"Two words.... "Holy effing shiite"... (okay three words)... This is the new favorite of everything I've brewed so far... IPA fans absolutely love this beer... so much flavor... absolutely delicious. I've had the Ruthless Rye before but don't remember it being anywhere NEAR this good. This will be one of those that I try and keep on tap. Thanks for sharing the recipe!" - Jerz
Some commercial brewers are what I'd call "homebrewer friendly" and love to provide information about their beers. Sierra Nevada is one such brewery that has provided recipes and/or ingredients for some of their beers to homebrewers. I love them for this because up here in the beer wasteland we call Canada, none of their products are available for purchase locally so I have to make my own.
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye is an IPA brewed with rye. It is a new spring seasonal that recently replaced their existing beer called 'Glissade' (a maibock), now discontinued.
So what's it taste like? To quote Sierra Nevada:
Rugged and resilient, rye has been a staple grain for ages and its spicy black pepper-like flavor has been prized by distillers and brewers for centuries. Rye thrives in the harshest conditions and comes to life in Ruthless, a spicy and rugged IPA with fruity, citrus and herbal hop notes balanced with the dry spiciness of the rye, making the beer aggressive yet comforting to bolster against whatever the winter winds may bring.
This is a perfect spring IPA: Not overly heavy or bitter (55 IBU) and a reasonable alcohol level (6.6% ABV). With the rye making up only 13% of the grist, the peppery/spicy flavours are not what I would call over the top. It is subtle and balanced. If you'd prefer more of a rye punch, try increasing the amount of rye to 20-25% by lowering the 2-row and keeping the other specialty malt percentages the same.
Like wheat, rye is a huskless grain which can cause stuck sparges on some brewing setups if it is used in large quantities as the natural filter bed normally created by the husks is reduced. If stuck sparges are an issue on your setup, consider adding 0.25 to 0.5 lbs of rice hulls to the mash if you increase the amount of rye. If using our Electric Brewery setup, rice hulls are not required (more information).
This beer makes use of proprietary experimental hops at flame-out and dry hopping that are simply not available to homebrewers (yet!). They are said to be similar to a blend of Columbus and Amarillo so these have been used as substitutions. These work as they compliment the spiciness of the rye extremely well.
New to some brewers may be the concept of First Wort Hopping (FWH) mentioned in this recipe. This is a process where hops are added to the boil kettle as the wort is being sparged from the mash/lauter tun. Why is this done? To quote How to Brew:
As the boil tun fills with wort (which may take a half hour or longer), the hops steep in the hot wort and release their volatile oils and resins. The aromatic oils are normally insoluble and tend to evaporate to a large degree during the boil. By letting the hops steep in the wort prior to the boil, the oils have more time to oxidize to more soluble compounds and a greater percentage are retained during the boil.
A blind tasting among professional German brewers determined that the use of FWH resulted in a more refined hop aroma, a more uniform bitterness (i.e. no harsh tones), and a more harmonious beer overall compared to an identical beer produced without FWH.
Sierra Nevada's Bill Manley has been quoted as saying that this beer has more hop oils than any beer they have ever made except for Hoptimum Imperial IPA. I imagine one of the reasons is the First Wort Hopping which allows more hop oils to stay behind.
If you have gotten into the practice of skimming off the thick foam ('foop') that forms as you heat to boiling, you'll have to skip doing this here otherwise you'll be pulling out some of the hops early.
I brewed this beer for the first time on December 28, 2012. Brew up a batch and let me know how you like it!
JULY 2013 UPDATE: This recipe won third place at an American IPA brewing competition organized by my local homebrew club. Complete details here. (Our Green Flash West Coast IPA placed first!).
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Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA (batch #151)
Size: 12.0 US gal (post-boil)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Calories: 206 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.062 (1.056 - 1.075)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 - 1.018)
Color: 12.3 (6.0 - 15.0)
Alcohol: 6.6% (5.5% - 7.5%)
Bitterness: 55 (40.0 - 70.0)
*First wort hops are added to the boil kettle while you're sparging (before the wort is boiled). For IBU calculations, first wort hopping is said to be similar to a 20 minute addition.
Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine/chloramine (as required).
Water treated with brewing salts to: Ca=109, Mg=18, Na=16, Cl=50, S04=279
(Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less Sulphate).
For complete details on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustments guide.
1.25 qt/lb mash thickness. Single infusion mash at 152F for 90 mins. Mashout to 168F.
60-90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature). Collect 13.9 gallons in boil kettle.
Boil for 60 minutes. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
Cool wort to 66F and aerate well. Ferment at 66-68F until complete. Dry hop for 5-7 days.
Rack to CO2 purged brite tank (secondary), crash chill to near freezing (if possible), add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and let clear for 2-3 days.
Package as you would normally. I keg and carbonate on the low side (around 2 to 2.2 volumes of C02) to minimize carbonic bite and let the hop/malt flavour come through.
If you prefer to use liquid yeast, either of these is an excellent choice as they are the same clean fermenting Chico strain as US-05:
Link Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:30 pm Post subject:
I made this as my 2nd batch on the system. I did not understand my efficiency was so high that it came out much stronger then it should have been (seems like an odd issue?). Either way it still came out great. Next time I can reduce the grain bill to get more on target.
Link Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:00 pm Post subject:
It was to much grain. This is a late picture I have already done batches and 3 and 4 hitting the numbers I aimed for. I went from calculating my mash efficiency from 85% to 95% and now I tend to hit my number each time.
Joined: 25 Apr 2013 Posts: 1 Location: Rochester, NY
Link Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:16 pm Post subject:
I always look forward to the release of this beer from SN. Have a 5 gallon system scaled down but just like Kal"s. Have brewed about 20 batches on my system and have it dialed in. Do not get 95% like Kal but do get 85% consistently. Did this recipe following Kal"s procedures and water profile and must say that this beer came out quite close to the real deal. Thanks for the recipe and the only other thing I want to say is this. Kal, if you happen to read this my only complaint is this. You need to post more recipes!
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 9673 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)
Link Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:45 pm Post subject:
Thanks for the recipe and the only other thing I want to say is this. Kal, if you happen to read this my only complaint is this. You need to post more recipes!
The biggest issue is that I don't just want to post "anything"... I've only posted about 1/3 of the stuff I've made because I have slight tweaks or changes I wanted to try out with some of them to try and get them as good as I can before I list them here.
The other thing is that I want to give some information or a reason behind each of the recipes and that takes work. The internet's full of so many of what I'd call mediocre recipes since anyone can post anything. Most do not contain any information about what makes it special, why they like it, how good it is, and so forth. I don't want to fall into that pit. There are websites where thousands of people each post dozens of recipes with little to no information about them. Some are not even anywhere near the style the say they are. I don't understand the value of that at all. How's someone supposed to pick out the "good" ones? If you know how to do that, you know how to create the recipe yourself already.
<Sorry - that was a bit of a rant, wasn't it? I do intend on posting more recipes as I make them and tweak them!>
Link Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:45 pm Post subject:
Kegging this today. I finished a few points high, so I need to consider calibrating my temp probes. Regardless, the massive hop flavor overshadows a couple gravity points. I'm drinking a pint now(flat) and it is magical...good stuff.
Link Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:26 pm Post subject:
Enjoy! Let us know how you like it after it's carb'ed up and chilled.
Actually since I cold crashed it prior to kegging, it was already chilled. It's carbonated already
I drank a couple of glasses last night and it was delicious. Very resiny and assertive bittering and the aroma and hop flavor is very close to the original on-tap version. Truly a satisfying beer. I think that I may mash 1 degree higher next time as a matter of personal preference.
Link Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:24 pm Post subject:
Two words.... "Holy effing shiite"... (okay three words)... This is the new favorite of everything I've brewed so far... IPA fans absolutely love this beer... so much flavor... absolutely delicious. I've had the Ruthless Rye before but don't remember it being anywhere NEAR this good. This will be one of those that I try and keep on tap. Thanks for sharing the recipe! _________________ mmmmmm... beer....
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