I’m working on a red/amber rye pale ale recipe because this is a style of beer that I love and cannot get much of locally. There is one local option but I’d rather not pay $3/can when my favourite American examples are much better – beers like Red’s Rye PA from Founders, Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic, and Ruthless Rye from Sierra Nevada. These are beers with assertive hop aroma and flavour, but also strong malt backbones with demonstrated rye character and complexity. My last attempt was a lower gravity (1.047 OG) beer with 10% rye malt, CaraRed and Caramunich malts, along with an all-Centennial hop bill (8 oz total, to 62 IBU). I found the beer good, but the hops completely dominanted the malt flavour and the beer certainly was on the extremely bitter end of the spectrum.
I’m almost taking the opposite approach here: A bigger beer, with a more complex malt bill (using up leftover ingredients) and the hops dialed back somewhat. I’m still tied to the idea of this beer being Centennial-dominant in terms of hops, and not too heavy-handed with the rye, as I got good rye character with 10% last time. I’m also trying roasted barley for colour, as I read somewhere that it is useful for getting a good red colour in beer, as opposed to orangeish caramel malts. At the amount I used (1%), the flavour shouldn’t be noticeable. I used Conan last time which was a mistake – the yeast doesn’t drop well in bottles, and many pours were murky, which doesn’t do justice to an amber beer. I’m using WLP007 Dry English Ale because it should have good attenuation, a relatively neutral aroma, while flocculating much better. I’m looking for a beer with a hoppy aroma (piney and citrusy), backed with spicy rye and a hint of malt complexity. The taste should be slightly malty up front, with firm and flavourful hop bitterness. Here’s hoping!
Future iterations of this beer will likely end up being similar in gravity, with a more simplified malt bill and possibly more hopping.
Recipe (4 gallon):
Estimated OG (70% efficiency): 1.062
Actual OG: 1.062
7 lb / 71% 2-Row Pale Malt
1 lb / 10% Flaked Rye
0.75 lb / 7% Victory
0.375 lb / 3% Acidulated Malt
0.25 lb / 2% Crystal 120
0.25 lb / 2% CaraRed
3.0 oz / 1% Roasted Barley
Mash at 152 for 60 minutes, boil for 60 minutes.
Hops (9.25 oz total):
0.8 oz Columbus (15%aa) First Wort Hops
2 oz Centennial (10%aa) 20 minute whirlpool at 180F
3 oz Centennial dry hop for 5 days
Yeast: WLP007 Dry English Ale (1.8L starter stepped up from agar then crashed and packaged – about 180 billion cells)
Pitch at 65F, let rise to 68F for primary.
2014/06/14: BIAB brew as usual, grain double-milled in Crankandstein. Added 7g gypsum, which combined with the acid malt should keep my mash pH in check. Room temp pH was 5.5 at the end of the mash – looking good! 1 tsp yeast nutrient and 0.5 tsp carrageenan (whirlfloc) added to boil at 15 min. Massive hot break – I suspect the flaked rye contributed to that. Got exactly 4 gallons of 1.062 wort into the fermentor. I think the wort was a bit darker than 15 SRM, so maybe one or several of my malts were darker than anticipated. However, it is a deep red so I think with clear beer it will look quite nice.
2014/07/07: Cleared up nicely, lots of malt and hop aroma. Nice bright hop flavour, but a bit too much roasted malt. We will of course see how dry hopping and carbonation changes this balance. 1.012 (80% attenuation).
2014/07/29: 4 gallons bottled with 3 oz dextrose after 6 days dry hop.