Brew day – Black Mamba Rye IPA

One week after the Iron Brewer Challenge it is time for another brew-day – this time without weird adjuncts. On today’s menu is the Black Mamba Rye IPA – a bold, strong black IPA featuring a hefty dose of rye malt and the crispness that brings to a beer. In addition, todays brew sees the end of the Cascade hops (about 1oz) that I grew last summer. Indeed, this beer is a celebration of Cascade – other than a bit of Warrior for bittering & a touch of a late addition, all of the hop flavour and aroma will be from Cascade.

This recipe is largely one of my creation and is meant to be simple – the classical Black IPA grains of Victory malt (or Special malt; I have victory on-hand), dehusked dark malt (Carafa Special II), mixed with a 2.5:1 mix of pale malt and rye; typical of many rye-based beers.  The mash is low-and-slow, to give a dry-finishing beer. With the rye this may lead to a too-dry finish, but I have taken two steps to balance that out – I hope.  The first is relying on cascade as a hop – it should give a spicy/citrusy character that will provide a balancing fruitness to the beer.  I am then accentuating that using the legendary Conan yeast, which should provide some additional fruity esters – notably apricot – to further balance the crispness of the rye and the highly fermentable wort.

Recipe & brew-day notes below the fold

The Recipe:

Black Mamba IPA
American IPA (Black)
Type: All GrainDate: 30 Mar 2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 lBoil Size: 30.27 l
Boil Time: 75 minEnd of Boil Volume 23.40 l
0.25 kgRice Hulls (Briess) (0.0 SRM)Adjunct13.4 %
4.60 kgCanadian 2 Row Pale Malt (2.0 SRM)Grain262.1 %
1.81 kgRye Malt (Weyermann) (3.0 SRM)Grain324.5 %
0.45 kgCarafa II (Weyermann) (415.0 SRM)Grain46.1 %
0.28 kgVictory Malt (25.0 SRM)Grain53.8 %
26.00 gWarrior [17.70 %] – First Wort 75.0 minHop656.7 IBUs
1.00 tspIrish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)Fining7
28.00 gCascade – Garden Grown  – Boil 2.0 minHop81.4 IBUs
7.00 gWarrior [15.00 %] – Boil 2.0 minHop91.0 IBUs
1.0 pkgConan (Heady Topper/Alchemist Brewery) Yeast, from bank.Yeast10
28.00 gCascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 3.0 DaysHop110.0 IBUs
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.074 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.059 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.009 SGEstimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.6 %
Bitterness: 59.0 IBUsEst Color: 29.6 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch SpargeTotal Grain Weight: 7.40 kg
Sparge Water: 18.38 lGrain Temperature: 18.0 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 CTun Temperature: 18.0 C
Mash Steps
NameDescriptionStep TemperatureStep Time
Mash InAdd 19.55 l of water at 72.4 C64.4 C75 min

Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (3.12l, 15.26l) of 75.6 C water
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: KegVolumes of CO2: 2.3
Created with BeerSmith

Brew-day Notes:

  1. Mashed in dead-on 65C. Because its a cooler day I wrapped a hammock and jacket around my MLT to keep the heat in. Temperature cooled less than half a degree over this time, despite the below-freezing weather! Conversion tested as complete at the 1 hour mark, but I mashed an additional 15 minutes to ensure a highly fermentable wort.
  2. Added ~5L of water at boiling to mash-out, then collected the first batch sparge.  This was followed by a second 13L batch sparge at 75C.  Pre-boil gravity was 1.053; slightly lower than the expected 1.055, but I also appear to have an extra litre of wort or so, perhaps accounting for the difference.
  3. All pellet hop additions were done using my new hop-spider, but the whole hops were added directly into the copper.
  4. I ended up missing my OG by quite a bit – I only got 1.059 where I was expecting something around 1.070. I suspect it may have been the rye – its kernels are smaller than barley, so it may have crushed poorly. This means this beer may taste more bitter than planned, although it should still be well within style.
I think the lessor here is next time mill the rye separately; it may need a double milling; or even an adjustment to the mill gap, to get a proper mill.

9 thoughts on “Brew day – Black Mamba Rye IPA

  • April 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I got 80% attenuation, which seems to be pretty typical for conan unless people are using a super-low mash temp &/or sugar.

  • April 19, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    I mill my rye twice. Once by itself, then I toss it in with the rest of the grains to be milled. My efficiency doesn't change much when I do this (even @ 40% rye). Did Conan attenuate fully for you? I only hit about 75% ADT with my Pale Wheat. Not bad, but I was expecting more of a monster…

  • April 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    I haven't used much rye but for my last brew (40% rye and wheat Brett beer) we did set the rollers a bit tighter for the wheat and rye, and hit our expected OG dead on. However, we were on the brink of a stuck sparge (even though we used rice hulls) so I'll probably deal with the hit on gravity and mill normally if I'm not using rye in a BIAB batch.

  • April 1, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Cool! In your experience, does rye need a smaller roller gap? I'm still a little lost as to why my OG was so much lower than expected. The only other thing I can think of is that I may have mis-measured my grain. I can only measure a few kg at a time, so it is perfectly conceivable that I mis-measured the base malt…

  • April 1, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    I can assert that Conan plays nice with rye: my first brew with it was a red rye pale ale. Between the yeast and the rye you'll probably get incredible head retention!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *