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brewing honey rye ale

Honey Rye Ale


A while back, I’d created a recipe for an Amber Rye Ale.  Overall, I was pretty happy with it, and wanted to come back to it eventually.  Recently, I’d been wanting to play with some honey malt, and felt like this would be a great way to do it.  The original Amber Rye was based on a Fat Tire Clone, and the honey malt seemed like a nice addition that flavor profile.

The brew was made differently than usual, which made it extra exciting.  I did the mash at home, then traveled to a friend’s house to boil with 2 others in on his basement brewing setup.  After all this time, it was the first time I’d brewed at the same time as other people, so it was really cool.

All-Grain Recipe: Honey Rye Ale



  • 8 lb. – American 2-row
  • 2 lb. – Rye Malt
  • 1 lb. – Munich Malt
  • 1 lb. – Honey Malt
  • 8 oz. – Victory Malt

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .6 oz. – Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Crystal (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min



  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on American Amber Ale
  • OG 1.056 / TG 1.010
  • 6.01% ABV | Color: 11.8 °SRM | ~33.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 12/02/12, Secondary 12/30/12, Kegged 01/13/13
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

Brewing the Honey Rye Ale


The Mash. Totally missed my goal of 152°.  Mashed in 4 gallons of water at 164° for a thickness of 1.3 qt/gal.  Rest for 1 hour, drain in to brew kettle for one hour.

The Boil. Indoor boil, in friend’s basement. Added Whirlfloc and the Wort Chiller near the end of the boil.

Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to indoor shop sink. Added 30-40 seconds of oxygen.

Fermenting. Basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why).  Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Honey Rye


Pretty pleased with this one.  I love the honey malt with the rye.  I think the two play really well together, and it’s a combo I’d like to revisit.  The flavor is really nice, but the balance is shifted a little far in the sweet direction.  Looking back at the recipe, I need to shift percentages quite a bit.  I’d only used 64% 2-row, and I think that needs to get around 80, or higher.  Rye was 16%, which is probably okay, but I might increase that with the 2-row.  Munich/honey/victory clocked in 20%, which (in hindsight) is crazy high.  I’d keep those around 10% next time.

This one was a crowd pleaser.  Easy to drink, not too dark, not too hoppy.  A little sweet, but that doesn’t bother most people.


Amber Rye : Batch 30 : All-Grain

I like to make unusual beers.  I’d been developing a fascination with Rye, and I needed to see what I could do with it.  I’ve had a few Rye beers that I really liked, but I’ve had a few more that I didn’t care for at all.  My goal was to aim toward the ones I prefer and see where I ended up.  In general, the Rye Beers I’ve liked have been the maltier, sweeter versions.  Thin, dry Rye’s don’t do much for me.

In creating this recipe, I dug up a Fat Tire Amber clone receipe and used it as mild inspriration.  The December 2010, BYO has a collection of great New Belgium Clones, and is worth picking up if you’re a fan of their beer (as I am).  I decided to keep the Pale base, as well as the Munich and Victory malts from the clone recipe, then I added 2lbs of Rye and 12oz of Honey Malt.  Honey is great with Rye, and I wanted to see how the Honey Malt would work.  For hops, I kept things pretty similar to the clone recipe, using East Kent Goldings and Willamette.  I used Wyeast 1056, as at this point I try to use that for just about everything.

Ingredients:  Amber Rye Ale

All-Grain Recipe

  • 8 lb American 2-row
  • 32 oz Rye Malt
  • 12 oz Munich Malt
  • 12 oz Honey Malt
  • 6 oz Victory Malt

Hop Additions

  • .8 oz East Kent Goldings (6.7%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz Willamette (4.7%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz East Kent Goldings (6.7%) – added end of boil, 0 min


  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.050 / FG 1.007
  • 5.64% ABV
  • Brewed 07/31/11.  Racked to Secondary 08/13/11.  Bottled 08/21/11

Brewing the Amber Rye

Nothing too exciting about the process on this one.  I fought the mash temperature a bit.  It started out too warm, then ended up cooler than I wanted it, ending up about 148°.

I boiled outdoors with my propane (turkey fryer) setup.  The unwatched pot boiled over a bit, which is more of a mess than a problem.  I let the boil roll 15-20 min before I started my hop additions.  Hop additions were uneventful, and I added my Wort Chiller with 10 minutes left in the boil.  Couldn’t find the Whirlfloc, which left the finished product hazier than I’d like.

The wort cooled a little slower than I would have liked, due to the heat of the July afternoon that it was brewed.  This didn’t seem to have any adverse effect on the final product.  I cooled to 81°.

This was the first in a run of three batches for a package of Wyeast 1056, my current yeast of choice.  I added about 40 seconds of oxygen to the wort, as well as about 1/2 gallon of water to get back to 5 gallons.  Fermentation took place at about 61° in my fermentation fridge.

I racked the brew over after two weeks.  Lots of floating yeast yet in the vessel.  Yeast went on to ferment an upcoming Black IPA.

Bottled one week later, mostly due to impatience.   Lots of settled yeast in the carboy – which makes sense given the lack of settling in the primary.

Drinking the Amber Rye

I won’t call this beer perfect, but I am really pleased with it.  Given that this was one of my first stabs at a completely unique recipe, I think I did really well.  The Rye comes through really nice – not too spicy, but easily noticeable.  The grain bill seems to have a nice balance, with a nice bit of sweetness that compliments the Rye nicely.  The beer is a little drier than I’d hoped for, which would be from my lack of temp control in the mash.  I’ll shoot for warmer next time, for sure.  The omission of whirlfloc is evident, as well, as the final product is pretty hazy.

I’m getting pretty critical of my beers, anymore, but I was really happy with this one.  I’ll certainly revisit this recipe sooner than later.