Tag Archives: rye

Sorachi Ace Rye

I had read about a rye ale that used Sorachi Ace hops to give it a lemony quality, complimenting the rye and I thought: I can do that! I have made rye ales before and they’ve been pretty good. All I need to do is add in some Sorachi Ace hops and bingo! Right?

Not exactly. What I didn’t take into consideration was how subtle SA hops are. I should have hopped this more like an IPA, in order to get the effect I was looking for.

Instead, what I got is as solid beer with a heavy rye presence and maybe just a touch of the roasted quality you might find in a good Scotch ale. What there isn’t, however, is much-if any-of the qualities of the hops.

There’s nothing wrong with this beer at all…so long as you don’t know that I was trying to add in the Sorachi Ace qualities. I think I’d like to take another swing at this beer, because all the groundwork is done: it’s as good beer at base. That it didn’t come out the way I hoped is a positive sign for me and my work as a brewer, because this beer isn’t flawed, it’s just not what I hoped for.

I seem to be doing more beers like this, lately: they aren’t flawed, they just miss my mental target. I can build on that.

Brew Date: 12.8.13

Steeping Grains
3 lb 2 Row
2 lb C80
1 lb Crystal Rye

Fermentables: 3 lb LME

1/8th oz Cascade in preboil
1 oz Sorachi Ace @ 60
.5 oz Sorachi Ace @ 20
.5 oz Sorachi Ace @ 5

Yeast: Wyeast 1272 American II

OG: 1.054

FG: 1.016

Put into secondary on 12.18
Bottled 12.22

ABV: 5.14%

Amber Rye

I didn’t quite get what I wanted out of this one, but that’s OK.

Not that long ago at an OBC meeting, I overheard someone say: “If you really want to know if you like rye beer, then you need to just go all in and make a beer with nothing but rye.”

And I thought: I should do that. Of course, I didn’t quite do that because I didn’t want to go crazy. But I did try and build something that was pretty heavy on the rye while following an amber recipe, because I felt that ambers allow for a malt-forward style and if I want to know about rye malt, that’s the kind of style I ought to do.

And this is a pretty solid beer. It has a caramel tint to the head, a nice malt flavor, with a soft grapefruit nose and a dryness to the finish that tilts towards something a little odd, like white wine with a little earthliness to it. Dirt, maybe? But not in a -ptew- way. It’s quite distinct, however, in a way that rye malt would bring to a beer and is the point, of course. One odd thing: the ABV seems off. It just can’t be right but without more sophisticated equipment, I don’t think there’s anything I can say about it, except that I may have mis-recorded my data.

After this, I don’t know that I’m willing to gamble on going all in on rye malt. I might consider more than this, something that really forces the issue but as it stands I can taste the rye and while I like it, I get that it’s not for everyone.

Brew date: 2.24.13

Steeping malts:
1lb Rye
.5 lb 2rod
.25 C120

7lb LME
1lb dry malt

.25 Fuggles + .25 Mosaic @ 60
3/8th oz Fuggles @ 30 + .5oz Mosaic @30
7/8th oz mystery tea mixture @3 min

Yeast: Reuse WLP104 3rd time-done

OG: 1.079

FG: 1.012

ABV: 9.07%

Put int secondary 3.16
Bottle 3.3o

I bought this III

Sierra Nevada Ruthless RyeThis time, I’m trying Sierra Nevada‘s Ruthless Rye, which has a lovely peppery nose, and then resembles a fine IPA afterward. They claim citrus on the back end and I’m not sure I pick that up. Hop bitterness, for sure and I guess that since it’s not piney that citrus is the default. The rye might be contributing to that flavor though, because there’s definitely a dryness to this beer, not unlike white wine. So maybe I’m reverting to my muscle memory of what this resembles, instead of what is is? Hard to say.

It doesn’t quite have enough malt backbone. The rye is there but the hops jumps into the fray so quickly that there really isn’t enough time for the malts to establish themselves and present a counterweight to the bitterness. A pretty good beer, one I wouldn’t reject but not one I’d race out to get, either.

If it’s on sale though? Go to town.

Strong Rye

strong ryeI have made this and it is good. I was a little concerned when bottling it because when I tasted the remnants, there was a a heavy caramel then grapefruit flavor and my initial thought was: that doesn’t work.

Remnants are only semi-useful when predicting a beer though; they’re too warm, non-carbonated and frequently have a bit of yeast and malt sludge mixed in due to the fact that the brew has been handled a bit before bottling. As a result I try not to get entrenched in an idea about a brew and take that initial sampling as more of a: what might this be like?

The most relevant thing about the beer now is that the grapefruit and caramel switched places. I know how that sounds but nevertheless, now the beer has grapefruit notes, then caramel and it makes a world of difference when talking about the drinkable qualities of the ale.  There isn’t much of a hop nose on this beer, so I’m taking that as a lesson that some hops are better as bittering agents.

Let’s get to the recipe, shall we?

Brew Date: 6.29.11

Steeping malts:
1.25 lb C40
.25 lb Rye

7 lb LME
1 lb dry malt extract

1 oz Citra (already used in dry hopping IPA) @ 60
.5 oz N Brewer @60
1 oz Ahtanum @ 15

Reused-WLP008, 3rd use

ABV: 6.51%

2ndary on 7.25

According to my notes, I had to add quite a bit of water to this one, once I put it in the carboy. Seems like a lot of water got lost between the kettle and the carboy and adding some water is standard but I recall having to put in quite a bit, maybe even two gallons’ worth!

Still, all’s well that ends well.

Whatever You Say #23

The Lucky Lab smells like carmel corn when I walk in. It has a whole carnival element to it too; not a single stable table in the place, wood floors beat to shit by decades of warehouse use, groups gathered haphazardly both inside and out. But the smell of carmel corn is what sticks with me. NOt the first time I’ve had this experience; I assume it was a brewing day because of the maltiness in the air.

I have to say I had a bit of a dilemma tonight. I wanted to do this theme was that it would allow me to visit places outside the zone of the previous themes but there is a significant drawback to interlinking this theme to other people: Namely, I have to have other people to interact with. The Lucky Lab doesn’t have places along the rail, it has a waiting zone for beer. There isn’t an easy way to ask people what they’re having.

So tonight I am a spy, a stealth drinker, listening to the conversations ahead of me, trying to understand what’s been said, to get just enough snippets of language that I can place an order without having to pause and hold everyone else up. I catch just enough of the bartender’s response to someone ‘The Golden has technical difficulties so here’s the rye.’ Problem solved-as far as what beer I want.

ryeI watch the bartender pour my beer; it almost seems like the rye is having technical difficulties. The bartender is very conscienscous about pouring me a full pint and creates a nice puddle of foam beneath the spout of rye in order to do so. I appreciate the thought but I have to wonder if violently shaking foam out of the glass doesn’t affect the beer somehow. As it stands, I can’t smell anything other then carmel corn, which is not helping me understand what it is I’ve drank.

The rye itself is OK. Finishes nice, with a great deal of crispness and dryness, so I want another sip but the beer itself tastes thin and I can’t get any nose. So let’s give a B+ to the finish and a C- to the rest.

In one respect, the LL is a microcosm of Portland. There’s a trio of woman hammering ideas out on laptops far away, one in a purple plaid flannel, the other with blonde dreads and the Jan of the group. Closer by there is another trio, one with glasses and a jacket, another with a tiara of stars mounted on springs-like alien antenna, the Jan a brunette this time but in knee high boots. They’re soon joined by a man on crutches, hat with a surfer logo on backwards, hoodie with logos on frontwards, pants seemingly logo free.

Low budget kids next to me, complaining about working their shitty jobs, mocking posers, complaining about idiots who text and don’t spell correctly, remarking on the foolishness of some online interactions (ah, Facebook, what have you tweaked for us?) and mistakes that get made when you drink too much. Further away there is an older couple, the guy is in a red hat that screams ‘White person from the 70’s’ . Moustache too.

There are also children. And by children, I mean rugrats under 5 who probably shouldn’t be allowed to run around a place like this. Sorry but there’s something fundamentally irresponsible about allowing a child to run around a pub unattended because that boy is headed for the door with nothing in his path. But this is also Portland, sometimes.

Suddenly, I can hear the last verse and chorus of “Fade to Black” just over the crowd murmur and the beginning of brewery cleaning. Metalheads are everywhere I suppose. Though I guess I ought to know, as I’m one of them. But I’m a metalhead who has had a meager brew and no story to listen to. Let’s go home.