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Let’s Demystify Rye

Why ask rye? Is it actually all that tricky to use? And what does rye really taste like, anyway? Let’s simplify this complex, evocative, old-fashioned ingredient—and make some great beer with it.

Josh Weikert Jun 27, 2022 - 14 min read

Let’s Demystify Rye Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves

I love rye—always have. In fact, I’m pretty sure I brewed my first roggenbier long before my first hefeweizen. Rye is versatile, interesting, and readily accessible. That’s why I don’t know which is more surprising: that brewers have such strong and divergent opinions about brewing with rye, or that some have no opinion at all because they never use it.

Maybe we can blame the challenges of using rye, which are mostly overstated. Maybe it’s because we have so many grains to choose from in 21st-century brewing. (The other day I saw something called “cookie malt,” and I’m intrigued.) Maybe it’s something as simple as all palates being distinct, which leads to confusion as to what sort of character rye can bring to a beer.

Whatever the reason, let’s take a crack at demystifying rye, in the hopes of getting y’all off the bench and using this fantastic ingredient.

Rye, Explained

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