Nostalgia 101: 1st Rye Beer – The Rye Famine Monster

 The next beer is here – Roggen Hungersnot!  For me, there was a lot of uncertainty going into this beer.  Rye Beer is very similar to wheat beer, but it is supposed to be more difficult to deal with due to it’s higher protein content.  I’ve read a number of articles talking about stuck sparges and sticky messes – all aiming to place fear into the hearts of beer brewers.  Naturally, I take that as a challenge and I have to say that, after the brew day, it was pretty easy.

The last two times I’ve used my mash tun I’ve run into stuck sparge issues, but this time I used rice hulls.  They don’t add flavor or sugar, but they do help to set the filter bed and prevent sparge sticking.  They worked…we didn’t have any issues.  We were even hitting about 82-83% efficiency!  The boil was pretty normal until the foam started to ‘almost’ get out of control.  This was followed by some bubbling explodidation that ended up on johns foot.  It’s funny how much beer resembles a dangerous creature during the boil.  It gets angry, changes shape, foams at the mouth, and spews caustic fluid.

We again introduced a new piece of equipment to the mix –  A 1/6 HP Submersible Sump Pump.  When it came time to crash cool the wort we filled a bucket up with ice water and hooked the wort chiller up to the pump.  The aim was to reduce wasted water and pump ice water through the wort chiller…it was a success, but we did end up needing more ice – a 5 minute trip to Ralph’s solved the issue.

After the chill…it was smooth sailing.  We loaded the beer in to the 6.5 gallon carboy, pitched the yeast, and said Sayonara.  The beer tasted good.  All worries were over. No Worries.

No Worries?  As I got ready for bed that night I decided to check on the fermentor…I noticed a nice Krausen forming on top – wonderful!  I went up to brush my teeth and finished getting ready. I wanted to check on the rye monster one more time and the krausen had double in size…seemed to done though, but I added a blow off tube just in case.  Katie and I watched a movie in bed and when we finished we started to go to sleep.  I don’t know what it was, but I had to check on the fermentor again…I’m glad I did because it was exploding.  The foam had completed compromised the airlock and the blow off tube was shooting out junk.  The entire top of the carboy was completed foamified.  I removed the airlock and just left the tube sitting in the sanitizer.  Time for sleep.

This morning I changed the water as it was now brown and readied myself for the work day.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not done throwing up.  I guess I’ll see when I get home from work.

OTHER NEWS:  The Brown Shoe – Mon Chaussure Brun – The Brown Belgian – Give Me My Shoe…we call it many names.  It’s also known as AMAZING! What an amazing beer…I still cannot get over how good this beer is.  I’m praying that there aren’t any infections and I’m pretty sure there aren’t.  The beer is sweet, refreshing, has beautiful head, and finishes very nicely.  This is definitely going to get entered into the next contest.

I tasted the Kurbis Alter with John and was surprised to find that the alcohol bite was gone.  What was left was a very pumpkiny bold bodied dark ale.  It’s really good, but at this point there isn’t any carbonation.  I’m really looking forward to trying it in a few weeks.

We bottled two beers as Matts – Harvest Amber and Golden II.  Both seem to be on their way to being great beers.  Again my closet is overflowing with liquid assets.

That’s it for now – Fight on!

About Kristofor Barnes

Kip is the founder of Bierkast and co-founder of Los Angeles Ale Works. Picking up home brewing after college, he has since become an accomplished award winning home brewer, LA Beer Blogger, and author of the Beer Lover's Guide to Southern California. Kip is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema Television. He lives in Inglewood, CA with his sciency wife Katie. Follow him @bierkast or #FollowTheLAAW @laaleworks

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