Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ryetronic Pale Ale

Back in January, I resolved to try and brew more session ales this year.  This decision was made for a number of reasons, including the challenge of making flavorful lower gravity beer.  Last month, in support of the goal, I decided to make up a recipe for a pale ale with around 3 percent ABV.  Lower gravity ales I have made in the past have been bland or watery, particularly around the middle of the flavor profile.  So, I decided to boost the middle by using flaked rye, which is not malted, and should provide both flavor and mouthfeel.  Now that the beer, called Ryetronic Pale Ale, has aged and carbonated, I figured I would post some tasting notes and the recipe.

The beer pours golden copper colored hue with a thick and pillowy white head.  The head forms slightly irregular lumps as the pint is consumed and leaves a nice lacing pattern on the glass.  The beer's aroma is spicy and interesting, including hints of biscuit and bread crust.

The beer's flavor is initially spicy along the lines of pepper or all-spice.  This character fades to a mid-palate creaminess, with a slightly slick mouthfeel similar to an oatmeal stout.  The flavor ends with a hint of bitterness, but one that is barely there.  This smooths out of a period of several seconds before rinsing clean.

Overall, the beer is very drinkable and balanced.  It has more character that other lower gravity ales I have made in the past, which have often been watery and bland.  I think I would like a bit more character in the middle of the flavor palate and would consider bumping up some of the specialty malts to try and achieve that.  Perhaps increasing the crystal malt or the biscuit malt would provide that missing character.  But, overall, I am extremely happy with how this 3 percent ABV session ale has turned out.

Have you brewed an interesting lower gravity ale in the past?  If so, what are some tips that you could share on how to keep these ales both flavorful and drinkable?




Recipe: Ryetronic Pale Ale
Brewer: Tom Wallace
Style: American Pale Ale

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 7.97 gal
Post Boil Volume: 7.02 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal  
Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.037 SG
Estimated Color: 7.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 43.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Mash: 155 F for 60 min

7 lbs - Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)      
8.0 oz - Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)        
8.0 oz - Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)    
8.0 oz - Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM)      
12.00 g - Warrior [16.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
10.00 g - Perle [7.70 %] - Boil 60.0 min    
1.00 Items - Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
14.00 g - Cascade [7.30 %] - Boil 5.0 min
14.00 g - Challenger [7.20 %] - Boil 5.0 min  
14.00 g - Cascade [7.30 %] - Boil 1.0 min    
14.00 g - Challenger [7.20 %] - Boil 1.0 min  
1.0 pkg  - Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)    

3/23/13 - Racked to secondary, as needed the larger carboy for another beer.  Beer is very clear and has a neutral nose, but a rather full flavor with biscuit and spice, at room temperature.

4/14/13 - Kegged the beer.  Nose is neutral.  Beer has a pretty copper color.  Flavor is smooth and light  with hints of caramel and biscuit.

4/29/13 - Beer is really turning out nicely and has been well received by friends.  If any changes should be made, perhaps bump the biscuit or crystal malt for more mid-palate flavor.


  1. Looks like a tasty beer. I too find that sometimes my attempts to brew a session beer results in a beer that lacks complexity. Your use of rye adds a nice level of flavor. When I try and brew flavorful session beers, I will either go in one of two directions. Either with a really expressive yeast (since malt and hop flavors are going to be minimal). A low gravity saison, or blonde table beer using a belgian strain. Another trick I like to use is to either mash a bit higher or use a little bit morse specislty grains than I normally would, to keep the beer from attenuating too much. Or perhaps even use a less attenuative yeast strain (a lot of the English strains tend to not be overly dry).

  2. Thanks for the comment, Phillip. Those are good suggestions that I will need to explore. I have a 2.2% pale ale on now that also has rye in it, but I like the Ryetronic better. I was also considering playing with flaked barley to add mouthfeel, like it is commonly used in stouts.


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