Warning: best beer I’ve ever made ahead.
I love black beers. I like rye beers. I’m not a huge fan of pales or hoppy beers in general, but mostly because I don’t like giant grapefruit/pine tree punches to the mouth that are all too commonly found in American pale ales.
Having concluded that I really need to make beers with no weird additives for a while, but being incapable of making a boring, typical beer, I decided to combine the black ipa and rye beer styles into a black rye pa. I’d avoid using overly piney or citrusy hops, while still trying to impart enough hop flavor and bitterness to be a pale ale. I also wanted this beer to be black and have some dark complexity, without getting any tannic roast malt flavors competing with the hops.
- 1lb 2 row
- 12oz rye
- 3oz crystal 80
- 4 oz carafa 2
- 3 oz pale wheat
- 1/3 pkg USA Brewers Gold
- 1/5 pkg Hallertauer
- 1/3 pkg US-05
- irish moss
- gelatin finings
I put a good amount of rye, a bit of crystal for balance, some carafa 2 to get a black character without bitterness, and pale wheat for body and mouthfeel. Mashed at 150 for an hour. Sparge/lauter. I used some earthy/woodsy US Brewer’s Gold for bittering and flavor additions, and some noble Hallertauer hops for flavor and aroma, irish moss. Really focusing on keeping my temps down, I pitched at 68, aerated, and immediately put this beer into an evap-skirt, with a small ice pack in the pie tin.
Early temperature readings on the surface of the carboy were around 54, so I took the ice pack out and it rose to 58 by the time the krausen started into the blowoff. After two weeks all action stopped but I gave it another week to condition, and to gelatin fine. I bottled with corn sugar, and let it condition for three weeks. Simple beer, made a simple label.
This beer is great. It isn’t heavy or malty like porter or stouts, but it has a blackness in flavor as well as color. There’s a bit of rye spice, and a medium body and mouthfeel from the rye and bit of wheat. It’s a hop-forward beer, but mostly woodsy, noble, earthly flavors and aromas.
I’d love to make this beer again, and just play with the hops more, maybe some Pacific hops to give it more character without going into the territory of hop flavors I don’t like. This is one I’ll definitely make in a larger format one day when I have the equipment.