Dr. Worm Boy has been a friend for awhile, and we’ve been trying to get organised and do a brew day ever since we moved to Sydney. With the Beer Muse away for the weekend, Chas figured it was a good time to do one together.

Chas and Dr. Worm Boy have fairly different brewing styles, with Chas and the rest of the Brew in Review Crew going for refining classic styles, and Dr. Worm Boy always keen to add a new ingredient to beer; whether that be a kumquat IPA, or an Earl Grey Pale Ale. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t make interesting beers here, and it doesn’t mean the Doctor won’t make a classic style.

The Brew in Review equipment is also a little more basic than Dr. Worm Boy’s equipment. The Doctor uses a Grainfather for his home brewing, while we like to stay old school with a Esky converted to a mash tun and a 30 litre pot. We brewed with the old school equipment, and it elicited plenty of comments from Worm Boy.

It’s the Little Differences

Different home brewers have different traditions and habits, and nothing highlights this better than brewing with somebody for the first time. We cut our teeth brewing with Mikey (who wrote a really cool conversion beer). Mikey is thorough to a fault, and he’s passed this down in his home brewing. Whether this be measuring things to the millilitre or keeping exceptionally clean, Mikey stays precise and he stays thorough.

We do the same in our home brewing.

Dr. Worm Boy seemed to have a more relaxed attitude to brewing. He stays clean enough, but not nearly as thorough as we’d have it. And since he’s been spoiled by his Grainfather over the years, the poor boy wasn’t terribly impressed by the generally manual nature of our home brew setup. But hopefully he had fun with a more traditional way of brewing!

We Made a Saison

While far from being a proper rye beer, we decided to make a Saison that really pushed the rye to about 20% of the total grain bill. We based this grain bill on our Cosmic Egg Saison, as well as the general hop additions. However, the hop additions were only a rough guide, instead we substituted much of the taste and aroma hops with Sorachi, hoping that the dill and lemon grass would combine well with the pepper of the year, and the spice of the rye.

With that, we added a small amount of Citra to the beer as well, with the assumption that this would combine well with the Sorachi.

All of this was flying a little bit blind, but based on what we knew would probably work, and the general general-ness of our home brew recipe creation method.

I think everyone was happy with the approach to this recipe as well as the flavours we were attempting. Chas was happy to branch out a little bit into something that may be a bit more of a challenging beverage to drink, while we hope Dr. Worm Boy enjoyed trying to get some more interesting flavours without resorting to kumquats.

The original gravity came in at 1.050, which we’re happy with. Chas guessed it would come in at 1.040(ish) while Dr. Worm Boy’s fancy app predicted the recipe would come in at about 1.60. So we were both wrong. According to our ABV Calculator, the final strength of the beer should be around the 5.5% mark. A nice beer as summer approaches.

We’ll see how it turns out in a couple weeks. If it’s mildly drinkable, we’ll post the recipe list. If it’s terrible, we’ll forget this ever happened…

And the name: Pickle in the Rye.