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Hybrid Rye

Rye as bioethanol and alcohol

Use of Rye as Bioethanol

In Germany a market for bioethanol has only existed since the year 2004 and it is still the largest ethanol market in the EU, followed by France and Spain. An EU directive on biofuels aims to increase the proportion of fuels from renewable raw materials up to 20 % in the year 2020. Bioethanol plants offer an alternative marketing opportunity for cereals. However, the raw material has to fulfill specific requirements: Cereals for ethanol production must contain mainly starch and less protein and cell wall components.

Cereals that are rich in starch, such as wheat, triticale and rye, are especially suitable for bioethanol production. In particular due to the limited cultivation alternatives on the light sandy soils of Brandenburg the use of rye as a bioethanol raw material is economically very interesting. In Schwedt, Brandenburg Verbio produces in the second largest German plant with an annual capacity of 200,000 tons bioethanol mainly from rye.


Use of Rye as Alcohol

Rye is of great importance to the luxury food and drink segment. In the past, rye was also used for beer production. Today, it is important for the production of spirits, especially vodka. In contrast to other cereals rye is ideal for this purpose as it has a sweet and pleasantly mild taste. Rye beer had been widely brewed until the 15th century. However, due to its high pentosan content rye tends to show starch gelatinisation. Economical wort production is difficult and requires additional time for the brewer. Therefore, barley and wheat have taken the lead. In terms of taste rye beer cannot be compared to conventional beers.

Depending on the type the taste is slightly more grainy, often having a hearty flavour similar to pumpernickel bread and the froth is darker and more coarse-pored. Rye beer is offered among others from Paulaner (“Paulaner Roggen”). Pumpernickel-Porter is also a rye beer. In the broadest sense “kvass”, which is drunk in Slavic countries, can also be considered as rye beer. In contrast to rye beer not malt is used as a source of starch but rye bread. Therefore, it is also known as bread drink.


Rye whisky is a whisky distilled from a mash containing rye. It is mainly produced in North America. In the United States law requires that the grain mash contains at least 51 % rye in order to be labelled as rye whisky. In recent decades with the advent of single malts and the whisky market becoming more diverse rye whisky has also made a comeback. In the original recipes of many classic whisky cocktails, such as the Manhattan Cocktail, rye is used as ingredient in the form of whisky.

Use of rye...