We picked a great day to produce a beer we have never done before. We used rye as a majority fermentable for the first time and rice hulls in the mash. We also tried a different process with the lauter tun than we have done in the past.

Things started out smoothly enough with the grinding of the grains and smashing down some of Michelle’s breakfast casserole and coffee. However, things would get more challenging as the day went on. We relied on some deft problem solving skills from the group to make what we think will be a decent beer.

When the water got to the target temperature we mashed in. We may have miscalculated the strike temperature needed to compensate for the rice hulls as we did not get to our target mash temperature. We also missed our target final gravity on the low side by a bit. This beer is going to be drier and have a lighter body than we planned initially.

Brewmaster- Kyle L.

Brewers- Alan B, Charles U, Dickie S, Rob S,

Batch – 20 G

Mash Bill

  • 24# Rye Malt
  • 4# Wheat malt
  • 6# 80L Crystal Malt
  • 6# Pilsner Malt
  • 3# Rice Hulls

Hop Bill-

4 oz Hallertau 4.1% for 60 minutes


Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Wheat


Primary Fermentation

Primary fermentation was quite the mess for Kyle. He woke to the explosive overflow of yeast and wort in his basement. All the pressure from the yeast destroyed our barrel fermenter. Lots of cleaning (made easier with child labor) and a larger airlock was needed. We used the same yeast for the Roggenbier as we did for the Weizen Bier. That should have been a warning that complications could occur since we had similar issues with the Weizen. But we failed to recognize the potential problems. Below is an excerpt from regarding the strain of yeast we used.

YEAST STRAIN: 3068  |  Weihenstephan Weizen™

The classic and most popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide. This yeast strain produces a beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics. The balance can be manipulated towards ester production through increasing the fermentation temperature, increasing the wort density, and decreasing the pitch rate. Over pitching can result in a near complete loss of banana character. Decreasing the ester level will allow a higher clove character to be perceived. Sulfur is commonly produced, but will dissipate with conditioning. This strain is very powdery and will remain in suspension for an extended amount of time following attenuation. This is true top cropping yeast and requires fermenter headspace of 33%.

Particularly interesting is the last sentence of the description. The headspace needed is something we failed to accommodate both times we used this strain of yeast. Kyle took a short video of the raging yeast bubbles and some pics of the damaged fermenter.

Secondary Fermentation

Secondary went a lot smoother than primary. Kyle racked into carboys and pulled a sample. The color was good but it was a bit murky.  The sample tasted good despite being pretty early in the fermenting process.

The good news is, despite blowing up a fermenter and other issues, we made beer. With our relative inexperience with that much rye and using rice hulls for the first time, we didn’t miss our numbers by much in the end. The OG target was 1.056 and we hit 1.047. We wanted an FG of 1.014 and our result was 1.010 for an approximate 4.86 ABV.

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