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Help a noob with a recipe

My homebrew club is doing a bock event in march and I want to brew a bock and lager it over the winter. I really want to do a traditional rye bock, or maybe even a rye doppelbock. I just saw the rye extract available here, should I just find an extract recipe for a traditional bock and sub in some rye grains or use the rye LME instead of all the light LME extracts I see in most bock recipes??? BTW this will be only my second homebrew and I am not comfortable with all grain brewing just yet…first beer came out good, so I wanted to semi-craft my own recipe for my second brew…thanks for any input.

I’ve never heard of a Traditional Rye Bock.

For your second beer, however, tackling a high gravity lager is a high goal. Do you have a way to control the temperature of the fermentation at 48-50°F? Have you figured out a way to make a 1+gallon starter?

+1. Really early to tackle a lager. If you must, I would read up on a LOT of the lager techniques as it is very difficult, especially your first one.

I wouldn’t sweat it that much. Lager brewing is NOT rocket science, especially if you’re going the extract route. There’s really only a couple main things you need to know.

First, you need to ferment cold. If you have a garage or basement around 45 to 55 F, you’re all set. If you don’t, and you don’t have a temperature controllable refrigerator, then you can’t make a lager. Plain and simple. You can get close if you use Kolsch yeast at 60 F, but that’s about as close as you could get with an ale yeast. Any warmer than that, and I’d still try Kolsch yeast but it might be more funky at the higher temperatures.

Second, you need to pitch in a BUTTLOAD of yeast if you ferment at low temperature. Most standard recipes for lagers these days ask you to make a one-gallon size yeast starter. Basically, make a small batch of extract wort without any hops with an original gravity of 1.040, and add your yeast in there for a good 2, 3, 4 days until there is a sizable yeast cake on the bottom. Then brew the regular 5 gallon batch of beer that you want like normal. When cool and you’re ready to pitch your yeast, pour all the beery liquid out of the starter and just add the yeasty sludge from the bottom. And you’re golden.

Third, patience. Cold fermentations will take some time. And DON’T rack it too quickly, or it will stall your fermentation. Let it go for 4-5 weeks before racking. Patience.

As far as a recipe goes, I think a rye bock is an awesome idea. If there is such a thing as rye extract (I honestly haven’t seen it), then go for it. You’ll want to add a pound of some kind of simple sugar, like cane sugar or brown sugar or rock candy, to thin this beer out (these sugars will ferment 100% trying to reach a gravity towards 1.000). This is important because rye beers tend to be VERY thick and chewy. As far as specialty grains, you could throw in a few ounces of chocolate malt, honey malt, whatever you like. Play around. It will be great. For the hop bill, I highly recommend nothing but a bittering addition of a couple ounces of German style hops, and it really doesn’t matter which one – Hallertauer, Tettnanger, Hersbrucker, Perle, Mt. Hood, Northern Brewer, some others – they’re all good, and they add some nice spiciness to the mix. You can use other hop varieties, but personally if you have no strong opinions, I highly recommend the German stuff. No late hop additions for flavor or aroma required. A bock should be elegant in its simplicity, I think.

Don’t sweat it too much. This is going to be a great beer. Have fun with it. And patience. Just make sure you’re patient with it. I remember how antsy I was on my first few batches. But with lagers, you need to take a back seat and let it do its thing for as long as it wants. Let the yeast tell you what they want to do, not the other way around.

And that’s it. Good luck.

[quote]If there is such a thing as rye extract (I honestly haven’t seen it), then go for it.[/quote]New to the market!!! Just did me a rye stout that got bottled last night and it was DELICIOUS!! I had to make myself carb this up instead of sitting down and putting back a few. ... syrup.html

+1 dmtaylo2

If you have a temp controlled fridge, that’s half of the equation.

The other half is pitch quantity. Go to Mr. Malty and figure out what you have to make and you should be golden.

Good luck!

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