Brew Day: Blonde Ale and American Rye (Beers #37 & 38)

September 3, 2012 by Jack

Today I knocked out my first double brew day. I started by kegging the American Amber I brewed two weeks ago and harvesting the yeast to use in today’s batches.

This was my first attempt at reusing yeast, as well. I added a quart and a half of boiled & cooled distilled water to the carboy after racking off all the beer and swirled it up to get all the yeast & trub into suspension. I divided the slurry into two sanitized quart-sized mason jars and let it stratify while I got on with the brewing. Later in the day I decanted the yeast layer from each jar into three pint-sized mason jars, leaving the trub layer behind. I ended up pitching one and a half pints of yeast slurry into each batch I brewed. Perhaps I over-pitched, but I doubt it.

As for the beers I brewed today…

I started out with the Blonde Ale recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. I didn’t have enough US 2-row, so I made it with Maris Otter. I imagine this will have a significant impact on such a simple recipe (It’s just base malt & half a pound of Crystal 20), but I think it should be delicious nonetheless.

While I was sparging the Blonde Ale I began heating strike water for the Rye Beer. I timed it so that I could clean out the mash tun and dough in the next batch as soon as all the first batch’s wort was collected.

The rye recipe is based on the one from Brewing Classic Syles, but altered significantly from the last time I brewed it. Previous recipe:

– 6 lb US 2-row
– 3 lb, 12 oz Weyermann Rye Malt
– 3 lb White Wheat Malt
– 23 IBUs Willamette at 60 min
– 9g Willamette at 0 min
– 9g Centennial at 0 min
– Wyeast 1010 American Wheat Yeast

This time around:

– 6 lb US 2-row
– 6 lb Briess Rye Malt
– 1 lb Red Wheat Malt
– 24 IBUs Willamette at 60 min
– 15g Centennial at 0 min
– 10g Willamette at 0 min
– Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast

The last time I made the Rye Beer I felt that it did not have enough rye flavor. I said next time I’d either switch from Weyermann to Briess rye malt or use more of it and less wheat. I decided to do both. I also upped the late hopping a bit to give the beer a bit more interest. As for the yeast change, I just didn’t feel like buying special yeast for such a simple beer. Maybe a Kolsch yeast would bring out the rye character more, but that experiment can be done some other time. I did notice a massive improvement in rye aroma over the last batch. The wort smelled like rye bread (without caraway seeds).

These are simple beers and should be ready to drink in three weeks or less. I’m looking forward to both of them.

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