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Ramped Up Rye

phillips super kryptonFor a guy who has never brewed with rye, I have developed something of a fascination with the grain. I like the sharp, earthy character rye adds to a beer. Plus, I like that it is less common than wheat. Brewing with it has an intentionality to to it. So when I saw the Phillip’s Super Krypton Double Rye IPA, I had to pick it up. I sampled the Krypton Rye IPA in their Hop Box a few months back, and I think it might have been my favourite beer in the case. Doubling it up was intriguing. I can honestly say this is my first rye imperial IPA, and so I was very curious about how it would turn out.

It pours a medium gold with a touch of haze. The head is a bit thin but finds a way to lay down a consistent white blanket. The aroma was not about the grain at all. It had a HUGE tropical fruit aroma – virtually gushing out at me. It is sweet and pungent, throwing out grapefruit, passionfruit and mango. I do pick up some subtle malt in the background, but it really is a bit player in the aroma.

The sip is a bit more complex. It starts with a slightly sharp malt, some biscuit and a dry rye note. But then the hops move in for the kill. They are huge in this beer – citrus, grapefruit, pine, intense fruitiness. The linger is hoppy and tropical. I find the malt deceptive; it seems dry and sharp but still seems to have enough roundedness to offer balance. I can detect the rye in the malt bill, offering some earthiness and making the malt presentation more angular. The mouthfeel is a bit too thin. Overall this is a hop accented beer.

Enjoyable but complicated. It has me wondering if rye is tricky for an IPA this big. Rye is not the softest malt, offering sharp, spicy textures. In the context of mega-hops, it might allow the hops to run away with the show.That is not what is happening here. The hops dominate but do not bully other flavours away – but it does come precariously close. There is just enough malt balance to hold the beer together, but Phillip’s is playing with fire a little bit.

As good as this beer is, it does confirm for me that rye is an ingredient of moderation. Not too much of it in a recipe, and maybe, just maybe, it is not best suited for big, hop-forward beer. Don’t get me wrong, Phillip’s does an admirable job here. But the ingredients in the original Krypton seem more in sync than this version. Glad I tried it. Glad they experimented with a rye double IPA.


3 comments to Ramped Up Rye

  • Nathan

    If nothing else the Krypton sounds intriguing enough to try. I really enjoyed Madison River’s Salmon Fly Honey Rye. The rye imparted spiciness as you would expect, but the honey (derived from the malts?) provided a nice sweet balance. Not a perfect beer by any means, but one worth trying if you’re interested in exploring rye a bit further.

  • Chad

    Phillips Krypton is one of my favourite IPAs, but I really don’t understand the word “spicy” being used to describe rye beers. I have never been able to taste anything that I would call “spicy” in any rye beer, maybe there’s something wrong with my taste buds.

  • Lenny’s RIPA is a big rye beer and it has been in this market for about 6 years off and on. Funny with the Hop Box I couldn’t stand the Krypton and that was the one given to people to get rid of it. That said the box I got the Cascade single hop was the fave.

    Charlevoix has a Rye Pale Ale in Alberta as well, with better establishments throughout the province getting it on draft some in the week or two.

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