RSE: Rye Stout + Espresso Homebrew Recipe



Note: As seen brewed and discussed in Chop & Brew – Episode 46: Rye Stout + Espresso

Another note: Rye Stout + Espresso 2.0 was sampled in Episode 65 – Homebrew Con Beer Tasting Notes. For notes on that rebrew of this beer see the very bottom of this recipe entry.

In past episodes of Chop & Brew, I’ve talk about brewing inspired by music, movies or events. Recently I brewed a beer in honor of Twin Cities hip-hop record label Rhymesayers Entertainment as RSE was preparing to celebrate its twentieth anniversary with a huge concert and party at the Target Center in Minneapolis. I thought it would be fun to homebrew a beer that could be served to a group of friends before heading to the show. A little pre-party beer if you will. As such, I wanted the beer to be fairly low alcohol so that we could keep the party going well into the night at the actual party. Low gravity – check!

Next, I wanted to brew something that fit into the abbreviation for Rhymesayers Entertainment, which is RSE. After picking my brain for an afternoon I decided to go for a Rye Stout with Espresso. I asked a few of my go-to recipe developers what they thought would make a nice low-gravity pre-party RSE: Rye Stout + Espresso. My buddy and award-winning homebrewer (and pro brewer to boot!) Kristen England came up with a plan for a milk stout with rye and coffee. For the coffee element, he suggested putting the ground coffee in a nylon/mesh bag to steep for five minutes after flame-out. Which worked great!

So I’m going to turn the mic over to Kristen England for a bit of background and elaboration on the recipe. And as you’ll read below, at Kris’ request I was not allowed to publish exactly what I did for my recipe. Instead he has some guidelines and suggestions for anyone interested in brewing their own Rye Stout + Espresso. After his explanation and recipe, I’ll add a few tasting notes and photos of my beer!

Take it away, Kris!

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The idea behind this recipe is simple. A little milk stout that also has coffee and rye of some sort. I’m not really a fan or rye malt in stouts as it always muddles up the middle in my opinion, specifically when one wants to use rye in order to make a clever name for it… yet here we are. The backbone of the recipe is a nice proper English milk stout. Something lighter alcohol but rich and complex and sits nicely in one hand whilst having the other filled with single malt. So lets talk about the recipe, shall we?


This beer is entirely driven by the grist percentages and your choice in brand. This is one where I’d stay completely away from US brands on a whole if I were you…but I’m not, lucky bastards. I have Munich on here because Chip really wanted something that was easy to make and easy to come by. I’d prefer to do a combo of pale:amber:brown malt to get a similar ‘malty’ character but it would be pretty different than the ‘Munich’ flavor however what we really want is that ‘malt’ flavor from our backbone. So Munich it is. It works really really well at adding depth and everyone can get it, even the extract homies. For those of you that don’t know, anywhere between 10-14% roast malt in an English stout recipe usually works just fine. Lower for more strong-flavored roast and higher
for less… which is why we are at about 13%.

Remember me talking about rye? How I dont like it in stouts? Well here is a place were we can actually sneak it in. I like chocolate rye quite a bit. Not because it’s inherently rye, but because it adds another moderate roast malt to the brewer’s arsenal (cf – it works really really well to turn a regular pale hoppy beer into a ‘reddish’ one and lends a wonderful depth). If you can’t find chocolate rye, you really can just roast your own. It won’t be exact, but for those supernerds playing along at home and want the roasted rye for reelz, hear ya go: Same really can be said for this next one. Crystal rye really adds a different layer of complexity than does your normal 75L rystal/caramel malt. To me its nearly a sarsaparilla/star anisey type. Not blatant but definitely there. These both are going to be a bugger to find for some of you. Feel free to swap out regular crystal for the crystal rye.

Most of you haven’t played around with sugar, let alone English brewing sugars. Let’s not get complicated your first time out. To make Invert No. 3 lets do simple dilution of white sugar by adding blackstrap molasses at 3% of your total Invert 3 load (e.g. if you need to add 100 lb of invert No. 3, you’ll add 3 lb of black strap).

I always treat coffee like french press. Add it at knock out. Use a bag much larger than what you need. Add the bag to the kettle. Let it sit 5 minutes. Pull it out. If you want more coffee flavor after that, use more coffee, don’t put that coffee back in.

Finally, for all of you that haven’t used regular sugar, most haven’t used lactose. It’s added here at the end of the boil, post-coffee and NOT used in the gravity calculations. It doesn’t ferment and basically increases your FG and makes this a milk stout. If you don’t add this, don’t make this recipe as it is a recipe as a whole and pulling this part out specifically will shift the balance and not be good.


You really can use any yeast you want for this beer. The biggest problem I see brewers, both pro and home, make is the massive use of yeast when it comes to session type beers. They seem to always want to follow the 1 million cells/ml/deg P which is fine but a whole lot of character will get fermented out in small beers that don’t require that much. Less yeast, more character (to a point).

Below I have listed dry yeast because is MUCH easier for most of you to measure grams of dry yeast to than to count the number of liquid cells. Most home brewers add ‘units’ of yeast as in a smackpack/tube. This will be too much. As I said, the yeast isn’t of particular worry here as long as its a US/UK/neutral yeast, it will do fine. Also, I do not oxygenate this beer. Feel free to do so though if you aren’t sure of yourself. We are not a home to Mr. Cockup so we’d rather this be not ‘perfect’ and good than do something you don’t understand and completely cack hand it. Always remember that.


As with any recipe they ALWAYS should be percentage form. I can’t have a conversation with you about a beer unless we are talking apples to apples. A weight amounts means nothing to anyone. 2% — That means something to everyone! Lucky for you, a lot of you don’t have to do your calculations by yourself, though you should know how too. Just plug the ingredients into your favorite brewing software or calculator program, change it so the percent works then make the gravity work. Good luck.

The Recipe

Rye Stout + Espresso
OG 1.037
IBU 20
ABV <4%
67% Munich malt
11% Crystal rye
9% Invert No3
8% Roasted Barley
5% Chocolate Rye
12g/L Lactose – whirlpool
3g/L Coffee, ground – Knockout. Bag. 5min. Pull. Then whirlpool.

Mash: 156F x 30min @ 1.15qt/lb

Boil: 60min

Hops: 20 IBU of any variety @ FWH

Yeast: Dry S-04. 0.25g/L (25g/HL) sprinkled on top.

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Chip here again. Huge thanks to Kris for taking time to not only concoct the recipe, but drop some words of wisdom on the ingredients and brewing of the beer.

I did a Brew In A Bag version of the beer and the brew day went very smoothly. The coffee addition smelled awesome and was retained in an impressive way in the final beer. It certainly did not get “scrubbed” out during fermentation. The beer fermented well with the dry yeast sprinkled on top of the wort and no oxygen (or shaking). I kegged and carbonated it and had it ready for the night of the big Rhymesayers show. My friends Melinda, Bobby and Bryon Adams joined Elsa and I for a pre-show toast. The beer was perfect for the occasion. Strong notes of roast, chocolate and coffee. Man, the coffee is on point! The body isn’t too dry or empty thanks in part to the lactose that Kris included. Overall, it was a smooth-drinking coffee beer with very little astringency to it. I’m very happy with it and look forward to hearing about your experiences if/when you brew it!

Hoping to get Kris England over to the house soon for on-camera tasting notes and a bit more to make this a full episode… but until then – brew your own RSE!


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Update: August 20, 2017

Notes on RSE 2.0 – as seen in Chop & Brew – Episode 65.

In place of the originally called-for invert sugar, for my second version of this beer I replaced the Simplicity syrup with one pound of palm sugar (aka jaggery). This gave the beer a bit more body and residual sweetness, which was very nice. I also mashed closer to Kristen’s 156F suggestion. The first brew, the temp was a bit low and I think that added to the somewhat light/dry impression I got from the first version of the beer.