Rye Without The Hurricane

Last September, a day after Hurricane Ike demolished Galveston, I brewed a great rye beer I called Rye of the Hurricane. It was about 20% rye, 5% munich and 75% pale bittered with Mt Hood & Hallertauer hops. The beer came out with a great dry earthy bitterness from the rye and Mt Hood. Five gallons of that beer lasted seven weeks; these day’s I’m lucky to get two weeks out of a keg.

Rye of the Hurricane II will be a very different beer. I increased the ratio of munich malt, and added crystal 120 to the grainbill. To balance the more intense malt flavors that the crystal adds I also stepped up the hopping schedule. Have a look. (Pictures here.)

Fermentables
9-gallons

  • 15 lbs Pale 2-row (Rahr)
  • 4 lbs Rye malt
  • 2 lbs Munich
  • 2 lbs Crystal 120L

Doughed in with 9 gallons of spring water to hit 150° F. Rested 20 minutes. Direct-fire heat to 163° F for another 40 minutes. Sparge with 170° F water to collect 10 gallons sweet wort.

Hops
60-minute boil

  • 2 oz 5.2% AA Mt Hood pellets first-wort hop
  • 1 oz 4.8% AA Kent Goldings pellets 30 mins
  • 1 oz 3.9% AA Hallertau pellets 10 mins
  • 1 oz 3.9% AA Hallertau pellets 5 mins

Wyeast 1318 London Ale Yeast III; Fermenting at 70° F.


The reason this beer is only 9 gallons is because I changed my strike water volume and forgot to compensate with extra sparge water. I wanted a thin mash – about 2 qts/lb to really pack this beer with malty goodness, but upon getting 11 gallons of strike water in my new mash tun I could see that adding in 23 pounds of grain would possibly overflow the vessel. I should have added the two missing gallons to the sparge to collect 11-ish gallons of sweet wort at completion of the mash.

The wort tasted awesome, simply fantastic. It’s taking all my power not to keg & tap the beer this week – 9 days through fermentation. I hope I have the will to let it sit for another nine days, but I’m out of homebrew at the time. The bitter I made as a yeast starter for Gnarly Barleywine started out “meh” because I tapped it way too early. It became a nice beer near the end of the keg. I will keep that lesson in mind while I drink some commercial beer.