Rye beer

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A glass and bottle of rye beer

Rye beer refers to any beer in which rye (generally malted) is substituted for some portion of the barley malt.

One example of this is roggenbier which is a specialty beer produced with up to sixty percent rye malt. The style originated in Bavaria, in southern Germany and is brewed with the same type of yeast as a German hefeweizen resulting in a similar light, dry, spicy taste.

In the United States another style of rye beer is being developed by homebrewers and microbreweries. In some examples, the hop presence is pushed to the point where they resemble American India pale ales.[1] This style is often called a "Rye-P-A," a take-off of the abbreviation for an India Pale Ale, "IPA."

Finnish sahti is another style of rye beer, produced by brewing rye with juniper berries and wild yeast.

Another type of rye beer is kvass, although the alcohol is low enough to be considered a non-alcoholic beer in many cases.

A rauchroggen could be made by drying some rye malt over an open flame rather than in a kiln, though this is currently only done in a few microbreweries in Southern California and one in France.[2][3]


Until the 15th Century, it was common in Germany, particularly in Bavaria, to use rye malt for brewing beer.[citation needed] However, after a period of bad harvests, it was ruled that rye would only be used for baking bread, (thus only barley was to be used for beer, see the German law known as the Reinheitsgebot). Roggenbier virtually disappeared for almost five hundred years. In 1988, it reappeared in Bavaria.

The modern version of roggenbier is typically about 5% ABV and is fairly dark in colour. The flavour is grainy, often having a hearty flavour similar to pumpernickel bread. Typically, at least 50 percent of the malts used to make the beer are made from rye.[4]


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