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05-06-05

Beer Review #290 Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

05-06-03On my last visit to the beer store I saw a large display of a new beer to the area, Terrapin Beer Company of Athens, Ga. I never tasted their beer and a Rye Pale Ale sounded delightful, so I picked up a six pack along with a few other beers.

This Rye Pale Ale pours a light copper color with a thin white head. It is perfectly clear and looks really nice in the light. The nose didn’t give me the sense of hops. I got a strong dose of honey-like sweetness and some bready notes. There was a slight rye malt, but not as much as what I was hoping for. After a bit more smelling, I finally found a light citrus hop odor. I like my pale ales a little more malt forward, so this one fit the bill.

The honey carries over to the flavor and the rye/honey combination really plays nicely. The bread also comes in and adds a nice roundness to the taste of this beer. Hops come in at the end and provide a light hop bitterness. I mainly got pine from the hops and oddly no rye spiciness. I know that some say that rye doesn’t deliver a spicy component, but I would argue that it does, especially when given a proper hop profile to work with. It’s one of those flavors that can be masked or enhanced depending on what is around it. This beer doesn’t add to the spicy notes that I’m used to at the end, but it does allow for the rye to shine upfront.

This isn’t a bad pale ale, but I do wish it had something more to it. There is a lot of potential there, but it tastes a bit watered down to me. I’m going to contradict myself from earlier and say that I wanted this beer to be more aggressive with the hops. Malt forward is great, but in a pale ale, the hops also need to shine. I have a few other beers from this brewery to review but I think I will pass on this one next time around. It’s not a bad beer by any means, it’s just not one for me. (more…)

Barrel Aged Rye IPA Recipe

04-06-02I said that I would get a recipe up for this beer, and I finally have. The idea behind this beer is to get a Rye IPA that is high in gravity and that can take on the flavors or a used whiskey barrel in a positive way. The recipe is pretty simple until you get to the hops, I went a little crazy there.

  • 11 lbs. 2-row (I used Rahr)
  • 3.33 lbs Rye malt
  • 1 lb Crystal 40
  • 1 lb Table sugar
  • 1 oz Magnum @ 60 min (14.5% AA)
  • 1/2 oz each of Amarillo (8.5% AA), Citra (12% AA), and Simcoe (13% AA) @ 20 mins
  • 1/2 oz each of Amarillo (8.5% AA), Citra (12% AA), and Simcoe (13% AA) @ 10 mins
  • Dry hop with Chinook (13% AA) for last three days of aging

This is by far the craziest that I have ever gone with hops. Never before have I used five different hops in a beer, let along hops that have such high alpha acids. The expected stats for the beer can be seen below:

  • OG: 1.084
  • FG: 1.021
  • ABV: 8.35%
  • IBUs: 104

While I know that IBUs over 100 cannot be tasted, I hope that the power and mix of hops adds a nice complexity to the beer. I do not want the whiskey flavor or oak flaovr to be starts in this beer, but rather compliments to an already solid beer. This one is aging now and will be for a bit, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go.

Beer Reviews #276 Ticket to Rye

03-02-03 Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is a Rye IPA, dubbed Ticket to Rye. I take it as a play on the board game Ticket to Ride. I would like to take credit for incorporating Ticket to Ride into beer before anyone else to my knowledge. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, example 1. Again, if you haven’t played it, you should.

Ticket to Rye pours a nice caramel brown color with bit of red mixed in when held up to the light. It has a two finger off-white head along with a bit of haze. The nose has some solid citrus and pine hops. The hops are edging on pungent, but don’t make it all of the way there. Some really hoppy beers have a different level of hop aroma and produce an odor that takes on a life of its own. This beer is close, but stays out of the world. The hops end with a nice spicy note that may or may not come from the rye malt. There is some sweet malt mixed in the smell as well but the hops are the showcase here.

The taste has some really nice hoppy flavors. The citrus from the nose isn’t really there but the pine sure is. The spicy hops also make a valuable flavor contribution. The hops actually lean a bit towards the grassy flavor spectrum. A lot of people talk poorly about grassy flavors but it works in some beers, this being one of them. The malt flavor is not distinct but it is present and provides a solid backbone for the hop.

I’m a big fan of rye IPAs and this is a good one. It finishes nice and dry. I don’t get a lot of rye. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it. As an IPA this beer provides a good hop punch with a solid malt backbone. Ticket to Rye comes in at a nice 7.1%. It is very enjoyable and I would be happy to purchase this beer. (more…)

Beer Review #267 Rye on Rye

02-02-03As the cold weather settles in again my body craves big beers. Boulevard Brewing Company promised to fill my cravings. Rye on Rye is part of their Smokestack Series and it comes in at an impressive 12% ABV. The bottle says that it is “33% ale, 67% ale aged in rye whiskey barrels.” I’m always wary of whiskey barrel aged beers as they can be hit or miss. The hits are usually good but the misses are pretty bad. The bottle label also says that there were only 4,123 cases of this beer produced.

Rye on Rye pours orangish brown and is slightly cloudy. It comes with a solid, slightly off-white head. The nose is packed with whiskey odors. There is also some spicy hop aromas mixed with tobacco. I didn’t notice a drop of heat (unless you count whiskey) which shocked the hell out of me. Usually these types of beers are drenched in heat.

On the first taste I got a really nice sweet malt flavor that quickly transitioned into a nice whiskey. There are notes of tobacco to be found in there as well. There were not really any hops to make note of but the spiciness of the whiskey and rye malt combination came through on the end. One thing I love about this beer is that it warmed on the whole way down. The warming feeling was gentle and slowly increased in perceived intensity.

This beer currently takes the cake for being my favorite whiskey barrel aged beer. It is super smooth and balanced in every way. While the whiskey is noticeable, it highlights the other flavors. For a strong beer, it doesn’t present any upfront heat. My wife, who usually hates this style of beer, fell in love with it as well. This is one of the more outstanding beers that I have had in a long time. If you are lucky enough to get one of these, treasure it. I loved it and I hope that I can find another bottle soon. (more…)

Beer Review #208 Ruthless Rye IPA

I’m not sure how long this beer has been out, but it recently showed up on  the shelves of my local beer store and it hasn’t left since it showed up (like a lot beers tend to do). Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of  Chico, CA and it is obviously a rye IPA. I’ve had a number of different takes on rye beers (pale ales and doulbe IPAs among others) and I have really liked the extra flavor component that it gives a beer. It imparts a very distinct note to the malt character of a beer that fits perfectly with hops.

Ruthless Rye IPA pours a nice amber color and has an off-white head. The nose is packed with bright hops that leap out of the glass. The hops are full of citrus aromas with some piney smells lingering in the background. There is also a spiciness to the nose. Some people might attribute this to the rye as rye is often said to be spicy in beers, but I think it is more from a mix of hops than anything else. Maybe the rye does impart a smell, but I didn’t notice it enough to make note of.

On my first tasting I was impressed with the amount of malt that comes through on such a hoppy smelling beer. The malt is very nice and slightly sweet with a good amount of rye flavor. The spiciness pops up again but it is slightly different than a hop spice as a spicy hop flavor comes in quickly after the rye flavor departs.

I found this beer to be super drinkable and something that I could have on a regular basis. I plan on getting more so that I can try to construct a homebrew recipe around this beer. I liked it that much. The flavors are very balanced and while the hops are prevalent, they are not the stars of the show. The balance is what is key to this beer and the rye flavor just adds a cherry to the top of this one. (more…)