Mountain Rye will be available online and for take-away/collection from 12pm (Sydney time) on Friday 1 October 2021.
Mountain Rye is a young Australian Wild Ale made with the perennial cereal grain Mountain Rye grown by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Cowra, NSW. Fermented and aged in a single puncheon before bottling, conditioning and maturation ahead of release.
Now Mountain Rye, this is really the shining light of the three perennial grains we trialled. Similar to ‘Dale Dug a Hole’, Mountain Rye was made with a grist of organic malted barley and approximately 15% raw, unmalted perennial grain. Fermented with our house culture and aged in oak for two months before bottling. These grains are incredibly rare and I’m very thankful to Matt for the opportunity to test, taste and talk about them.
We named this beer after the name of the perennial grain itself, Mountain Rye (Secale Montanam) (also called wild perennial rye). This is thought to be the progenitor of cereal rye the domesticated annual grain crop. It has been used as a perennial forage grass for feeding animals and used to reduce erosion in fragile soils. This beer and larger project are one of the first attempts in Australia to reimagine this species as a perennial grain crop. Mountain Rye is a true perennial, meaning it is not a cross or hybrid of a modern grain and an ancient one… it just is an ancient grain that is perennial. It also has strong perenniality, meaning it yields a crop more consistently for multiple years after sowing, with this varietal potentially cropping for 8 years. It’s also been developed here in Australia with trials over the years selecting future seed based on grain size.
This is important, or cool if you feel this way about grain or farming, because it’s ability to be self-fertile eliminates the need for annual sowing (and tilling if done). It also maintains ground cover which decreases runoff & erosion, increases water holding capacity and increases the carbon sequestration capabilities of the soil itself.
The grain has a uniquely distinctive flavour, spicy with earthy undertones. A nose dominated by deep earthy grain and warm brown spices. Cumin, subtle ginger, lemon thyme and dried tea leaves. The palate is punchy. Lemon sprite upfront with a robust spice driven core. Lime, basil and passionfruit hop characters add beautiful flavours to the fringe. There’s a noticeable bitterness providing length and closure.
Along with Matt Newell (from the NSW DPI who leads this project) we have decided that this is really the grain to move forward with. So I want to get this name out there, hopefully once we malt it and grow a bit more of it we will see more perennial grains in beer, whiskey, bread, cereals... anyway its grand dream but we will see where it leads.
There are 120 bottles available online and another 60 at our cellar door with very limited distribution to our stockists across Australia.