Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adventures in Homebrewing: Red RyePA

Judging by the frequency of posts here, it would be reasonable to surmise that I had given up homebrewing and drinking all together but rest assured - that is most definitely not the case. Over the past few months I've brewed a coffee porter with the guys I started brewing with in college and started doing test batches for a beer that I'll be serving at my wedding in the fall. The first batch of that wedding beer actually nabbed second place in the Belgian Pale Ale category at the 2012 Monk Melee. All sorts of exciting beer things have been going on but I just haven't had the time to write any of it down.

Despite the lull in posts, I got an email from someone at Midwest Supplies who had come across my blog and was interested in having me write up my thoughts on one of their brewing ingredients kits. I haven't used a kit since my first couple brews back in college, it's much more fun to put together your own recipe and see what happens. Having said that, a kit like the ones that Midwest Supplies sell offers some confidence to your brew. You can trust that the recipe is tried and true, if your beer comes out tasting like crap you'll know it was your fault basically.

They were kind enough to let me pick any kit that they sold and I had been wanting to do some sort of rye beer for a while now so I opted for their Red RyePA. I was even able to pick my own yeast type so I chose the Wyeast smack-pack which ended up being their Headwaters Ale strain. The kit arrived quickly and safely on my doorstep which was great to come home from work to.

Specialty Grains:
2 oz Chocolate Rye
3 oz Crystal Rye
3 oz Crystal 50-60
4 oz Rye malt
4 oz Flaked Rye

6 lb Gold Liquid Malt Extract

1/2 oz Columbus (60 min)
1/2 oz Columbus (20 min)
1/2 oz Centennial (20 min)
1/2 oz Columbus (10 min)
1/2 oz Centennial (10 min)
1/2 oz Columbus (5 min)
1/2 oz Centennial (5 min)

Included, of course, were very thorough instructions that walked you through their recommended process in relatively simple terms. I followed them closely and imagine they would be pretty easy to stick to even if you were a first time brewer. The brew went smoothly without incident, no boiling over or anything of that sort. My OG reading was a bit lower than I would've hoped (or that they projected) but I've had that issue with a couple of my past brews as well, something to work on. There was some very aggressive fermentation going on in less than 24 hours which is always reassuring to see no matter how often you brew.

I'm pretty anxious to see how this one turns out because if I really like it I might end up basing another wedding beer off of this kit. I'm also just excited to have a rye beer under my belt and most importantly, in my fridge. Look out for a follow up post in a few weeks.