Thursday, February 10, 2011

RFP - Jeff's Concept - Danish Dark Rye Bread

I have to admit that I am pretty excited to see how our Recipe Formulation Project is progressing.  The feedback we've recieved so far from readers has been very rewarding and inspirational - let's hope the results will live up to the hype.

So what did I want to do with my beer and the three ingredients I pulled for the project?  Based on the ingredients, something just clicked and I automatically started to think of Danish or Scandinavian breads.  Perhaps it was my mother-in-law lamenting about her lost Danish cookbook or something else, but the ingredients I had were perfect for taking my beer down this path.  The concept, which is described below, quickly began running with on its own feet.

To recap, my allotted ingredients that were randomly selected are:
Danish Dark Rye Bread
Concept: To make a very drinkable beer reminiscent of Scandinavian dark rye or pumpernickel bread. I’d like to get a luscious character with notes of rye, sweet dark chocolate and coffee, but give it enough of a residual sweet impression to remind someone of a freshly bakes loaf of pumpernickel. Many of the Danish or Swedish recipes for sweet breads also combine the use of cardamom. As such, I’m going to fold that into the mix to give it a little complexity and depth. Cardamom is supposed to have a savory, aromatic flavor with notes of citrus which I think will help brighten up the dark bread character slightly. As I started to go down this path, my third ingredient (Extra Special Malt) got more and more isolated from the idea – I just don’t want that burnt sugar or raison/prune character, so it eventually got dropped.

When all is said and done, I want to beer to be sessionable and a bit more on the dry side to promote drinkability. Part of this has to do with the practical aspects of this project. Given I’ll end up with 5 gallons of the beer and I know I’ll rebrew it for another 5 gallons, I want to make sure that it’s something I can rip through pretty quick. I am a fan of The Bruery’s Rugbrod beer (Danish Rye Beer that Tom and I have enjoyed together), but at 8+% with considerable body, it’s nothing something I could turn the keg over quickly on.

Here’s a rough draft of the recipe and why I pulled in the ingredients I did:

Rough Amount
Munich Malt
I want to get that underlying bready, malty character that I get in Munich Dunkels, so I went with Munich as the 'base' malt per se.
Rye Malt
Required ingredient.  This will add the spicy, dry, rye character to complement the bready theme.  Everything I have read said to keep it between 10-20%.
US 2-Row Malt
With Munich being the base malt, I am concerned about the diastatic power of the mash.  So to bump it up, I'll add 1-2 lbs of 2-row to bolster the enzymes.
Crystal 40 Malt
Chosen to add a bit of toffee/molassas sweetness to help balance some of the roast and dark malts.
Flaked Oats
Added to improve the body and add a luscious character.
Chocolate Rye Malt
Partially added to bump up the color, but also to add a subtle roast / coffee flavor.  Given this is a Rye beer, I wanted to use this instead of normal chocolate malt.  Recommended amounts: 1-5%
(1 tsp?)
Required ingredients.  I'm hoping the flavor contributions will add a contrast and lighten up the dark bread character from the rest of the ingredients.  The amount to add, however, is a mystery.  I've read it can be pretty powerful, so I would rather start small and slowly increase it.

For hops, I want to keep the bitterness low (20-25 IBU) mostly from a 60 minute addition of Perle, Magnum, or Williamette. Also, to work off the savory/citrus character of the cardamom, I’ll probably add a small addition of Centennial at 15 min just to give it a little complementing character – to diversity the complexity.

As for yeast, I’m still going back and forth. Originally I was going to do this as a lager to make it clean and focus on the malt/spices (perhaps the Danish lager yeast from Wyeast). However, I’m not sure if it is worth the lagering effort with all the other flavor components. Alternatively, I’m thinking about using a well attenuating English ale yeast and ferment it cold (65F) to keep the ester production down. If I did both of these yeast side by side, I’m under the assumption that I might not get too much difference, in which case the ale yeast will just be an easier step.

As I continue to put the recipe together, I would love to hear if anyone has any thoughts or suggests for the beer - drop us a comment or shoot me an email



"From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world."

Recipe Formulation Project - Reference Guide
Tom's Recipe:
Jeff's Recipe:

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