When I’m trying to work out what to brew next, I’ll often go buy a selection of commercial beers in a category, to try to work out what I like and get tips for malt, hop selection, IBU levels, all that. A friend asked if I’d tried a rye beer. I’d been curious about rye a few years ago, the books say it contributes “spicy” character to a beer, but what does it actually taste like? I hadn’t been able to find any rye beer to try though, then. A few days ago I looked again and found four. Below are my notes. I’m no trained taster so thoughts and reflections are in my own words :-). Data on malt bill and hop profile are from the bottles or the company websites.
Edge brewing project, Evil Twin brewing: Collaboration Rye Pilsner
I foolishly neglected to write down my impressions before tasting the next one. Now all I have is a vague memory of a pleasant drop but no details.
Dainton Samurye Lager
Groanful name, fabulous beer, absolutely the winner for me in this set of 4. Quite dark and malty for a lager. Lots going on in the flavour yet balanced and melded too. The second half was better, I think because it had warmed a little. Reminded me pleasantly of Genmaicha tea, which I suppose is linked to the rice and something toasty; the Vienna malt perhaps. This I would love to be able to brew, but being a lager, an attempt will have to wait for next winter.
Malts: Pils, Rice, Rye, Vienna
Yeast: German Lager
Hops: Motueka and Riwaka
Tuatara Copperhead, red rye pale ale
Sweeter than I prefer my beer. Fruity, malty. There is a bit of a buzz but I’m struggling to tell if that is hops(Bramling Cross) or the rye.
Dainton Red Eye Rye
I’m still not sure what the rye really tastes like. This beer is mostly hoppy to my palate, though lower in IBU than their Samurye lager. It’s dry which I like. The hops are both fruity and harsh, but then with both Nelson Sauvin and Warrior in there, that’s not surprising.
Malts: Ale, Munich Dunkel, Rye, Aromatic, Caramel Munich, Light and Dark Crystal
Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Columbus, Cascade, Hersbrucker, Warrior
In conclusion: I won’t brew anything with rye in the next few months, but will plan an attempt to emulate the Samurye next winter.