Rye beer tasting notes

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.

ABV: 4.5%
IBU: 40
COLOUR: Copper
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.

ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 29
COLOUR: Red
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.

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Brew day

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Brew day today, and while the boil continues, I’m musing on my recent brewing and wondering what to do next. I thought I’d come to the end of the planned brews and looking back to my last Brew stocktake   it seems that’s right. I had planned 4 brews back in April. Turns out I’ve done 6 since then, hmm, actually 7, but this did include all the planned brews, or versions of them. The amber lager as ale idea got split into two (numbers 6 and 7 below). I’m surprised I followed the plan this closely!

  1. The Citra hopped pale ale, bottled as “Trial Tipple”. That was a success. I now know what citra hops taste like and it was so drinkable that it’s now all drunk
  2. The attempted repeat of the good brown ale. Sadly it didn’t work the way I wanted. It’s beer alright and tasty, but came out lower alcohol than intended for reasons I don’t fully understand. Bottled as “Lay Down” anyway, though it’s not ideal for that plan.
  3. A small beer off this brown ale
  4. A lager hopped with Sorachi Ace. Bottled as “Ace of Cups”, which is one of my more inspired brew names IMHO. It’s pretty nice, if you like lager, which I don’t much
  5. My favourite pilsnerish pale ale hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. Bottled as “Monty’s Choice”. Haven’t tasted this one yet. It’s only been in the bottles oh 3 weeks today eh? I’ll pop one in the fridge to try tonight.
  6. A pale “summer ale”. This is my latest attempt at a fresh summery brew that I actually like. It’s hopped with Centennial, Cascade and a little Hallertauer. I’m hopeful, though the mash started a degree or two hotter than designed. This one is still in the fermenter
  7. Today I’ve mashed an amber ale, hopped with Amarillo and Willamette plus a little centenial at the start. This is still in the urn, nearly finished it’s boil. I hope I’ve used enough hops to balance the fuller grain flavours.

There is still nice cool weather available. Should I brew again before summer? If so, what?

 

Bottled

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My latest beer has just gone into bottles. Hurrah. The fermenter and other kit is clean and now I’m thinking about the next one.

I took up brewing 6 years ago and have been enjoying slowly learning a new craft. I like all sorts of things about it. I love knowing how things are made from scratch. In the case of food, from actual plant/animal ingredients, not pre prepared industrial food-like products. Even better if I can make from scratch myself in a way that fits in my lifestyle. The beer making is fun and has almost infinite combinations of recipe and method options to experiment with. It also reminds me of laboratory work, the good side of that, all the measuring and being careful with temperature, cleanliness, process, record keeping. Extra bonus points for being a money saver too. I make beer for around a third to a fifth the cost of commercial beer. Plus a bunch of my time of course. I only buy beer these days either in a pub where I can’t byo, or to taste test, the latter is often while considering recipe options.

 

 

Brew stocktake

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I feel the Montjoye beer stocks are getting thin. So to help decide what next to brew, I’ve just been through the cupboards and done a stocktake. There is still a great deal of booze!

Beer:
13 PET bottles of Golden ale. This is 49 x 330ml serve equivalents. I’ll take this to parties and events in the prompt.
the rest are all in small glass bottles, 330ml or near that.
7 of Little Teapot stout- nice to drink in cold weather, and works well in a stew.
9 of Amiable Ale English mild- best drunk unchilled but I think this has gone too fizzy to take to parties now- like much of my brewing sadly
16 Twice Bitten dry amber lager. This has been very popular. I think it goes down better in hot weather, so this might sit for a while.
2 Free Falling pale ale (hopped with Cascade only, hence the name). Other people seem to like this. I think it’s a bit boring.
7 Festival ale (English best bitter)
6 golden ale. This was supposed to be pretty much the same as the one above, but I think there was a mix up with the grain. It turned out weak and I added “adjunct” to strengthen it
36 Merry Measure brown ale. I like it, it’s a lighter take on a brown. It wasn’t hugely popular at the CF tasting, some thought it sat between styles.
So 83 serves of beer in glass. Plus the PET makes 132 serves (plus the few bottles in the fridge, which I didn’t count)

Cider:
13  of the 2015 apricot cider- likely the most popular thing I’ve made yet.
55 or so of 2016 apricot cider not yet bottled.
36 mulberry cider. Really too dry to be pleasant to drink. It might develop. Works fine in cooking.
56 a full batch of the new ciderry
Which makes160 serves of cider.

Or 292 serves of booze, not counting the various macerated spirituous things in the pantry, or the bits and pieces of mead and fruit wine.

Writing this confirms that what I am short on is pale ale. So the next brew will be a pale, hopped with Citra, which I haven’t used yet but comes recommended by Rurik. I’ll see how that tastes, but I have only a precious couple bottles of my favourite- a Nelson Sauvin hopped beer (this one is a lager, but I prefer it done as a pale ale). So I’ll probably make one of those too.

I’d like to redo the brown ale that tasted AMAZING at 18mths old, and lay it down for… in 18mths time. This started out quite hoppy and sweet. The last bottle I drank had developed raisin flavours and was really smooth. Yum, I want more of that if I can manage it.

I’d also like to try something like the amber lager as an ale. I think that would land somewhere near a Little Creatures pale.

Well, that’s four brews planned, that’ll do for now.

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