Mars: The Bringer of War Brew Day

Yes, I have had a pint of the Bell’s beer with the same name. I thought it was good. I didn’t think theirs was very red, though. 

Wanting to make my own Red IPA, I chose to do a single malt beer with the reddest malt I could find, Red X. It wasn’t available locally, (the homebrew shop doesn’t have the ability to get it for some reason). I bought 5 lbs of it from Austin Homebrew online, and decided to give this recipe a whirl.




Method Style Boil Size Batch Size Efficiency
All Grain Red IPA 3 gal 2.5 gal 70% Target


OG FG ABV (alternate) IBU (tinseth) SRM
16.6º P 3.3º P 7.5% ABV Shut up 13.32

Target Water profile:

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
100+ 5 10 50 200

I originally was going to go with the Mosher Ideal Pale profile of 275:50 SO4:Cl, but I decided I’d just take my jucebier profile and flip the SO4:Cl ratio. 

The main issue I ran into making this water profile was that the malt, being Lovibond 12, and all of the Calcium Sulfate and Calcium Chloride additions, the mash pH would be significantly too low. I did a bit of research and settled on Calcium Hydroxide (Slaked Lime/Pickling Lime) as the best pH buffer, instead of Baking Soda.

DI Water additions

Gypsum 4.3g
Epsom 0.7g
Sea Salt 0.35g
Calcium Chloride 0.95g
Calcium Hydroxide 1.25g
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
146 5.2 10.4 50.6 201.7

Estimated mash pH: 5.3


5 lbs Best Malz Red X
12 oz Dextrose
100 g DME Pilsen (starter)

Hop Schedule

.75 oz Warrior (16.8% AA) Mash/Sparge 20.35 IBUs or whatever
.25 oz Warrior (16.8% AA) Boil 60 minutes 30.94 IBUs
1 oz Amarillo (10.3% AA) Whirlpool 20 min
1 oz Mosaic (10.9% AA) Whirlpool 20 min
1 oz Amarillo (10.3% AA) Dry Hop 4 days
1 oz Mosaic (10.9% AA) Dry Hop 4 days
1 oz Amarillo (10.3% AA) Dry Hop 2 days
1 oz Mosaic (10.9% AA) Dry Hop 2 days

I only wanted .25oz of Warrior for bittering, so trying to not be wasteful, I thought i’d add the rest of the Warrior on top of the grain bed when I sparge. It ought to contribute a little bit of hoppiness, time will tell.  


WLP090 San Diego Super, typically the homebrew shop never carries San Diego Super, but it was available there, so I jumped on it for this beer. 

As usual, I made a starter with the yeast on 100g of Pilsen DME and 1 liter of water the night before brew day.


Brew Day

I woke up Wednesday morning to the sight of fermenting starter.


I sanitized all my equipment, and then weighed out my minerals. I pour the minerals straight into the  into the kettle, and then dilute with my mash water, in this case 7 quarts of DI water…

Based on my last brew session, I’m calculating that I’ll need 14 quarts of water for this. And I’ve decided to just split mash and sparge right down the middle. 

I began heating my GigaWort to the Brewer’s Friend prescription of 167ºF.


When the water reached temp, I opened the valve and let it pour into the igloo mash tun. Grains went in with a good stir, then the thermometer, and finally the lid.


After about 10 minutes, I checked the temp and was sitting perfectly at 152ºF.


I’m planning to mash for 90 minutes, depending on how impatient I am. 

After an 89 minute mash, I checked the temp, and the mash had cooled to about 143ºF.


I drew off about a quart of wort, and poured it back over the grain bed. I repeated this about 3 more times.



This wort smells eerily similar to Munich malt. And it tastes a lot like Munich malt also. Hmm. 

I then began lautering the wort into a kettle, added the .75oz of Warrior hops to the top of the grain bed,



and began pulse sparging with my sparge assembly. 7 quarts total was sparged through the grains, with the mash tun valve just cracked open.


Turns out that 7 quarts of sparge wasn’t quite enough. I’m wondering if it was either a stuck sparge, or my lack of false bottom, but the mash tun puttered out at about 11 quarts or so. I needed a little bit of bag squeezing to collect the rest of my volume, which I did no problem. I got a gravity reading at this point; 11.3ºP


I added in 12 oz of dextrose, stirred well, and grabbed my pre-boil gravity reading; 13.8ºP. 


I tossed in the .25oz of Warrior hops, (easier to do a First Wort addition, it probably won’t make much of a difference), and fired the kettle up to boiling temps.


After the hour long boil, I killed the heat, started stirring the kettle, and tossed in my whirlpool additions. These are going to stir for 20 minutes. 

After the whirlpool, I opened the ball valve,


and transferred the wort into a separate kettle lined with a nylon bag for filtration, and placed that kettle into an ice bath.


Here’s a closer look at the color


I cooled the wort down in an ice bath, and when it reached 70ºF, I took a gravity reading of 17.8ºP

I poured the wort into the fermenter,


and then pitched my 1 liter starter. Looks like a got a little bit more than usual, should be OK. 


One last gravity reading on the day reads out just at 17ºP.

I carried the carboy into my fermentation chamber, where it will ferment somewhere around 80ºF for the next 7-10 days. Unfortunately my house is bit too cold. There isn’t enough warmth to help buffer the beer back up, so I’m going to ferment on the warm side.  


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