Beer Recipe of the Week: Newcastle Brown Ale Clone

New Castle Brown AleConsidered by some to be the quintessential northern English brown ale, Newcastle was at one time the best-selling bottled beer in the UK. The beer, now ubiquitous throughout the US, was originally brewed in 1927 at Newcastle Upon Tyne. It’s a reddish-brown ale that highlights nutty malt flavor.

Though Newcastle is now brewed by the macro-brew powerhouse Heineken, many craft beer drinkers remember it fondly as a “gateway beer” to other traditional beer styles from around the world. Brew this Newcastle clone beer recipe and rediscover your love for brown ales!

 

Newcastle Brown Ale: Ingredients and Procedures

  • Malt – The key component in this brown ale is the crystal malt. The mid-range crystal 60°L malt is responsible for the nutty flavor in the beer. Small amounts of chocolate and black malt contribute color and a hint of dryness.
  • Hops – The classic English hop, East Kent Goldings, is used mostly for bitterness. Some hop flavor should be detectable, but will not overpower the malt.
  • Yeast – English ale yeast for this style of beer is essential. In the traditional brewing of this beer, the brewers would actually brew two separate beers, one high-gravity and one low-gravity. The high gravity beer would encourage the yeast to produce more fruity esters, which can then be blended down by the lower gravity beer. This is a lot of extra work for the homebrewer and is completely optional. It’s not impossible to do, but you’ll need an extra fermenter. It will be easiest if you’re using the all-grain method, taking the first runnings for a high-gravity boil, and the second runnings for the low-gravity boil. Then ferment the beers separately and blend them together at bottling time. (Again, this is completely optional.)

The beer recipe below is modified from the American Homebrewers Association. It was original printed in Zymurgy Magazine.

 

Newcastle Brown Ale Clone Beer RecipeShop Dried Malt Extract
(5-gallon batch, extract with specialty grains)

Specs
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.012
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 26
SRM: 15

Ingredients
5.5 lbs. light dry malt extract
12 oz. Crisp 60L crystal malt
4 oz. torrified wheat
1.5 oz. black malt
1.5 oz. Crisp chocolate maltShop Hops
1 oz. Kent Goldings hops at :90
1 oz. Kent Goldings hops at :30
1 tsp. Irish moss at :15
Wyeast 1028: London Ale or Fermentis Safale S-04: English Ale Yeast
corn sugar for priming

Directions
Heat about 3 gallons of clean, chlorine-free water to 150˚F. Place crushed grains in a grain bag and steep for 30 minutes. Discard grains and bring wort to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in the malt extract. Return to a boil, taking care to avoid a boilover. Boil for 90 minutes, adding hops and Irish moss according to schedule above. At the end of the boil, chill wort to 70˚F or boil. Add enough cool, chlorine-free water to make five gallons of wort. Mix well with a sanitized spoon to aerate, then pitch yeast. Ferment at 65-70˚F. When fermentation in complete, bottle with priming sugar and cap. Beer will be ready to drink in 2-3 weeks.

All-Grain Substitution: To brew this beer all-grain, replace the malt extract with 8 lbs. Crisp Maris Otter malt and reduce each of the hop additions to .67 oz.

Do you have a Newcastle brown ale clone beer recipe you’d like to share? Just leave it in the comments below.

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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

What Is Malted Barley?

Maltster making malted barley.Malted barley is one of the four essential building blocks of beer. (The other three are water, hops, and yeast.) Most commercial beer is made with malted barley, though some beers are made with wheat malt, rye malt, and other cereal grains. So, what is malted barley?

Barley is a grass that comes in a 2-row or 6-row variety, which corresponds to way the grains are arranged around the barley stem. Barley grains (also called corns) are the seeds of the plant that in optimal conditions will grow into a plant. The corns store energy in the form of starch, a complex sugar, so that the plant can grow.

These sugars are what brewers use to make beer. The grain provides the sugar that feeds the yeast, which in turn converts the sugar into alcohol and CO2. But before these sugars can be used, they must be made accessible through a process called malting.

The Malting Process
Malting the barley is a three-step process carried out by a professional maltster. Using a variety of barley grown specifically for making beer, the maltster creates conditions that encourage the barley corns to grow, then kilns the barley corns before they have a chance to grow into plants:

  1. Steeping – The maltster soaks the barley in large steeping tanks, aerating the malt and maintaining a constant, cool temperature that discourages microbial growth. The water is periodically replaced, which gives the barley a chance to breathe.
  1. GerminationShop Home Brew Starter Kit – The barley is then moved to the floor where it is allowed to sprout. During this phase, enzymes are activated in the barley. The enzymes begin to break down the cellular structure of the grain, which makes the starches accessible for conversion into fermentable sugars. The barley will typically be turned regularly to prevent the rootlets, or “chits,” from getting tangled. The degree to which the barley is allowed to grow is called “modification.”
  1. Kilning –  The final step in malting the barley is the kilning. The maltster kilns the grain to stop the growing process, which preserves the starches and the enzymes for use in brewing. Depending on the style of malt produced, grains are kilned between 175-400°F. This step introduces color and flavor to the malt as the proteins and sugars are heated in the kiln.

 

Common Types of Malted Barley

Malted barley is generally categorized by color and given a Lovibond number rating between 1 and 500 to rate the color (1 being pale; 500 being black). These are several of the most common malted barleys:

  • Pilsen Malt – This very lightly kilned malted barley is ideal for lagers, but can also be used as base grain for ales. (1° Lovibond)
  • 2-Row Malt – A very common base malt for ales and lagers. 2-Row malt typically contains more fermentable sugar and less protein than 6-Row malt. (1.8° Lovibond)
  • 6-Row Malt – 6-Row is often used for lagers for its grainy flavor. 6-Row barley is primarily grown in the US. (1.8° Lovibond)
  • Vienna Maltshop_malted_grains – Vienna malt is kilned slightly more than Pilsen and 2-Row malts, but it still works well as a base malt. It is recommended for use in Pilsners and Vienna-style lagers. (3.5° Lovibond)
  • Munich Malt – Munich malt is a well-modified malt that lends a sweeter, maltier flavor than the lighter malts. It is ideal for amber ales, Märzen lagers, and dark lagers. (10° Lovibond)
  • Crystal Malt – A wide range of malted barleys are kilned at higher temperatures and called crystal, or caramel malts. They range from 10 to 120 degrees Lovibond, contributing significant color and sweet caramel flavor. (10-120° Lovibond)
  • Chocolate Malt – Chocolate malt is often used (in moderation) for brown ales, porters, and stouts. It contributes a chocolate-like flavor and aroma to beer; it is not actually made with chocolate. (350° Lovibond)
  • Black Malt – Black malt has been kilned nearly to the point of burning. It provides roasty, astringent bitterness and very dark color to stouts and other dark beers. Very little needs to be used to get the desired effect. (500° Lovibond)

Want to learn more about malted barleys? This book is a great resource if you want to learn more about malts or homebrewing in general: Homebrewing for Dummies

Now that you know the answer to the question: “what is malted barley?”, what are some of your favorite malts for brewing beer at home? And, what brews do you use them in?
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

A Simple Guide To Brewing With Adjunct Grains

Rolled Brewing AdjunctsIn 1516, Reinheitsgebot, also known as the German Beer Purity Law, was put into effect. To alleviate competition between producers of barley, wheat, and rye, it limited beer ingredients to only barley, water, and hops (yeast hadn’t been discovered yet!). Though some brewers choose to brew within these strict guidelines, many prefer to experiment and use more than just barley in their brews.

There are many styles of beer that require grains other than malted barley, including certain styles of Belgian Ale, English Ale, and yes, even German beers. The grains used in these beers are often referred to as adjunct grains:

  • Wheat – Wheat is mandatory brewing adjunct if you want to brew your own Hefeweizen or American Wheat Beer. E.C. Kraus carries Red Wheat Malt, White Wheat Malt, and Wheat Malt Extract to lend your homebrew wheat flavor and body. Use 50-75% wheat malt in your grain bill for Weizenbier, or 1-2% to help head retention in any beer style.
  • Rye – Want to brew your own Rye Pale Ale or German Roggenbier? Briess Rye Malt contributes a unique, spicy and grainy flavor reminiscent of bourbon. You’ll want to use this brewing adjunct grain sparingly, as rye has a tendency to stick together in the mash kettle. You’ll rarely see more than 10-20% of malted rye in a grain bill (3.7° Lovibond). Another option is Flaked Rye, which gives the crisp, dry rye flavor, but with more body and more extractable sugar than malted rye.
  • OatsShop Brewing Kettles –  If you want to brew an Oatmeal Porter or Oatmeal Stout, you have to use oats! Regular, unmalted, whole-grain oats contribute flavor and head retention to your brew, but not much fermentable sugar. Flaked Oats are pre-gelatinized to make their starches accessible as fermentable sugar, but they’ll also do wonders for head retention and body. Oats are often included in some Belgian beers, such as the ever popular Witbier.
  • Corn – Corn, or maize, when used as a brewing adjunct must be cooked, then mashed with barley malt to extract fermentable sugars. Flaked Corn is pre-gelatinized, making starches accessible, and can be added directly to the mash. Corn adds essentially no color to beer, but contributes some sweet, corn flavor. It’s primarily used in American Light Lagers, certain Pre-Prohibition style beers, and traditional South American chicha.
  • Rice – Rice, usually in the form of rice syrup, is often added to American Light Lagers in place of malted barley because it’s cheap and doesn’t contribute much flavor or color. Flaked Rice accomplishes the same task, resulting in a dry, crisp beer. Rice Hulls are often added to brews made with a lot of wheat or rye to avoid a stuck mash.

Certainly, there are other brewing adjunct grains that you could play around with and put in their beer, but this list comprises the majority of what you’ll find called for in home brewing recipes.

What is your favorite adjunct grain you like to use in your beers?
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

A Quick Guide To Dry Hopping Your Beers

Dry Hopping A BeerDry hopping is a popular technique for adding a burst of hop aroma to beer. Basically, all you do is add hops during the secondary fermentation. Because the hops aren’t boiled, they won’t contribute much bitterness (IBUs) to your beer. Dry hopping your beer can lend desirable pine, grapefruit, citrus, or floral aromas, depending on the hop variety you use.

Many popular American craft beers are dry hopped, especially pale ales and IPAs. Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA, makes use of a hop back, or torpedo as they call it, which circulates conditioning beer through a stainless steel vessel packed with whole cone hops.

But don’t let complicated brewing equipment intimidate you — dry hopping your beer at home is easy!

When should I add the dry hops?
The most convenient time to dry hop is when transferring from primary to secondary fermentation. Hops can be added at any time during the secondary fermentation, but for best results, they should have at least a few days to work their magic.

What variety of hops should I use for dry hopping?
Hops with low alpha-acids, usually referred to as “aroma hops”, are best suited for dry hopping. Examples of aroma hops include:

Shop HopsShould I use pellets, plugs or whole leaf for dry hopping?
It is best to do your dry hopping with pellets as opposed to whole leaf hops. Due to the processing involved in producing hop pellets, the aromatic oils are more accessible. They’re also a little easier to separate from the beer than whole leaf hops.

How much hops should I use?
A good range to stick with is 1/4 to 2 ounces of hops for a 5 gallon batch, though I think some hop aficionados are prone to adding more.

Will adding hops contaminate my brew?
If you’re worried about contamination you could briefly steam the hops before adding them to the fermenter, but most will agree that the alcohol present in your beer after primary fermentation will protect it against bacteria.

What about straining the hops?
Regardless of how you go about dry hopping your beer, the hops will need to be strained from the beer one way or another

  • DIY screen – You can try attaching a sanitized screen to the bottom of your racking cane when siphoning the beer from the secondary fermenter. An auto-siphon, which makes life much easier for the homebrewer, has a tip that won’t let much through, you could tie a sanitized hops bag around the bottom for some added filtering.
  • Put the hops in small mesh hop bagShop Wort Chillers – Placing the hops in a hop bag before even adding them to the beer is probably the easiest option. A brewer in this forum recommends tying dental floss to the bag for easy removal – you’ll probably want to use unflavored floss, unless you’d like a little mint or cinnamon flavor in your brew!
  • Cold crashing – Dropping the temperature on your secondary fermentation will help the hops settle out to the bottom of the fermenter, making it easier to siphon beer into a bottling bucket or keg without pulling along a lot of hops material.

Hopefully, this information will help you out. Just remember that the best way to go about dry hopping is to use hop pellets in the secondary fermentation. Use somewhere around 1/4 to 2 ounces, and stick with a variety of hops that is big on aroma and low in bitterness.

Have you tried dry hopping your beer? How did it turn out?
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Style Guide: Brewing An American IPA

American IPAMany craft beer aficionados have heard the story about where the name “India Pale Ale” (or IPA’s) comes from. In short, to supply the colony in India, British breweries made ales with increased amounts of hops, taking advantage of the plant’s antimicrobial properties to ensure that the beer would survive the long trip. The American version of the IPA is more robust than the English version and also uses American-grown ingredients. But before I get into to brewing an American IPA, I’d like to share a little more about some of the history behind the style.

I recently picked up Ray Daniels’ book, Designing Great Beers, and learned a couple interesting tidbits about pale ales and IPAs. First, that pale ales were a product of the Industrial Revolution. The advent of steel allowed British maltsters to build better kilns, which gave them increased control over their product, which in turn made pale malts possible. Secondly, that these pale ales were considered beers for high society, while the lower classes stuck with the dark beers, like stouts and porters.

I found this quote, from 1934, to give an interesting perspective on the popularity of the style:

“[The India Pale Ale] is carefully fermented so as to be devoid of all sweetness, or in other words to be dry; and it contains double the usual quantity of hops; it therefore, forms a most valuable restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents.”

I don’t know about you, but I always feel better after an IPA! Now, back to brewing!

The BJCP Style Guidelines give us some parameters for brewing the American IPA (style 14B). The overall impression of the beer should be “an American version of the historical English style, brewed using American ingredients and attitude.” Whatever you do, don’t forget the attitude!

Here are the more easily measurable characteristics for an American IPA:

  • IBUs: 40-70Shop Conical Fermenter
  • Color (SRM): 6-15
  • OG: 1.056-1.075
  • FG: 1.010-1.018
  • ABV: 5.5-7.5%

Now, let’s look at some of the specific ingredients you might use for brewing your own American IPA:

Grain Bill

  • All-Grain: Start with a well-modified US 2-Row Malt for the base of your grain bill (70% or so). Then use 1-2 pounds of Crystal Malt (20-40L) for color and caramel malt flavor. If you want, try a little (up to 5%) of Munich, Vienna, or Biscuit Malt for added complexity.
  • Extract: If brewing with extract, use light or pale malt extracts and consider steeping some crystal malt for flavor and color. Consider the Muntons Connoisseur Kit Type India Pale Ale kit, which contains malt extract that has already been hopped.

Hops

  • An American IPA should be brewed with US-grown hop varieties. Consider using Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, and/or Willamette. Use 1-2 ounces during the boil for each of your bittering, flavor, and aroma additions. For increased hop aroma, dry-hop your beer by adding an ounce or two of hop pellets to the secondary fermenter.

Yeast

  • Use a classic American ale yeast, such as Safale US-05 or Wyeast’s #1056 American Ale. American IPAs should have a “neutral” fermentation character, so be sure to keep the fermentation temperatures within the acceptable range for your chosen yeast strain.

Shop Home Brew Starter KitFollow the above guidelines and profiles for brewing an American IPA, and you’ll have a beer that is tasty and to style. What’s your favorite IPA? Do you have an American IPA recipe you’d like to share in the comments below?

Til next time…Cheers!
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

7 Tips For Clearing A Homebrew Beer!

Clear homebrew BeerFor some styles of beer, such as the Bavarian hefeweizen and the Belgian witbier, cloudiness is to be expected. The average consumer, however, has come to expect beer to be crystal clear — or “bright” as it’s known among beer geeks and professional brewers. Clarity has more influence on aesthetics than flavor, but since the appearance of a beer is the drinker’s first impression, it’s an important factor in assessing beer quality. To avoid your friends raising their eyes at your cloudy homebrew — and to achieve better scores at homebrew competitions — it’s important to know how to clarify your homebrew beer.

 

What Makes Beer Cloudy in the First Place?

Before we can talk about clarifying or clearing your homebrew beer, it would help to understand a little bit about what’s making the beer cloudy. Cloudiness in homebrew can come from a few different sources:

  • Malt can contribute proteins, fatty compounds (lipids), and tannins to your beer. Excessive protein can result in “protein haze” or “chill haze”, which happens when beer is clear at room temperature, but becomes cloudy when chilled.
  • After being boiled in the kettle, hops can break down and leave behind debris.
  • Yeast, as it multiplies and feeds on the sugar in your wort, it becomes suspended in the beer.

All of these a common sources for potentially keep a homebrew beer from becoming its clearest.

 

Common Ways to Clarify Your Homebrew Beer

There are several different ways to clarify or clear a homebrew beer. Here are the most common:

  1. Whirlpool – At the end of the boil, and before transferring wort to the fermenter, give the wort a strong stir. Proteins, lipids, and hop compounds will collect at the bottom of the kettle and form a pile of “trub” in the middle, making it easier to draw off beer and leave behind most of the protein and hops.Shop Irish Moss
  1. Kettle finings – Clarifying a beer with clearing agents is very effective. Irish moss (a.k.a. “carrageenan”) is a type of seaweed that works as a coagulant. It’s added in the last 10-15 minutes of the boil and helps make the whirlpool more effective by aiding in the coagulation of proteins.
  1. Cold break – Rapidly cooling the wort, such as with an immersion wort chiller, helps proteins settle out after the boil.
  1. Secondary fermentation – Transferring your beer from a primary fermenter to secondary fermenter is an opportunity to leave behind trub and yeast that has settled to the bottom. The length of the secondary fermentation is also a factor – the longer the fermentation, the more settling will occur. Fourteen days is usually enough for ales; lagers tend to take longer.
  1. Fermenter finingsShop Wort Chillers – Some beer finings are added to the secondary fermenter. Gelatin is a popular one. It’s derived from animal collagen, so beer made with it technically isn’t vegetarian. Clearing a homebrew beer with gelatin is quick and easy.
  1. Cold crash – Dropping the temperature on the secondary fermentation helps yeast and other particulates settle out.
  1. Filter – Many commercial breweries filter their beer, and while there are some filters available to homebrewers, in most cases the above techniques will result in sufficiently bright, clear beer.

What methods do you use to clarify your homebrew beers? Have you ever used gelatin or other fining or clear agents? Let us know about your experience!

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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Water Treatment For Brewing Beer

Beer In Brewing WaterBefore you use water straight from the tap for homebrewing, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re putting into your precious brew. After all, water makes up more than 90% of beer by weight. Water chemistry can get a bit technical, but don’t worry — you don’t need a degree in chemistry to make good beer. In the famous words of Charlie Papazian, “Relax, don’t worry, have a home brew.” In fact, if you’re brewing with extract, you don’t need to worry much about water treatment at all. However, if you are brewing all-grain, water treatment for brewing beer becomes a much more important subject.

 

Why is Water Treatment so Important in All-Grain Brewing?

Water contains much more than pure H2O. There is usually an assortment of minerals, salts, and chemicals in there as well. Some minerals and chemicals are beneficial to your brew. Some help yeast grow so that they can ferment your beer, while others help to extract fermentable sugars from barley malt. It’s important to be aware of sterilizers, such as chlorine, which may affect the flavor of your beer. Finally, if you’re trying to make a style of beer traditionally brewed in a certain part of the world, you may want to recreate the brewing water profile used to make that beer. Continue reading

Recipe Formulation: Brewing Dark Beers

Woman Drinking Dark BeerOne of the biggest challenges of homebrewing is recipe formulation. There are so many different ingredients available to the homebrewer, that it takes a lifetime of brewing to develop a solid understanding of how each one impacts beer flavor, aroma, color, and mouthfeel. That’s why I often recommend that new brewers try clone recipes. You have a good idea of how your homebrew is going to turn out, and you get learn about different brewing ingredients along the way.

But sure enough, coming up with your own beer recipes is one of the reasons people enjoy homebrewing. It’s a sudsy expression of creativity – that just happens to get you buzzed!

One of the more challenging aspects of beer recipe formulation is figuring out how different malts affect a beer. This post will cover some tips and tricks for developing dark beer recipes.

 

Tips for Brewing Dark Beers

What makes a beer dark? Malt! In the third step of the malting process, a maltster heats the sprouted grain to dry it out and develop some flavor and color. This step is called kilning. Basically, the higher the heat and the longer the kiln, the darker color of the grain. Maltsters can used these variables to make malts that range from pale yellow in color to red, brown, or even black.shop_barley_grains

One thing to be aware of when brewing dark beer is, in general, it only takes a small amount of dark malt to affect beer color. But it’s not just about color – flavor is important too. It’s a balancing act between getting the flavor profile you want as well as the color.

When building a dark beer recipe, start by thinking about flavor. This clearly depends on the beer style, but also on your personal preference. Do you want a bready, almost chewy, sweet malt flavor? In this case the beer recipe might include decent amounts of lightly roasted Munich malts with just a touch of chocolate or Carafa to get the rest of the color. Or would you prefer a dry, bitter, roasty beer? In this case the beer recipe may include mostly regular pale malt with larger amounts of chocolate malt and roasted barley. Caramel malts can contribute complexity to beers, offering flavors of caramel, raisins, nuts, or dates. Think about the balance you want to achieve for your dark beer, then select the malts accordingly. Finally, small adjustments can be made to get the color where you want it.

 

What about using extract when brewing dark beers?

Dark malt extract works great for beginning homebrewers. It’s an easy way to brew a dark beer without having to figure out the right combination of malts to get the color you want. But a lot of homebrewers will agree that dark malt extract doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility when brewing dark beers. The dark malt extract was made with a specific blend of grains. You’re kind of stuck with the flavor profile you get.shop_liquid_malt_extract

An alternative way to do it is to use light malt extract and then use the darker specialty grains to get the color and flavor just the way you like it. You can certainly brew a stout using light malt extract! Just use 5-15% of the darker specialty grains to get the color and flavor you want. Explore some tried and true beer recipes to get a sense of what malts work well together and in what amounts.

With a little practice, you’ll soon get a feel for different specialty grains and how to go about brewing a delicious dark beer.

What’s your favorite dark beer style?
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David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Tips for Brewing with Rye

Sack Of Rye For Brewing BeerHave you ever wanted to brew a Rye IPA or a Rye Saison? Though rye beers are easy to brew, it just helps to know a few techniques before you get started. Here’s some tips for brewing with rye.

 

How is rye different from other brewing grains?

While most beer is made primarily from barley, other grains can be used to add complexity of flavor or to affect the mouthfeel of the beer. Rye, like wheat, is higher in protein than barley so it helps to give beer a smooth, chewy, filling mouthfeel. It does not have a husk, so sometimes rice hulls are used to help with lautering. Rye also has a unique flavor, one that some describe as spicy, tangy, or rustic. It seems to pair well with spicy hops and phenolic yeast strains.

 

How to Add Rye to Your Homebrew

Brewers have a few choices when adding rye to their brew. Rye malt is the standard ingredient for brewing with rye. It can be crushed just like other malted grains, though rye tends to have a smaller grain size, so it may be necessary to mill the rye separately on a smaller setting to get a good crush.

Flaked rye has been heated and pressed through rollers. Flaked grains don’t need to be milled, so they can be added directly to the mash or steeping bag.

Chocolate rye malt is a specialty grain that combines the roasty, chocolatey flavors of a darker specialty malt with the spicy notes of rye. It’s a fun way to add some complexity to darker beers! Use up to about a half-pound or so in a five-gallon batch.Shop Barley Crusher

Similar to chocolate rye malt, Cararye malt is a rye malt that’s been kilned just enough to develop some amber color and sweet caramel flavor. Recommended usage is up to 15% of the grain bill.

When brewing with rye it is important to understand that it has a higher protein content than other grains and no husk. Because of this rice hulls are recommended when brewing with more than about a pound of rye. This will improve filtering ability of the grain bed and will help reduce the likelihood of a stuck mash. Rice hulls will not affect flavor or color, but they will greatly improve the filtering ability of the grain bed. For an all-grain batch of homebrew with more than 10% rye, 0.5-1 pound of rice hulls are recommended. They do not need to be milled.

 

Rye Homebrew Recipes

Ready to make some rye beers of your own? Here’s some beer recipes to help you start brewing with rye…

 

Have you ever tried brewing with rye? What’s your favorite style of rye beer? 
———————————–
David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Simple Style Guide: Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal StoutIn the world of stouts, Irish stouts are dry and milk stouts are sweet, but oatmeal stouts fall somewhere in the middle. The use of a small amount of oats in the grist give this roasty brew a smooth, somewhat creamy mouthfeel. This is, in essence, what you are looking for when making an oatmeal stout.

Topping Serious Eats’ list of Top 5 Oatmeal Stouts, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is a classic. Rich and luscious, flavors of toasted malt and chocolate combine with oats for a smooth finish. A similar beer is made by Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC, – an excellent oatmeal porter. Flaked oats give the beer a smooth, silky character. 5.9% ABV, 35 IBUs using American hops, Chinook, Willamette, and Cascade. These are two great examples to seek out when crafting your oatmeal stout recipe.

 

Brewing an Oatmeal Dry Stout

The key question when making an oatmeal stout is how to add the oats. Oats contribute a little extra body to the beer, but if overused can make the beer seem oily. 5-15% oats is ample for an oatmeal stout, but some grists may include up to 25% in the most extreme cases. As for the oats themselves, flaked oats will contribute the most fermentable sugar and can be added directly to the mash, while raw, steel-cut oats from the store must be cooked, boiled separately before being added to the mash. Some brewers even use a pack of oatmeal from the grocery store – just be sure to avoid those with flavorings – unless you’re going for a cinnamon oatmeal stout, of course!

 

Grain Bill and Fermentables

An oatmeal stout gets its dark color from specialty grains like chocolate malt and roasted barley. Roasted barley helps to impart the dry, bitter flavor of coffee that stouts are known for, but it must be used sparingly (a maximum of 5-7% of the grist). Reduce the roasted barley in favor of chocolate malt to avoid overly burnt or charcoal flavors.

To accentuate the oatmeal character, Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer John recommend, “Toasting the oats in the oven at around 300°F (149°C) until they begin to slightly color up and give off a nutty oatmeal cookie character.”

These ingredients can be combined with a standard base malt or light malt extract to form of your grain bill. Your original gravity shouldn’t exceed about 1.065.Shop Dried Malt Extract

 

Hops

An oatmeal stout is an English creation, so English hops work best when making this beer style. Examples include Kent Goldings, Fuggles, and Target. Shoot for 25-40 IBUs. Hop aroma is low to none, so use restraint in the late hop additions.

 

Yeast

Oatmeal stouts typically have some mild fruity aromas, which are best delivered by the use of English ale yeast. Safale S-04 is a good dry yeast option. A number of liquid yeast strains will work as well. Wyeast 1099: Whitbread Ale Yeast is a fast-fermenting, high flocculating strain with relatively clean fermentation characteristics, especially at lower fermentation temperatures. Other strains, such as Wyeast 1318: London Ale III, will give a slight fruity character and may leave some residual sweetness. It’s generally recommended to rehydrate dry yeast, and if using liquid yeast, to prepare a yeast starter.

Now you’re ready to make your own oatmeal stout!

Do you have an excellent recipe for making oatmeal stout? Share it in the comments below. What kind of oats do you use, and for what percentage of the grain bill?

Sources: Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew (p. 168). Brewers Association.

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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.