27A. Historical Beer: Roggenbier

Overall Impression

A Dunkles Weissbier made with rye rather than wheat, but with a greater body and light finishing hops. The rye gives a bready and peppery flavor, a creamy body, and a dry, grainy finish that blends with the distinctive banana-and-clove weizen yeast character.


Light coppery-orange to very dark reddish or coppery-brown color. Large creamy off-white to tan head, quite dense and persistent, often thick and rocky. Cloudy, hazy appearance.


Light to moderate spicy rye aroma (like black pepper) intermingled with light to moderate weizen yeast aromatics (spicy clove and fruity esters, either banana or citrus). Light spicy, floral, or herbal hops are acceptable.


Grainy, moderately-low to moderately-strong spicy-peppery rye flavor, often having a hearty flavor reminiscent of rye or pumpernickel bread. Medium to medium-low bitterness allows an initial malt sweetness (sometimes with a bit of caramel) to be tasted before yeast and peppery rye character takes over. Low to moderate banana-and-clove weizen yeast character, although the balance can vary. Medium-dry, grainy finish with a lightly bitter (from rye) aftertaste. Low to moderate spicy, herbal, or floral hop flavor acceptable, and can persist into aftertaste.


Medium to medium-full body. High carbonation. Moderately creamy.


Rye is a huskless grain and is difficult to mash, often resulting in a gummy mash texture that is prone to sticking. Rye has been characterized as having the most assertive flavor of all cereal grains. It is inappropriate to add caraway seeds, as some American brewers do; the spicy rye character is traditionally from the rye grain only.


A specialty German rye beer originally brewed in Regensburg, Bavaria in 1988 by Schierlinger. After eventual purchase by Paulaner, the beer is now positioned as a regional brand and thus hard to find as an export.

Characteristic Ingredients

Malted rye, up to 60% of the grist. Pale and wheat malts. Crystal-type malts and debittered dark malts can be used. Weizen yeast. German or Czech hops. Patented decoction type mash.

Style Comparison

A more distinctive variant of a Dunkles Weissbier using malted rye instead of malted wheat. American Rye Beers will not have the weizen yeast character, and likely more hops.

Vital Statistics


10 - 20


14 - 19


1.046 - 1.056


1.010 - 1.014


4.5% - 6%

Commercial Examples

Thurn und Taxis Roggen.