Rye beers are considered specialty beers that are brewed with unusual fermentables such as rice, corn, or wheat.
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. 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.
Until the 15th century, it was common in Germany, particularly in Bavaria, to use rye malt for brewing beer. 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.
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