Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rye of the Tiger- a Red Rye Saison

Not exactly red now is it...

Son of a bitch. I guess Rye of the Tiger is a name that is already taken by Great Lakes in Ohio. I'll still give kudos to Sarah for the awesome naming job, as usual, even though it technically existed already. We'll be the first to do a logo though damn it! I'll check the trade mark shit later. ANYWAYS. At a home-brew club meeting a few months ago, we were given the task of making a beer with AT LEAST 15% Rye. Not being a big fan of rye, I thought it would be fairly difficult for me, and probably a waste of money and effort. I hit the BBB for some advice on some issues. I also wanted to make it have a nice red hue to it. No reason really, just thought it would be cool to have a red saison and it seemed rye would be a nice compliment.

Not being an expert at building a recipe, I was a little intimidated. The easiest thing for me to do was build backwards from the rye requirement of 15%. Then I knew the base malt would be Belgian Pils, because that's a little more traditional than something like 2-Row barley. I don't really need wheat since there is rye and I don't want to muddle it. AND I want to make it red (I do what I want!). To do that I could either use a bunch of chrystal malts or something like Vienna or Munich malt, but I didn't want to make it too sweet...I guess. I dunno, I have not used those malts much before, so I decided to just take a shot in the dark, based on simplicity. Use Pils, Rye, and some debittered black malt (no flavor imparted really, not trying to make this thing a stout) to bring the color up-long story short. 
One new thing I tried was per Colin's advice from Downtown Joes, CA-taste your recipe before you brew. So my new friend Luke, from the Home Brewery and I took the recipe, then counted out about 1% of the grain bill, then tasted. The first version was too bitter, so we knocked back some grains, found some English Crystal Rye, adjusted, and got something that was nicely balanced. Try it! 

As for hops, I am currently desiring only to work with Noble and English ones until I get them down. So I went with Kent Golding and Tettnanger and plugged them into the Brew Pal software on my phone till I had the IBU's I wanted, which I toned down because, again, I wanted to focus on the rye and not have too much competing for flavor. Tettnang got the last addition because I like it's flavor over Kent Goldings.

Yeast-Just used the yeast from my previous saison, which was the Wyeast French Saison 3711. A wonderfully easy saison yeast to work with. HIGH attenuation, with QUICK results, unlike that bastard Belgian Saison 3724 from Wyeast. Love the flavor, but hate waiting for 5 weeks for it to finish. That thing is SUCH a diva!

RECIPE: 7.25 gallons into brew pot, 6 gallons into fermentor
Yeast-3711 French Saison: 370 ml on thin slurry
1. Belgian Pils 9 lbs
2. Rye 2.5 lbs
3. English Crystal Rye .3 lbs
4. Belgian De-bittered Black  .4 lbs                                     
Hops: Amount Time %Alpha Acid
1. Kent Goldings 1.5 oz 60 minutes 7.2% 29 IBU
2. Kent Goldings .5 oz 10 minutes 7.2% 3 IBU
3. Tettnanger           .3 oz             10 minutes                   4.9% 1 IBU

Mash-Protien Rest at 130F for 15 minutes, raise to 148F for 40 minutes, raise to 158F, then Sparge. 
Fermentation: Start at 69F, then raise a degree or two a day until 74F. Held at 74F for 2 days, then chill and bottle. 


Appearance-Deep burgundy color, verging on black. Slight brown/red highlights when held to the light. Head is tremendous and sustains nicely. Creamy, pillowy and extremely tight bubbles.
Aroma-Earthy, spicy, peppery. Rye is up front with just a light backing of dark sweetness and citrusy yeast. 
Mouthfeel-sprtisy, warming and full. Very very full mouthfeel. Reminds me of winter. 
Taste-Textures really take over. Maybe a bit too much carbonation? Hint of caramel and nuttyness at the first taste. Prominent rye and a touch of caramel sweetness at the final part of palette. Warming comes in right at the end too. Leaves mouth a tough tingly if you drink quickly. A bit too highly carbed. 
Drinkability-Very drinkable, with the exception of it being too carbed. Excites fall and winter feelings. This beer is fine for a one a night thing, but I’d change a few things if I were to make it again. e.g. Make the mouthfeel slightly less huge-Drop the rye a touch or skip the protein rests. Drop the carbonation just a hair. AND cut the de-bittered black malt in half. 

Currently Listening-Several Arrows Later: Matt Pond PA, Wasting Light-Foo Fighters
Currently Reading-A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole & Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow

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