This red IPA is identical to our previous attempt with one excpetion: we used rye instead of wheat as a backing grain. We were pleased with the original, wheat-inclusive batch but wanted to see what rye’s ruddy, grainy spice would contribute.
We worked through the keg with the help of a bunch of friends and, over the course of about 3 weeks, got to enjoy this beer fresh and slightly fading as we worked our way down to the dregs. The beer changed a good bit in that time, in ways both good and bad.
Tangerine, pine, and grapefruit dominate thanks to Summit, Chinook, and Centennial hops, but there’s a pleasant, bready maltiness behind it. I want little or no specialty malt whatsoever in most of my IPAs, but in this case it’s deliberate, and it works for me.
Amber with ruby and caramel tones. Good carbonation and a good inch of sticky, white head thanks to all the rye. Decent lacing.
As a young beer, rye pushed prominently against the hops. In addition to leading hop flavors of tangerine and pine, rye infused the beer with a rough-hewn spiciness, something surprisingly earthy and almost husky. As a darker rye IPA, it worked, but the rye honestly felt a little too pungent to me. The pure drinkability of the wheat batch was sacrificed for rye brawn.
As it aged, though, the hops and rye struck a nice balance. That raw, young flavor subsided, leaving in its wake a moderately spicy, slightly malt-forward IPA that still packed plenty of hop wallop. A few weeks old, this beer suited me much more than it did at first tapping.
Pleasantly crisp with just enough zip from the carbonation to keep the hops prominent. Final gravity was about 1.011, so the beer is by no means insubstantial or thin, but it works over the palate quickly. As it aged, it felt a lot better going down.
This batch grew into its own. It just took a little time. I do enjoy the rye addition, but I still prefer the original batch that relied on wheat. The hops simply danced a bit harder without rye as competition.