North Dakota State University (NDSU) is undertaking a new malting rye research project. The study will analyze different varieties of rye to determine the best properties for malting, growing and brewing. Researchers will examine rye genotypes and environmental factors. The department of plant sciences is asking growers to send 1-pound samples to the NDSU cereal lab for analysis. Paul Schwarz, professor of malting barley quality, will oversee the study.
Rye imparts spicy, black-pepper flavors to beer and can add head retention and golden-orange color, but it presents many challenges. Grown as a winter crop, rye is less productive than barley or wheat and susceptible to disease. The starch that malted rye produces causes a sticky mash during brewing and increased wort viscosity. As popularity of the grain increases with rye IPAs and other styles, evaluation of these factors will become indispensable to growers, maltsters and brewers.