Back in late 2017, I came up with one of my best from-scratch recipes: Red Rye Lager. It’s been over two years since that batch, so I decided to give it another go. This fills a nice niche of a malty, moderate body, good-for-winter lager. It’s basically the same recipe, just with some modifications for malt brands and hop types. Following my 2020 goal of trying more American hop varieties, I went with Mt. Hood for the hops instead of Hallertauer and Magnum. Also, I used crystal 120 instead of The end result is pretty nice, as before!
Red Rye Lager 1.1
- 6.75 lb. Superior Pilsen Malt (Great Western Malting)
- 3 lb. BEST Munich malt (BESTMALZ)
- 1 lb. Viking rye malt
- 0.5 lb. Carared malt (Weyermann)
- 6 oz. Caramel 120°L malt (Briess)
- 2 oz. Carafa Special III malt (Weyermann)
- 2 oz. rice hulls
- 1 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 2 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 1 pkg. Cablecar yeast (Imperial yeast #L05)
- Infusion mash to hit target of 154°, 60 minutes, batch sparge
- 1.053 o.g., 1.015 f.g., 5.0% abv, 21 IBU, 14 SRM
- Water adjusted to hit target of 52 Ca, 10 Mg, 11 Na, 43 SO4, 53 Cl, 109 HCO3, RA 46 ppm.
- I mashed in with 4.5 gallons of RO water, with 2 g epsom salt and 3 g CaCl added and 5 mL of 88% lactic acid, in order to hit a 152° mash temperature for 60 minutes.
- I used tap water for the sparge, starting with 1 gallon at 185°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then I added 3.75 gallons at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
- In total, I collected 7.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.042, for 73% mash efficiency.
- I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and other items per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I chilled to 75°, whirlpooled, and let the wort sit for around 40 minutes.
- I transferred to the fermenter, added the yeast directly from the package, and let the beer ferment at ambient (56°).
- I brewed the beer on 29 December 2019. Starting gravity was 1.055.
- I kegged the beer on 31 January 2020. Final gravity was 1.010, for 5.9% abv.
- Reddish amber and clear, with a creamy, persistent ivory head. It’s a beautiful beer!
- Caramel and rye spice aroma; very clean yeast profile. Not much for hop aroma.
- Malt-forward, with a nice (but not overwhelming) rye character and a caramel note with that. The bitterness comes through on the back end; it’s firm, not over the top, and keeps the malt from being too cloying. It’s maybe a touch sweeter than I might like, but that’s only a very minor degree.
- Medium body, not as light as I would expect for the lowish finishing gravity. That said, the body is perfect for this beer. Moderate carbonation, with an off-dry finish.
- Would I brew this again?
- Yep! This is a winner of a recipe, even in the second iteration. It’s definitely among my favorite beers. Both this and the past iteration (version 1.0) are quite solid. I might ditch the crystal 120 to dial back the sweetness slightly, but that’s a fairly minor tweak.