Hey Folks, Just thought I'd pop in with some data based on my "Covid -19 working from home boredom based obsession with finding out how to brew with rye" space that I'm currently in. Over the last few months I've had the opportunity to test several iterations and I've come up with a British Best Bitter recipe that I think I dialed in using 4% Weyermann Chocolate Rye. I've also been dialing in the mouthfeel part that compliments the spicy and, even at 4%, drying effect of rye (especially chocolate rye which is roasted).
First I started out in a logical place (Denny's copious information on everything Rye) and brewed a batch of Wry Smile... to the numbers. Well... sort of as I could never get 1450/Brewtek CL-50 to attenuate well. (Trust me... I've been brewing for 24 years and a yeast whisperer... That yeast is ridiculously finicky). I harvested and used a second gen since the first beer was tasty... albeit with a FG of 1.018 (unacceptable to me). Second try... 1.018. Made a British Mild... OG 1.038 and final gravity of... 1.015 with third gen of 1450/Brewtek CL-50. Done... Bye Bye... Also, as a former professional brewer I see everything in terms of purchased ingredients, time to finish and of course... drinkability. I can't see that yeast in any sort of production facility at all.
Changed the approach... still need that rye spicy finish but also still need that mouthfeel that I firmly believe is yeast derived. One more Wry Smile attempt because it's a proven winner and is indeed tasty... London Ale III or 1318 was the ticket I thought... well, sort of. Even at low temps it still gives some esters that I didn't want. I tried again and tossed in a Manchester strain (RVA's Manchester) which I love in NIEPA's and produces plenty of glycerin for that mouthfeel but that attributed the lovely Graham Cracker flavor which was out of place in Denny's recipe and believe it or not... the Mild too. Okay enough writing... here's what I settled on... I went back to the basics and brewed a Special/Strong Bitter and tossed in Lallemand's New England Dry yeast. My hopes were not high but hey I'm working from home, have the time... and I'm learning!
This really worked!
Actual OG 1.052
Actual FG 1.012
IBU = 34
10lbs Maris Otter
1lb White Wheat
14oz Simpsons light crystal 50L
8oz Weyermann Chocolate Rye (4% of the grist)
1oz EKG @ 60
1oz EKG @ 30
2oz EGK @ flameout while knocking out
1oz EKG @ Dry hop (end of fermentation)
The fermentation was carried out at 62 degrees in a Spike temp controlled conical (raised to 66 free rise after dry hop on day 3)
Mashed at 152 single infusion with mash out
Notes: Copper colored, a bit earthy/floral from the hopping schedule which is perfect for a Best Bitter. Mouthfeel is perfect with that signature dry finish and then wait for it... spiciness at the end which turns you right around to dive back in for another. My wife said, "It's like when you are eating 70% chocolate and there is that pleasant bitterness but the flavor makes you go right back for more..." Perfect I think.
IF you've read this far thank you... Like I said I've had time while working from home to dive into an ingredient which I've avoided for ever but always envied those that could do it right. Rye is tricky and needs a few things to help compliment it. Try the recipe above. You may love it... you may hate it but it's beer, it has Rye... and I think it works well... finally.