Some observant fans have noticed our penchant for the off-beat grain, rye. While all beers are composed of some combination of barley, wheat, corn, rice, oats and rye (not necessarily in that order, and at least for the cereal portion of any mash, that is) rye is generally considered to be the most difficult to brew with, due its biology and, therefore, chemical composition. However, at DEBC, we welcome a challenge and are willing to do things the hard way, as long as the beer is better, which is our highest priority, hell, it’s a calling.
Rye is hardy grain, suitable for growth in soil which many of the tastiest mutations of grass (grains) would wither and perish and in climates far too chilly for even the hardiest corn, rice and wheat. It is one of the few ingredients we’re willing to take from as far away as the Great White North (Canada).
Bringing us to ‘Why?’ why bring in a rather exotic grain which is so difficult to brew with? In a word: flavor. We love the spicy flavor, full bodied texture and dry finish wrought by this rustic and hardy cereal.
As the head brewer for Deep Ellum Brewing Company I find that when used appropriately and within the proper context that rye can compliment almost any style. We use this to our advantage in styles as diverse as: Pilsner, Imperial Stout, Belgian-style Tripel and Double IPA. Even to a lesser extent, rye finds service in our Double Brown Stout, American Barleywine-style Ale and others.
As with all our ingredients and recipes, rye is used to achieve a precise and delicate balance between malt derived flavors, hops, yeast derived fermentation characteristics, adjuncts and matrix effects resulting from interactions between the constituent components.
In the future we’ll also explore the exploits triticale, a hybrid of rye and wheat, in our Wit-type offering and other TBA projects, and break down some ingredients and techniques that help make our brewery tick.
Cheers and beers,
Head Brewer -DEBC