American Rye Ale Brew Day

I had decided that my next batch was going to be an American Rye Ale.  I’ve never tasted a rye ale but it sounded so interesting to me.  I got the recipe off of but bought my ingredients at my LHBS, Southern Brewing.  Every ingredient kit on has a pdf attached on the website with a list of ingredients and intructions.  So I just printed that off and headed to Southern Brewing and got those ingredients or suitable substitutes.  I also bought my ingredients for my next batch (Bourbon barrel porter) and a small bottle of Star San.  Total bill was $36.

For a 2.5 gallon batch (brewed on 10/19/12):

  • 3.1 lbs Rahr 2-Row Pale
  • 0.9 lbs Rye
  • 0.4 lbs Caramel 40
  • 0.36 oz Liberty hops (60 minutes)
  • 0.5 oz Sterling hops (15 minutes)
  • Safale US-05 dry yeast

Mash was 153 F for 60 min (my strike temp for 3.5 gallons of spring water was 160 F).  I used the same process as previously for my nut brown ale but with the following modifications.

  • Upped my starting water to 3.5 gallons
  • I performed a mash out at 170 F for 10 minutes prior to the boil
  • Used 20 lbs of ice for my cool down.  I was able to get my wort down to 87F in 45 minutes.  Big improvement from before.
  • Let the yeast sit in my fermenter for 30 minutes after pitching but before stirring as per the packet instructions.
  • Used only one frozen water bottle in my fermenter cooler and put a garden thermometer in the cooler to monitor temp (Lowes $1.25).

The mashout was done on a whim.  I had read previously how to do it and while waiting during the mash, I had just decided that it wasn’t much extra effort.  What the hell. A mash out is performed to boost the mash efficiency (extract a bit more sugar from the grains).  Once my mash time was up, I closed and twisted the top of the grain bag and clipped it to the side of the pot high enough so the bag wasn’t touching the bottom of the pot).  I covered the pot,  started the flame and heated until I reached 170 F.  Then I killed the flame and timed for 10 minutes.  After that, then I took my bag out (drained, squeezed) and proceeded with the boil.

According to the recipe, the target original gravity (OG) was 1.042.  My OG reading was 1.032.  So it appears my extraction efficiency is still a little to be desired.  My final fermenting volume was about 2.2 gallons, so still a little low but improved from the last batch.  It’s going to ferment for 2 weeks (no secondary) and then go to bottling.

Takeaways from this run:

  • Probably need to start with a starting water volume of 4 gallons.  I’m losing a good amount of wort during the transfer from the pot to the fermenter while  trying not to suck up so much sediment from the pot (see pic).
  • Need to improve extraction efficiency a little bit.  The larger starting water volume may help (thinner mash).  I could also consider doing a dunk sparge with the grain bag after the mash.




2 comments on “American Rye Ale Brew Day

  1. Nice write-ups lately!

    A tip about the amount of water you’re starting with. I also had a problem missing my target volume of wort on my first brew, I didn’t realize the grains would soak up so much water. Research has told me to now expect around 0.2 gallons/lb to be absorbed by the grain. For this brew, you had about 4.5lbs, so that’s around 0.9 gallons. If you start with 3.5, that’ll leave you 2.6, but as you noted, there’s a lot of gunk and wasted wort when you transfer. That wort is probably the quart you missed your goal by.

    I’d suggest getting a large, finely woven metal mesh colander at a kitchen store. Dump your wort through it and into the fermenter, or siphon through it (although that would be more of a pain).

    As far as efficiency goes, I’m not sure how to help since I don’t BIAB. Are they crushing it for you at the store?

  2. FrugalBrewer says:

    Hey Matt, thanks for the advise. I probably will start looking around for a mesh colander or something else to sift that sediment out. My store allows customers to operate their mill and it is adjustable. So I
    may play with a finer crush next time. Thanks again!

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