What is it?
Rye malt can improve head retention, improve mouthfeel and introduce flavour changes of a toffee/caramel note at lower usage rates and a spicy after-palate when used in higher amounts. It will also give a reddish hue to beers. Rye malt is normally used as an addition to barley, to create hybrids from classic styles. It has a history in many beer styles, notably the German-style Roggenbier, but its popularity has seen a revival in the American craft beer scene. Rye adds a crisp, refreshing, slightly spicy and sometimes dry aspect to the beer. A Rye-based IPA, for example, tends to have a sharp edge to the finish and a crisp, distinctive flavour. Rye Malt gives the beer a velvety soft mouthfeel and a unique complexity. The ﬂavour is strongly reminiscent of breadcrumbs. As Rye does not have husks and has more gum (pentosanes), it is not recommended to use more than 50% of this malt in the grain bill as this may cause considerable problems during lautering. Because the rye contains no husk, rye malt lends itself to bed compaction and slow sparging. Its primary downfall is its reputation for causing stuck mashes.
- Pale Ale
- Ruby Ale
Rye’s main contribution as an ingredient is its enhancement of the overall complexity of the beer’s flavour. Although the crisp, slightly spicy rye flavour does emerge somewhat distinctly (usually at the finish), at the proportions generally used it is neither too forceful nor overpowering. The subtlety of the rye flavour is due to a variety of factors, including the amount of rye used in the recipe, the hopping level, the type of yeast used and the other ingredients involved in the brew.
A grist containing just 5% rye malt can add a layer of complexity without contributing too much spicy rye flavour, while usage at upwards of 10-15% will be much more expressive. Due to a combination of possessing high beta-glucan content, which increases viscosity, and the fact it has no husk, brewers using 20% or more of rye malt are cautioned to take measures to reduce the chances of a stuck mash. Rye comes in hulled form. The lack of a hull, combined with rye’s high water retention capacity, can create a very sticky mash prone to setting.
Most brewers use a 10–20% rye concentration in their recipes. Rye is a strongly flavoured grain, and too much rye in the batch can result in complications. Homebrewers have reported using proportions of rye as high as 50%; the rye really comes out in this concentration, and such a strong brew is neither for the faint of heart nor the beer drinker with ambivalent feelings about the taste of rye. Most experienced brewers of rye beer, or Roggenbier, as it is called in Germany, agree that a recipe calling for 10–20% rye makes for a good starting point.
Malted Rye has enough diastatic power (enzymes) to convert the starches to sugar in the mash without the help of barley. The trick is getting the wort to run out of the mash after the rest as Rye has no husks.
Whilst Rye is commonly used to make a hoppy pale ale, it works and tastes just as good in a malt-accented beer. Rye adds a fullness or richness to the malt character and imparts a nice spicy zest. Rye malt also complements the citrusy hop character and adds silkiness to the body.
Many types of hops can be used to make a rye pale ale. We recommend the spicier varieties, to complement the spiciness that rye adds to the beer.
What are the scales used?
"Degrees Lovibond" or "°L" scale is a measure of the colour of beer. The determination of the degrees Lovibond takes place by comparing the colour of the substance to a series of amber to brown glass slides. The scale was devised by Joseph Williams Lovibond. The Standard Reference Method (SRM) and European Brewery Convention (EBC) methods have largely replaced it, with the SRM giving results approximately equal to the °L.
The Standard Reference Method or SRM is a system modern brewers use to measure the colour intensity of a beer or wort. The EBC convention also measures beer and wort colour, as well as quantifying turbidity (also known as haze) in beer. EBC (European Brewing Convention) is used to indicate colour in malts (and beers). The lower the EBC is, the lighter is the malt (thus kilned for a shorter time). EBC and SRM/°L scales and conversions are available online and usually provide colour swatches to indicate the colour depth that you are likely to achieve from specific malts. Most craft brewers measure the colour of the grain using EBC (European Brewing Convention). The higher the EBC the darker the malt. Other countries may prefer Lovibond (L) or the Standard Reference Method (SRM). There are currently two colour scales in common use: SRM in the US, and EBC in Europe. The SRM (Standard Research Method) scale is based on an older degrees Lovibond scale and for all practical purposes, SRM and degree Lovibond are identical. So to convert SRM to EBC simply multiply by 2. e.g. 4 SRM = 8 EBC. The formula for converting Lovibond to EBC is EBC=(2*Lovibond)-1.2
Why Use Dark Rock Malts and Hops?
The Dark Rock Brewing team are passionate about producing the best quality beers. Their mission is to help you to "Master your Craft" and brew the best craft beers possible. There is no reason why home-produced ales cannot be just as good as commercial equivalents. The key to success is having a wide selection of the best quality and freshest ingredients possible. Dark Rock ingredients are not just great value, they are of the highest quality and always supplied fresh. The team strive to source the best malts, and constantly innovate and experiment with new styles and products. Dark Rock also markets top-quality all-grain and partial--mash kits which receive fabulous reviews. They are experienced commercial brewers and supply craft micro-breweries and nano-breweries with equipment and ingredients. They also provide training and business development consultancy to scale-up breweries. This experience is channelled into equipping the home craft brewer with the "tools to compete". Use Dark Rock products and you can't go wrong.