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I'm wanting to make an American Rye Beer, and I'm wondering which sort of rye I should use. My LHBS carries flaked rye, and the nearby big-box brew supplier carries both flaked and malted rye.

The grist is basically going to be 50% 2-row and 50% rye. I have a grain crusher and usually brew all-grain batches.

Does it matter what form the rye comes in? Are there any advantages to one over the other if I'm going to be mashing anyway?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have a LOT of experience with rye, and that experience says that malted rye gives more flavor than flaked. I find that you need at least 20% rye to make it noticeable and I don't care for much more than about 40%. Your 50/50 might be overbearing. I've also found that use of specialty grains can accentuate the rye and really help bring it out.

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Which specialty malts are we talking about here, some crystal, chocolate or what? – brewchez Mar 15 '11 at 17:40
Thanks, I took your advice and went with 40% and wound up having to use some rice hulls to help unstick the sparge. – baka Mar 23 '11 at 20:41

According to Briess flaked rye imparts significant rye flavor at low percentages such as 5-10%, up to 40%. Flaked rye can cause a sticky mash, especially at higher percentages. Malted Rye is going to be your better bet IMO because it is designed to be mashed. It is going to give you a more true rye flavor. Especially if you are going for some of the flavors of a Rye whiskey, I'd say Rye malt is a must for an all-grain brewer, as that is what the distillers use. Malted Rye can stick up your mash at very high percentages too, so you may consider rice hulls.

On percentages, most of the commercial Rye beers you see use 10-20% rye malt, and that gives a pretty distinctive flavor, but This article says homebrewers have used up to 50%, but the flavor will be very intense. Sounds like it's worth a shot to me.

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