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I'm looking to make a rye pale ale. Do I need to provide enough base grains to convert the starches in flaked rye or is it capable of self conversion? If it needs conversion, would 6 lbs of 6-row work for 2.5 lbs of rye?

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Flaked rye needs to be converted. 6 lbs of either 2-row or 6-row would be plenty to convert 2.5lbs of rye.

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I'd use 2 row instead of 6 row unless you want the grainy flavor you get from 6 row. You don't need 6 row for enzymes. 2 row has plenty of diastatic power without having to resort to 6 row.

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Flaked rye (unmalted) has a low diastatic power, so it would definitely need some base malt (6-row would work fine) for starch conversion.

However, generally flaked rye is used for taste, and not as much for its starch content. If you are doing a mash anyway, you might as well throw it in, but if you are using it to flavor an extract brew, you can just steep it as you would any other specialty grain.

Edit: Thanks Denny, you are definitely right on this. Don't steep, do a partial mash if you want rye in an extract brew.

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Steeping flaked rye (or any other flaked grain) will add unconverted starch to your beer. That's not a good thing. Not only does it not taste good, it can provide food for bacteria which can infect your beer. –  Denny Conn Jul 7 '11 at 23:31
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