I've been enjoying this oak smoked rye beer for over a week now and I love it. Nearly every time I brew this recipe I change it up somewhat, even going as far as pitching different Lager or Ale yeast or adding American oak flavors to an already highly hopped beer. It still amazes me just how great freshly brewed and fermented beer tastes and it's awesome having the ability to brew yourself a perfect beer and love the way it tastes at will.
The recipe has finally evolved into what I can only describe as an incredibly interesting beer that's under 6% alcohol, best when moderately carbonated and served up in clean beer glass. There's that combination of flaked rye, pale and amber malts and lots and lots of Citra, Amarillo and Cascade hops that make up the base of the recipe. The addition of American oak chips to this aromatic beer adds subtle hints of vanilla and a slight toast flavor making it even more interesting than I would have thought possible had I not tried it..
I've brewed the same base recipe, 3 weeks in a row, I start out by emailing my grain bill to Princeton Homebrew and then taking home freshly crushed grains for the next days' brewing. Joe Bair has been crushing grains and brewing beer as long as homebrewing has been around, he also owns the LHBS, always provides great service and has the freshest ingredients available. I started washing and propagating yeast myself using yeast I bought from Princeton Homebrew, 'yeast so fresh you'd want to slap it', is what I'd order because the yeast I got there was often less than a month old.
Anyhow I thought I'd give you all an update on how much I liked my smoked rye ale, I know it's in a very unique category since I don't recall anyone marketing a citrusy hopped beer with oak and rye additions for extra flavor. There's even a some chocolate malt thrown in to deepen the beer's color. As I look back through my brewing notes reminding me that I had pitched the equivalent of a 4 liter starter into this beer for a fast really aggressive fermentation. This beer has great head retention and lacing, with a medium body and really well balanced finish it tastes so good I can't wait to keg my next batch.