Hey to my fellow brewers!
I'm a newbie and my 5th all-grain batch is/was a Rye IPA. I do 'partigyle BIAB' and read all about rye first. I read the forums here and elsewhere. I used rice hulls, but thought since i BIAB it would not be much of a problem. I also decided to do a beta-glucan rest. Note: i am a woman who brews alone in my city apartment, and though i have good form & ergonomics, i am not very big/strong.
Well HA HA HA!! I felt like i was wrestling alligators! I ended up bruised & battered, including one huge black bruise on my arm and i am thinking 'huh? how did that happen?' Maybe from throwing equipment around all day?! It must have been a 12 hour day from milling to the last pot scrubbing. I think i was in an altered state of consciousness.
Where do i start?
First, i had no idea rye was so hard to mill! i mill finer because i BIAB. It took me forever to set & re-set my roller gap for it. I milled it with my other grains (mistake 1) & ended up having to re-mill about half my total grain, probably leading to too small a particle size. I also milled the flaked rye because someone said he got better extraction (and i am all about extraction, mates!)
Next, my beta-glucan rest failed because my cheap floating thermometer was slow & inaccurate. I mashed thick (1/1) at first because i thought i would do the BG rest and step-increase with boiling water to the sacch rest to my target mash ratio (1.5/1). So after BG FAIL, I added water to mash at 149 average, which went well, but i ended up with a stuck sparge. I usually bag-dunk sparge but *nothing* was draining out of my bag!
Soooo, I drained the mash by hand in batches in a colander & freed my poor BIAB bag (!). Then i batched sparged directly in my brewkettle - pretty hot to prevent more caking, & that went OK. I semi-vorlaufed, i guess, but only a little.
Removed spent grain from the BK & had a great, rolling boil. It took about 40 minutes for my copper coil to cool the wort down to 73 or so - not great, not terrible - but damn if this wort was not SO THICK and full of fine, floury muck. I just could not filter the stuff fast enough, so i said 'what the hell' and just added to my primary and said a little prayer, if you will.
WHO KNEW RYE WOULD BE SO DIFFICULT?!
Ferment has been going well so far (we're on day 3 using WLP001 from a starter and krausen has settled down, airlock affixed, bottom flocculation happening & i've had pretty good temp control from between 67F to 72F). The wort sample I took for my hydrometer - after being refrigerated - was about 50% clear, beautiful, tasty wort - just like i wanted - on top, and 50% thick suspended gunk on the bottom. I got a postboil reading, not sure how accurate it was because of the thick wort. Otherwise, i think this has the potential to be an incredibly tasty beer with a spicy rye heartiness and a floral orange nose.
I think I am going to get only 2 gal of this 4-gal batch because there is so much dreck! And so i want to fine it. I have read whatever I could here about fining rye beers, but i would love some wisdom. I did use whirlfloc but my wort just laughed at it. So far it seems like the best option would be either a kieselsol-chitosan product (KC Superkleer) or just kieselsol (Biofine Clear - so it would be friendly to vegans). I know it might not be perfect, but it was so beautiful coming out of the fridge, separated, so i would love it to be clear. Has anyone used these - can anyone discuss? I don't know if my dreck is primarily particulate, protein or tannin or a combo. I do have a 'tea' taste, but it's not astringent. The UK First Gold hops are kind of orange-pekoe tea like in flavor.
Note: I do not have a kegerator or an extra fridge - i cannot 'cold crash' anywhere but a bucket or my bathtub! And that would mean buying a lot of ice at Safeway & lugging it up 2 flights. Which is ok if it must be so!
Here are my own future lessons I think i am going to apply - what do you think?
1) Have LHBS mill the damn rye separately
2) Don't mill the rye flakes
3) Use a better thermometer and do the damn beta-glucan rest. One dude said he did his for EIGHTY minutes. Is this --- you know - normal?
4) Double my rice hulls to 4% - what the heck!
5) Mash thinner, even for a multi-step mash and even if it means sacch resting with all the water and no sparge (this is BIAB after all).
6) Suck it up and lauter for a half hour with drained wort.
7) Be prepared to be at it all day next time i do this and be prepared to lose a lot of beer to the trub
8) Keep in primary 3 weeks before racking
9) Keep in secondary 2 more weeks to let settle & clear
10) Dry hop for 5 days before fining
11) Fine before bottling
Here's the basic recipe I worked up & my results:
"Don't Tell Me What To Do Rye IPA"
Recipe volume: 4 gallons
70% Maris Otter pale
14% Rye malt
11% Flaked rye
2% Crystal 10
3% Crystal 80
[Rice hulls 2% of rye weight]
60 Min - Centennial & UK First Gold
20 Min - Citra & UK First Gold
15 Min - Whirlfloc
10 Min - Amarillo, Centennial & Citra
Flameout - Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, UK First Gold
Dry Hop in Secondary - Amarillo, Centennial, UK First Gold
Mashed at 149F for 70 minutes
Wort Ph about 5.0
Measured estim boil gravity - 1.063
Measured estim OG - 1.077
Target FG - 1.014 to 1.018
Target IBUs - 70
Target avg ferment temp - 68F
Actual measured extraction efficiency - 85.6%
Any wisdom on success with rye beers, esp if you BIAB, would be great. Any wisdom on fining rye beers, especially. I would like my vegan friends to be able to try but if not that is OK too (the beer is more important than dietary habits!!). You live, you learn, right?!