish one of their shopping sprees, my brother-in-law and I ducked into the nearest bar. On tap was Stone Brewing Co.’s Pataskala Red X IPA. One sip and I was hooked: Big hop nose with a caramel malt backbone to help support all those hops. But due to some work being done on our home, my brewery was out of service for an extended period. Now I’m ready to brew again and I’d like to share this seasonal brew from Stone with all my friends. Please help with a clone recipe.

Rob Sturgill
Williamsport, Pennsylvania

What does a small town in central Ohio have in common with one of America’s biggest and most successful craft breweries? The answer is Greg Koch. Based out of Escondido, California, Stone Brewing Co. is currently listed as the ninth largest craft brewery in the United States. Its co-founder and craft beer pioneer, Greg Koch, came from a modest upbringing in rural Pataskala, Ohio, a town located about 30 miles east of the capital city of Columbus. As a former high school band member in Pataskala, Koch was involved with music long before beer became his calling card.

In 2015, the town was trying to pass a school levy to save extracurricular activities, including band. One enterprising student had an idea and wrote a letter to Koch at Stone Brewing Co. The letter asked Koch if there might be something he could do to influence a positive outcome for the upcoming levy vote. Remembering his days as a band student at the local public high school, Koch made a promise that his company would brew a beer dedicated to the citizens of Pataskala . . . if they would pass the levy. The promise also stipulated that 100% of the profits would go directly to the school’s extracurricular programs. To make a longer story shorter, the levy passed, the beer was brewed, and the extracurricular activities
were saved.

But there was more to this story, especially when it came to those who take an interest in beer and the brewing processes. A new, somewhat revolutionary malt played a key role in ensuring this story’s happy ending.
Stone’s brewmaster at the time, Mitch Steele, had just heard about a brand new malt from the German maltsters BestMalz called Red X®. With a diastatic power of over 200 °Lintner, (35 °L is the bare minimum for a base malt to be considered “self-converting”) this malt could be used as 100% of a beer’s grist. The malt’s claim to fame was that it could deliver a bright red hue that was appealing, hard to achieve otherwise, and somewhat unusual.

For years, brewers seeking to craft a red-hued beer often struggled to find the right combination of malts that would deliver the desired color without ending up with a cloyingly sweet beer. BestMalz claimed that Red X® would deliver both the beautiful red hue and the rich malty character sought after by brewers without the heavily sweet character. In the eternal words of Van Halen, the best of both worlds. Under Steele’s guidance, one of Stone’s brewers, Kris Ketcham, took the lead on developing the recipe that was to eventually become Pataskala Red X IPA. It was a fairly straightforward process and malt bill considering that Red X® is the only malt used in the beer.

The real complexity of what Kris came up with was found in the hopping schedule, which includes a heavy dry-hopping schedule with Mosaic®, Cascade, and Amarillo® hops. The result was a noticeably citrus-forward aroma/flavor combination, rounded out with notes of biscuit and toffee on the palate derived from the Red X® malt. Pataskala Red X IPA was unlike anything on the market at the time . . . and still a rarity for that matter.

The beer’s deep crimson color and brilliant clarity is an instant conversation starter. Tiny, off-white bubbles provide a creamy mouthfeel due to the generous helping of hops throughout the brewing process. Astringency-free, the beer finishes crisp, as one would expect from a 75 IBU IPA. An excellent palate cleanser, Pataskala Red X IPA pairs well with red meat of any kind, spicy food like Thai or Mexican, or with deep fried delicacies. It is recommended to serve the beer at 38 °F (3 °C), preferably in a nonic glass, that will help preserve the beer’s dominant citrus hop notes.

Pataskala Red X IPA was intended to be a “one-off” to help the folks in Koch’s original hometown . . . but what followed was an overwhelming response for more. The beer was added to the seasonal lineup for a period of time, and is currently being reborn to reappear in the Stone Classics series, the brewery’s rotating series of Stone Brewing Co.’s classic beers.

The key to replicating a beer of this nature is to use the freshest hops possible and, as always with hop-forward beers, minimizing oxygen uptake during dry-hopping, transferring, and packaging processes. With five ounces (142 g) of dry hops and another four ounces (113 g) added during the brewing process, the hops are every bit as important as the integral BestMalz Red X® malt to brew this beer correctly. Prost!

Stone Brewing Co.’s Pataskala Red X IPA clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.068 FG = 1.012
IBU = 74 SRM = 15 ABV = 7.3%

Ingredients
15 lbs. (6.8 kg) BestMalz Red X® malt
8.3 AAU Magnum hops (first wort hop) (0.65 oz./18 g at 12.7% alpha acids)
15.4 AAU Mosaic® hops (15 min.) (1.28 oz./36 g at 12% alpha acids)
4.3 AAU Cascade hops (15 min.) (0.65 oz./18 g at 6.6% alpha acids)
15.4 AAU Mosaic® hops (0 min.) (1.28 oz./36 g at 12% alpha acids)
4.3 AAU Cascade hops (0 min.) (0.65 oz./18 g at 6.6% alpha acids)
5.2 AAU Amarillo® hops (0 min.) (0.65 oz./18 g at 8.0% alpha acids)
2.56 oz. (73 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
1.28 oz. (36 g) Amarillo® hops (dry hop)
1.28 oz. (36 g) Cascade hops (dry hop)
White Labs WLP007 (Dry English Ale), Wyeast 1098 (British Ale), or LalBrew Nottingham yeast
¾ cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Using 0.9 qts. of water per pound of grain (2 L/kg), mash in at 148 °F (64 °C), rest for 60 minutes or until conversion has been achieved. Increase temperature to 165 °F (74 °C) for 5 minutes to halt the conversion process. Considering the thick mash, you can achieve this by infusing boiling water.

Recirculate your wort for 10–15 minutes or until clear. Begin your lautering process as you sparge to collect 6.5 gallons (24.5 L) while adding your first wort hop addition. Boil for 60 minutes and add the suggested hops during the last 15 minutes and at the end of the boil. Yeast nutrients and a kettle fining such as Irish moss or Whirlfloc can be added too. After the boil, give the wort a long stir to create a whirlpool, then let settle for 15 minutes.

Chill wort rapidly to 68 °F (20 °C), pitch your yeast and oxygenate. Ferment at 72 °F (22 °C) until final gravity is reached and clear of diacetyl (10 to 14 days is standard). Remove from yeast and add your dry hop additions to the fermenter. Let sit for 3 days. Chill the beer then rack into kegs and carbonate to 2.4 to 2.5 volumes or a touch higher if you intend to hand bottle from the keg. Otherwise, prime and bottle condition.

Stone Brewing Co.’s Pataskala Red X IPA clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.068 FG = 1.012
IBU = 74 SRM = 15 ABV = 7.3%

While it may be hard to mimic the color and character of Pataskala Red X without a majority BestMalz Red X® base malt, we can try to mimic the color and toasted character with some playful substitutions. If you can utilize a partial mash in your setup, then go with as much Red X® as you can while proportionally cutting back on the Munich extract and Carafa® malt.

Ingredients
3 lbs. (1.36 kg) extra light dried malt extract
3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) Munich dried malt extract
3 oz. (85 g) Carafa® Special III malt
8.3 AAU Magnum hops (first wort hop) (0.65 oz./18 g at 12.7% alpha acids)
15.4 AAU Mosaic® hops (15 min.) (1.28 oz./36 g at 12% alpha acids)
4.3 AAU Cascade hops (15 min.) (0.65 oz./18 g at 6.6% alpha acids)
15.4 AAU Mosaic® hops (0 min.) (1.28 oz./36 g at 12% alpha acids)
4.3 AAU Cascade hops (0 min.) (0.65 oz./18 g at 6.6% alpha acids)
5.2 AAU Amarillo® hops (0 min.) (0.65 oz./18 g at 8.0% alpha acids)
2.56 oz. (73 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
1.28 oz. (36 g) Amarillo® hops (dry hop)
1.28 oz. (36 g) Cascade hops (dry hop)
White Labs WLP007 (Dry English Ale), Wyeast 1098 (British Ale), or LalBrew Nottingham yeast
¾ cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Heat 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water, adding the Carafa® Special malt in a muslin bag and submerge while the water heats up. Once the temperature reaches about 165 °F (74 °C) remove the grains, giving a gentle squeeze to the bag.

Increase temperature to near-boiling before turning off heat and adding the malt extract plus another gallon (3.8 L) of water. Stir continuously until all extract is dissolved. Put the pot back on heat, add the first wort hops, then raise to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes and add the suggested hops during the last 15 minutes and at the end of the boil. After the boil, give the wort a long stir to create a whirlpool, then let settle for 15 minutes.

Chill wort rapidly to 68 °F (20 °C). Add water to achieve a total fermenter volume of 5.5 gallons (20.82 L). Follow the all-grain recipe for fermentation and packaging instructions.

Tips For Success:
Since Red X® is such a unique malt and doesn’t have a true extract equivalent, brewing this beer all-grain is the ideal way to go. However, for those who haven’t gone to all-grain brewing or don’t have the space to do so, the extract recipe will give you a pretty great IPA that will be similar in color, even if it may lack some of the brightness and malt character of the all-grain version. Whatever you do, seek out this specific grain and do not substitute for something “similar” because nothing on the market will get you close enough to the character that Red X® provides . . . at least at this time.

Issue: March-April 2021