Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Triptick (VIII) - Rye Beers

Rye beers are possibly some of the most under-rated beers on the craft market at the moment, usually flying under the radar to many shoppers when filling their basket with big hitting IPAs and rich stouts. I’m here to tell you just why you need to start enjoying these delicious beers and in usual Triptick style – letting 3 of them battle it out.

So, just what is a rye beer? Well, it’s literally replacing a portion of the barley malts during the brewing process with rye malt, no matter how little or much is used, so long as it is evident in the beer. Rye could be used in any type of beer but is generally not used due to the difficulties in filtering the wort. Both bitterness and hop volume are low to medium. They offer a more unique taste to the normal barley malts. They can add spicy notes and tanginess more distinctive to rye malts and can give the beer a rich ruby colour.

There are lots of different rye beers on the market, this article will give you the low down on a rye beer with cranberries, a deliciously juicy red rye IPA and a double digit ABV rye (barley) wine...


Drink Me Cranberry Rye – 5.9% ABV by Mad Hatter Brewing Company – Brewed in Liverpool, England.
The smell is like jellied cola bottle sweets and a heavy Belgian influence. The head is a lively bugger and stays around for the duration of the drink looking like an experiment in the science labs in school. The contents of the beer itself are really carbonated with the bubbles closely knitted together, unlike those on the top. There’s just the right amount of cranberries used, they could have gone whole hog with it but it’s just enough to give it a slight tart edge. Because of the two types of malts used you can taste quite an interesting yet complex malt base and interestingly a real Belgian tripel taste which I can only assume comes from the shear amount of malts used. Mad Hatter is on the ball with experimental beers at the moment but this, whilst flavoursome, is my least favorite of all three beers on show here. 3.5/5.

Albino Squid Assassin – 7.4% ABV by Brewdog – Brewed in Aberdeen, Scotland.
This one is more an American style in the form of a red rye IPA, or Rye – PA, and is fast becoming one of my favourite beer styles. Not only is this beer fantastic, but the artwork on the can is really bold and striking which is in stark contrast to the usual Brewdog designs. The beer itself pours a slick and cloudy blood red colour with bursting red berry aroma. It’s such a juicy brew; it leaves the mouth salivating for yet another mouth full. Striking fruit flavours come in the form of red berries and orange and used in full force adding to the mouth-watering juiciness. The malts are subtle but certainly there, the rye malts in this case offering a more caramel style flavour. This is a complex beer, it’s big and it’s bold, Brewdog have really nailed this one, let’s just hope that this isn’t just a one off and that they continue to make it. 4.25/5.

Rye Smile – 10.6% ABV by Weird Beard Brew Co & Hanging Bat – Brewed in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Continuing with my current Weird Beard obsession here, these guys have provided me with beers from all spectrums that I didn’t even think I liked, and turned me into a fan. The beer in question here is not a barley wine but instead - a rye wine. The smell is of liquorice and fizzy vimto, it’s similar in colour to vimto too and what head it pours with quickly disappears. The taste is - wow, certainly unique. You taste the alcohol right away; I probably shouldn't have had this one on a school night!  There’s a double burn goes down the throat from alcohol and a touch of chilli, strangely. A hint of smoky tobacco along with dried fruits like figs and apricots add to the complexity.  It’s really rich and packed full of flavour. I really didn't think I'd enjoy this one much so I was very happy being proved wrong. So many different flavours, so many chances to fall down, but it’s all married together deliciously, leaving me with, a rye smile…get it… 4/5