I like this recipe for two reasons. First of all, it’s a tasty beer with low alcohol and low calories. Second, it’s a beer that professional brewers would be hard-pressed to duplicate. Malted wheat and malted rye are notoriously sticky – especially the rye, which I discovered can be quite viscous. The advantage to the viscosity is that we can use rye to boost the body of low gravity beers to make them less watery and more substantial.
I use a couple of nifty tricks in brewing this beer that are, again, in the homebrewers’ advantage. I avoid a stuck mash tun by using brew in a bag (BIAB) approach, and I maintain the temperature of my small mash by putting it into my electric smoker.
The recipe is quite simple. The grain bill for a five gallon (19 liter) batch consists of only three pounds (1.4 kilograms) of malted wheat and one pound (0.45 kilograms) of malted rye. In the original version of this recipe, I only added a small amount of bittering hops to the boil and dry hopped in the keg. In this week’s brew, I added a late-hop addition to the bittering hops. I haven’t decided whether I’ll dry hop (but chances are that I will).
I used Safbrew T-58 to ferment the first beer. In this one, I went with the more neutral Safale US-05. I’m curious to taste the difference.
The first time I brewed this recipe, my pre-boil volume was a little low. I ended up with an original gravity of 1.020, which finished out at 1.004 – giving the beer an alcohol by volume of 2.1%. This time, I raised the level of the pre-boil volume and achieved an original gravity of 1.018.
The original beer was fairly delicate, but satisfying. Even Andy Sparks, noted hophead and lover of big beers (and small), said he was impressed by the hop character. I’m looking forward to tasting how this version turns out. Below is the recipe for this week’s brew and the Basic Brewing Video episode featuring the first attempt. I’ll keep you posted when the beer is finished.
“Rye Wit” Session Beer
5 gal. (19 L) batch
3 lbs. (1.4 kg) Malted Wheat
1 lb. (.45 kg) Malted Rye
0.5 oz (14 g) Fuggles pellets (60 minutes)
1 oz (28 g) Mosaic pellets (flameout)
Safale US-05 dry yeast
O.G.: 1.018 F.G.: to be determined
Pour 8 quarts (7.5 liters) filtered water into a pot large enough to hold the mash, but small enough to fit into an electric smoker. (You don’t have to use an electric smoker, but I find it’s a great way to hold the mash rest temperature of a small mash.) Bring the water up to 163˚F (73˚C) and add the grain. Rest at 153˚F (67˚C) for one hour by putting the pot into the smoker, which has been warmed up to the rest temperature. In the meantime, bring five gallons (19 liters) of filtered water to 170˚F (77˚C) in the main brew pot.
At the end of the mash rest, line the larger brew pot with a Brew in a Bag nylon bag. Pour the mash from the small pot into the larger pot. Stir the grain and water, then remove the bag – squeezing to extract the last of the wort.
Bring the wort to a boil and add bittering hops. After an hour-long boil, turn off the heat and add the aroma hops. Chill, then pitch yeast. Add dry hops in the keg (or in a secondary) if you like.