A Beer to be named later…

After a confusing and draining weekend, I finally get around to writing up the latest brew.  I had it in mind to make a rye beer, and wanted to use up some of my 2009 crop of homegrown whole hops. Then I was given a sample of some whole Nugget hops by Freshhops (from whom I ordered hop rhizomes for the Market) and decided to use them as well – so many hops, so little time… I ended up designing what I thought would be an IPA, with rye malt. So a Rye-P-A, right? Then I found I still had some chocolate rye malt… throw that in too, for color, sure, OK… but then… it ended up almost Porter-like in color, not at all an IPA profile anymore… a Rye Porter? Maybe… In the end I decided not to call it anything yet, but to wait and see how it comes out, what it tastes like when finished, etc. Maybe I’ll let the readers of this blog suggest names…

“Dark Rye Hoppy Ale”, for lack of a better name…
5 gallons, all grain


  • 7 lbs. pale malt
  • 1-1/2 lbs. rye malt
  • 1 lb. chocolate rye malt
  • 1-1/2 lbs. 20°L crystal malt
  • 1 oz. HG Cluster hops (90)
  • 1 oz. HG Chinook hops (45)
  • 1 oz. Nugget hops at 12.5% aa (ko)
  • White Labs California Ale Yeast (WLP001)
  • 2/3 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 165°F.  Add grains to mash liquor, hold at 154°F for 90 minutes. Heat 15 quarts water to 170°F, begin runoff and sparge grains, collecting 6.5 gallons of sweet wort. Bring to boil, add Cluster hops, boil 45 minutes, Add Chinook hops, boil another 45 minutes (90 total), turn off heat. Remove Cluster and Chinook, add Nugget hops. After 5 minutes, remove Nugget hops and chill to 80°F. Take a hydrometer reading and pour the wort into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment at 65°F for 7 – 10 days. Rack to secondary, age cooler (50 – 55°F) for 10 – 14 days. Prime and bottle, age 10 – 14 days cool.

OG: 1066
IBU’s: as always, with my homegrown hops, I have no idea…

Notes on style:
Rye is tricky to brew with, for a couple of reasons. It doesn’t have enough of the right enzymes to be used as the sole grain in a mash, or at least not easily, so it generally needs to be used with barley and/or wheat. It also is a smaller grain, so needs to be cracked/crushed more carefully – too much flour or too many uncracked grains will both affect the consistency of the mash, thereby changing the way the whole thing either sets or doesn’t…
There are couple of traditional rye beers, one in Germany (Roggenbier) and one in the Baltic states (Finland and Estonia notably) called Sahti – which is brewed with Juniper berries and filtered/lautered through Juniper branches…

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