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Hudson Road Red Rye

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I pried the lid off the fermenting pail & got greeted with a tart whiff of CO2. The beer within gave me a friendly “Hi! I'm Belgian, how 'bout you?” greeting. The handshake I get from every batch of this brew has remained firm & elated over the first year I've been brewing it. A bit longer than a year ago I brought a then-introductory six-pack of Matacabras, brewed by Dave's Brewfarm in Wilson, WI to a fall bonfire. An early cold snap & snow that year had upped the ante on how malty I wanted my social drink to be. Dave's 'curious ale' with Belgian yeast, candi sugar & a nice warming alcohol character was a lovely blanket of great flavors for bitter temps come too soon. I shared a pint with a fellow homebrewer and we dissected the malt & hop varieties that Matacabras brought to mind that night. Though the imperial strength of the brew would force a few extra days to decode my notes from that River Falls, WI hillside fire pit, the name of my planned sessionable tribute was as solid as the concrete that laid beneath the roads we traversed that evening. Decades ago, nearly every American town of modest population had a brewery and the 18-foot wide concrete slabs that connected them were named for the destination they traversed. Before I-94, the Hudson Road connected St. Paul, MN & Hudson, WI. It spurred off to River Falls, but deadheaded to Wilson, where my muse was conceived. Easy alliteration made me choose a red rye ale for the city where I enjoyed Matacabras, but Hudson Road seemed to lead the recipe back home. Whether going east to Eau Claire or west to the Twin Cities, Fargo or beyond, I've widened a lot of smiles with this recipe. I like to include a pound of clear candi syrup for the cold weather version of this recipe; though the rye malt backbone gives an interesting nip any time of the year. It's a brew for the friends awaiting at the destination, at the end of whatever road on which you might find yourself.


Hudson Road Red Rye Ale

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OG: 1.063 FG: 1.014 ABV: 6.3% 5.5 Gallon Yield 7 lbs. Rahr 2-Row 4 lbs. German Vienna 1.5 lbs. Briess Rye Malt 0.75 lbs. Belgian Caramunich 2 oz. German Carafa III Mash at 151 degrees for 60 min. 0.6 oz. Nugget pellets @60 min. 1.5 oz. Styrian Goldings pellets @30 min. 1.5 oz. Styrian Goldings pellets @10 min. Boil 60 min., add Whirlfloc & 0.5 tsp. Wyeast nutrient @10 min. Whirlpool & chill to 68 degrees. Pitch third generation 1000 mL starter of Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey Ale yeast (360 billion cells). Ferment 2 weeks primary, transfer to secondary & cold crash upon reaching consistent FG. Age 4 weeks at cellar temperature, carbonate & enjoy.