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Adventures in Homebrew: Rye IPA & Dark, Hoppy Rye Ale

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Adventures in Homebrew: Rye IPA & Dark, Hoppy Rye Ale

I have been swamped at work lately and, as a result, the ol’ blog has been feeling a might neglected. You’ll have to trust me that this is the lesser of two evils though. And though most of my waking hours have been spent slashing through decade-old C Basic code, I have been able to sneak in a couple brew sessions.

I’ve been on a rye kick for a while now, so when the local market ran it for $.70/lb, I picked up a sizeable amount of the spicy grain. Not surprisingly, it has since worked its way into both of my recent brews. The first is a big NW IPA, judiciously hopped with Chinook and Columbus.

Rye IPA aka Eye-P-A of the Storm

Batch Size: 5.0 gallons
Boil Volume: 6.5 gallons

4.25 lb Great Western 2-Row (34%)
4.25 lb Weyermann Pilsner (34%)
1.5 lb Great Western Organic Munich 10L (12%)
1.5 lb Flaked Rye (12%)
1.0 lb Chinese Candi Sugar (8%)

0.75 oz Chinook (10.9 AA%) @ 60
0.75 oz Columbus (14.5 AA%) @ 30
1.0 oz Chinook (10.9 AA%) @ 15
1.0 oz Columbus (14.5 AA%) @ Flame Out (steeped 30 minutes)
1.25 oz Chinook (10.9 AA%) @ Dry-hopped, 7 days in secondary
1.25 oz Columbus (14.5 AA%) @ Dry-hopped, 7 days in secondary

Wyeast 1469 – West Yorkshire Yeast

Estimated Efficiency: 70%
Estimated Attenuation 75%
Estimated OG: 1.066
Estimated FG: 1.017
Estimated ABV: 6.3%
Estimated IBU: 83
Estimated SRM: 7

Mash @ 156º(F) for 1 hour.

The Rye IPA was the fifth beer I fermented with the same culture of Wyeast 1469 (Timothy Taylor); Oatmeal Stout -> English Bitter -> English Brown -> Heather Ale -> Rye IPA. I had planned on dumping the yeast after my Heather Ale finished, but it looked so damn healthy in the bottom of the fermenter that I couldn’t help but feed one more time. Initially, this was going to be a British IPA, chock-full of Fuggles goodness. But after looking over my brew logs I realized that a straightforward American IPA had yet to grace my kettle. I went rummaging through the freezer for some big, pungent NW hops and emerged with several ounces of Chinook and Columbus.

For this beer, I made a couple adjustments to my usual brewing process. I have been having a problem with my beers all finishing very dry. This wasn’t much of an issue with my Belgian’s, but it has left my English brews feeling a little thin. In an attempt to remedy this, mash temperature has been slowly creeping up with each consecutive brew. My Heather Ale, for example, which was mashed at 155º(F) and contained around 16% caramel malts, still felt a little too light in body.

My next thought was to change my mash out procedure. During most brews, my small mash tun is nearly full. To mash out, I fill the tun to the brim with boiling water. This is usually far less that the amount required to push the temperature above 170º(F) and stop the enzymatic activity. Since I don’t start heating the wort until the sparge is complete, the collected runnings sit in the 160-164º(F) range, where activity could potentially continue. For this brew, I mashed very thick, ~.8qt/lb. This afforded me enough room in the tun to bring the mash out temperature to 172º(F) with a larger infusion of boiling water.

This seems to have down the trick. At kegging (after a 3 week primary and 1 week secondary), the gravity had stabilized at 1.016. The beer feels nicely round and has retained a subtle malty sweetness. By avoiding caramel malts entirely, the hops shine through; bright, clean and spicy. The only downside to the brew is that even at 12% of the grainbill, the rye is almost completely hidden behind the hops. So much so that I probably would not have detected it had I not knew it was there. If I were to re-brew, I would sub out the sugar for additional rye, bringing it up to 20%.

The name Eye-P-A of the Storm was coined by Jesse and is a reference to the brewday. When we started heating the strike water, the sun was out, the sky was clear and I was feeling

guilty about not mowing the lawn. By the time we were mashing in, the sky was black, the rain was coming down sideways and we were forced to construct a windbreak from spare lumber and bricks to keep the propane burner from going out. Almost as if the gods knew I had something else I was supposed to be doing.

My second rye-cipe (ahh, wordplay) was a dark, hoppy rye ale featuring the new Falconer’s Flight hop blend.

Dark Hoppy Rye Ale

Batch Size: 5.0 gallons
Boil Volume: 6.5 gallons

6.0 lb Weyermann Pilsner (60%)
2.0 lb Great Western Organic Munich 10L (20%)
1.5 lb Flaked Rye (15%)
0.5 lb Crisp Pale Chocolate (5%)

0.5 oz Falconer’s Flight (10.5 AA%) @ 60
0.5 oz Falconer’s Flight (10.5 AA%) @ 15

Wyeast 3333 – German Wheat Yeast

Estimated Efficiency: 70%
Estimated Attenuation 75%
Estimated OG: 1.051
Estimated FG: 1.013
Estimated ABV: 4.9%
Estimated IBU: 33
Estimated SRM: 14

Mash @ 149º(F) for 45 minutes.

Decoction using ~1/3 of mash volume, boil for 10 minutes.

Return Decoction to main mash to reach 172º(F) mash out.

Ferment @ 62º(F)

Originally, I had intended to use Weyermann Chocolate Rye, which the Maltster has listed at 180-300L on its website. When I arrived at the LHBS, the grain was marked at 400-500L. I felt this would be too roasty for the beer I had imagined, so I went instead with Crisp Pale Chocolate, the roasted malt with the color closest to my original recipe.

The Falconer’s Flight hop blend was also an on-the-spot substitution. Since enjoying a couple pints of Union Dew, from a firkin Ted brought down from the mountain, I’ve been set on brewing something with lemony Sorachi Ace hops. Unfortunately, none were to be had come brewday, so I reached into the depths of my memory bank and pulled out a little factoid about Falconer’s Flight. The blend contains Sorachi Ace, along with Simcoe, Citra and a slew of other recently fashionable hops. Being the closest thing at my disposal, I picked up a few ounces and continued on my deviated path.

The odd chose of yeast is yet another example of a last minute change. The beer was going to be about 40% flaked rye, with a starting gravity north of 1.070. Something like an Imperial Roggen-wit for those of you inclined to classify everything. Wyeast 3333 seemed like a great choice for such a recipe, with its restrained banana flavor and high flocculation. Too bad I forgot to pick up rice hulls, forcing me to abandon a large percentage of the flaked rye.

Despite the recipe setbacks, the brewday went great. In fact, it was the first time I’ve brewed rain-free this year. And following my “if it ain’t broke, use a bigger hammer” philosophy, I abandoned all that I learned brewing the Rye IPA, I opted for a decoction mash. Unlike a traditional decoction schedule, I used the process only to take the mash from saccrification rest to mash out. One-third of the mash was pulled after 45 minutes and quickly brought to a boil. After ten minutes, the boiling mash was returned to the tun, bringing the main mash up to 172º(F).

The decoction worked perfectly and I ended up with a full 5 gallons of 1.056 wort in the fermenter, a few points higher than anticipated. The German Wheat Yeast tore through the wort in about 4 days, taking the beer down to 1.018. This is a few points higher than expected, probably the result of too much caramelization during the decoction or too long sitting at 172º(F) while I cleaned the kettle and heated sparge water. I fermented at 62º(F), an attempt to coax out the clove flavor while keeping the banana esters in check.

The beer has been in the tank for about two week, but I haven’t quite decided what to do with it. From early samples, I’m not happy with the hops. The bitterness is quite bracing and and the hop flavor is muddled. I have a feeling I should have moved the 15 minute addition to flameout. I still have an ounce or two of the blend, so dry-hopping is an option, but I’m still vacillating over whether or not the beer can handle it. Anyone out there with experience using the blend care to chime in?

In any case, the beer will definitely be drinkable, and I’m sure the harshness will subside given time. I am planning to take another run at the recipe as initially intended. Basically, the chocolate malt will be switched to .25 lb of Chocolate Rye, the flaked rye increased to 5.75 lbs. and the hops switched for Sorachi Ace.

Cheers!
Kevin

 

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