Brewing our first rye beer


Posted: 10 June 2016 by Riley

A few weeks ago we launched our first wheat beer (The Ideas Beer) and this week has seen Shawn busy brewing our first rye beer!  Are these beers made entirely from wheat and rye?  No.  For our wheat and rye beers around 70% of the grain used was barley.  It’s almost always the case that the majority of grain used to make a beer is barley.  There are exceptions to this rule.  A gluten free (GF) beer, for example, cannot be made with barley.  GF alternatives, such as brown rice and sorghum, must be used to produce fermentable sugars for our yeast to consume.  At this point you may like to say a prayer for your gluten intolerant friends.

Now wheat is no stranger to our beer recipes.  Many of our beers include a very small amount of wheat as the higher protein content of wheat helps with head retention (i.e. the collar of foam on your beer stays around longer).  This is the first time we have used rye however it will not be the first time a rye beer has been found on tap in our brewhouse at Newcastle.  During Newcastle Craft Beer Week, earlier in the year, we brewed a collaboration beer with our friends at Fortitude Brewing (from up north).  In addition to the collaboration beer, several of Fortitude’s beers were pouring from our taps including the Grim RIPA – a Rye IPA that proved very popular.


The colour of rye beer is dark – from burnt orange to red

Our rye beer is currently fermenting (and doing a great job just quietly).  There are several processes which must occur before fermenting, including mashing and boiling (want to learn more? Come join a brewery tour).  There is another process which lies between these two which is not often discussed.  It’s technical term in the brewing industry is “waiting”.  The process of waiting is also seen in many other activities, such as cooking a Wagyu steak well done, dealing with your phone company and finding your Prince Charming – all of which result in crying.  Here’s a tip for you homebrewers: the lack of a husk in a rye grain means that separating the liquid from the solids after the mash will take much longer.  Around 2.74 hours on this particular occasion.  Shawn certainly didn’t get an early mark that day!

So why brew with rye?  Because it will be damn delicious, that’s why.  It imparts a round graininess and characteristic spiciness.  The result?  Another unique FogHorn beer!

Summary: We brewed a rye beer.  Shawn was late for dinner.