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Grainfather Blog - Week 48: Brewing a Summer Rye

By Grainfather - All Grain Brewing 19/11/2015 06:30 Comments


This week we caught up with Randy Dipner from Colorado, USA. He and his friend John Haven have joined the Grainfather craze and are helping us out by showing off the Grainfather at various beer festivals and events. They both have a huge bank of brewing knowledge and experience and are heavily involved in big events such as the Great American Beer Festival. Randy shares a great recipe with us this week.

"After receiving my Grainfather in mid-August, I decided to brew a small batch to test out all of the controls and features of the system before embarking on a series of demonstrations of the system at fall beer festivals in Colorado. After paging through Gordon Strong’s Modern Homebrew Recipes, I came upon his Summer Rye, which seemed like the perfect thing for a hot August brewing session.

I modified the recipe from his 6.5 US Gal (25 L), to 3.25 US Gal (12.5 L) for this first experiment with the new Grainfather. The total grain bill was 5.75 lb (2.6 kg) calling for about 3 US Gal (10.8 L) of mash water. After mashing in, I had to add about 1.4 US Gal (5.2 L) of additional water to raise the level to the top grain basket screen. That reduced the sparge water from 2.4 US Gal (9 L) to 1 US Gal (3.8 L).
I used a step mash process with the first rest at 131°F (55°C) for 15 minutes followed by a rest at 151°F (66°C) for 60 minutes. Total mash time was 75 minutes.
After lifting the grain basket and allowing it to drain I sparged resulting in a preboil volume of 4.4 gallons (16.5 L).
I boiled for 100 minutes with a 1 oz (28 g) addition of Sterling 8% alpha pellet hops at 90 minutes. At 0 minutes, the Grainfather heating element was turned off and the hops were allowed to steep for an additional 20 minutes prior to moving to the primary fermenter. 
The wort was cooled to 70°F (21°C), and 1056 American Ale yeast was pitched (OG 1.044). The wort was fermented in a glass carboy for 14 days with a transfer to a secondary vessel at 7 days. The FG was 1.006 for a finished ABV of about 5%. 
The still beer was primed with corn sugar and bottled.
The resulting Summer Rye is a nice medium gold colour with a rich white head that retains well. There are some fresh grassy notes in the aroma. The small amount of rye malt results in a light citrus taste from the rye that is quite pleasant on a hot day.
Grain Bill:
2 lb (0.9 kg.) US Two-Row
1.5 lb (0.7 kg.) UK Pale Ale Malt
1.5 lb (0.7 kg.) German Wheat Malt
0.75 lb (0.34 kg.) Rye mMlt
Hop Bill:
1 oz (28 g) Sterling 8% Alpha Pellet Hops
1056 American Ale
Crushed grains for Summer Rye
Mashing in
Pulling the grain basket to drain and sparge
Counter flow wort chiller in action
The outflow from the chiller doing double duty to water the flowers
The results – Summer Rye

Have you ever made your own Summer Rye? How did it turn out? Let us know by emailing

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