Saturday, August 4, 2012

Imperial Doppelweizenbock

So in my goals at the end of 2011 I decided I wanted to brew a beer with lager yeast to see if I could do it and to explore more of what it was like. A recent article in Brew Your Own Magazine (March/April 2012) informed me more about the history and origins of lager yeasts. It's an interesting happenstance that we even have lager yeast because it's not naturally occurring. It was probably created as the result of a happy accident in Europe in the 16th century. It was the hybrid of ale yeast from Europe and wild yeast from Patagonia.

One of the first beers I fell for as a beer novice was Celebrator Doppelbock. The beer has rich toffee, chocolate, and coffee notes. If you've never treated yourself to some I would say that it is well worth the ten dollars per four pack. As my knowledge of beers grew I began to realize that I lacked the equipment to make a lager, and probably couldn't clone celebrator even if I wanted to. I have found even more hybridized yeasts that ferment at temps between lager and ale and have a more lager like profile. See which strain I've selected after the break.

(please read more after the break.)

While reading at The Mad Fermentationist I came across a post about my home town brewery. TMF brewed a tribute/clone to The Livery's Wheat Triple Bock. I liked the descriptions of both the aroma and flavors of the beer "The big bready maltiness is just flowing from this one", and "Big sweet nose. Loads of malty goodness with a big overripe fruit character. There is also a nice hint of coffee."

The headbrewer at the the Livery offered this advice to TMF, "I use German pilsner, vienna, and dark munich malts, and English crystal 155-165. 2 hr. boil. German Perle to bitter and Perle and Tettnang in late strikes to balance the malt sweetness. I use White Labs German Bock yeast for now. Starting gravity is around 1.106, finish gravity is around 1.025, giving an abv of 11.75%. Good luck!"

I found it interesting he leaves out wheat in his description but I'm fine with making up my own recipe. I'm going to mix the BJCP guidelines for a Weizenbock and for a Doppelbock. For a Weizenbock a high percentage of malted wheat is used (by German law the percentage must be at least 50%, although it may contain up to 70%), with the remainder being Munich- and/or Vienna-type barley malts; for a Doppelbock the ingredients include a base of Pils and/or Vienna malt for pale versions (with some Munich), Munich and Vienna malts for darker ones and occasionally a tiny bit of darker color malts (such as Carafa). I wanted to stay true to the Weizenbock roots for this beer so 50% of the malt will be wheat, 40% white wheat malt and 10% flaked wheat. To pick up that doppelbock flavor I wanted to include pilsner 20%, vienna 12%, munich 10%, and some darker caramel malts 8% to darken it and include some more complex malt flavors. Because I don't have a fermentation chamber and a external thermostat I plan to ferment this in my mother's basement.  I have chosen to use my vile of East Coast Beer yeast because of the temperature of the basement, The profile of the yeast suggests that it does best when used to ferment beers between 58 and 68 degrees. This is perfect basement beer yeast.

The calm before
the storm,
The Specs:
Boil Size: 4.71 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.097 SG
Estimated Color: 23.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.2 IBUs
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

The Recipe:
4 lbs 12.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) 39.0 %
2 lbs 8.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) 20.5 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) 12.3 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz Munich 10L (10.0 SRM) 10.3 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) 10.3 %
12.0 oz Special B (147.5 SRM) 6.2 %
4.0 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) 1.5 %
0.40 oz Perle [8.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min 14.1 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet - Boil 15.0 min
0.40 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min 3.9 IBUs
0.30 oz Perle [8.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min 5.2 IBUs
1.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient - Boil 5.0 min
1.0 East Coast Beer Yeast

The Mash:
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Mash In Add 16.23 qt of water at 162.9 F 152.0 F 60 min
Sparge: Batch sparge with 2.48gal of 168.0 F water

After it blew
up. Literally.
This went well. The mash was easy even with the high concentration of wheat. My brew-day was perfectly timed. I pitched my mature starter and let it start at room temp before relegating it to the basement. This strain vigorously fermented; so vigorous that when I went to bed at midnight this 2 gallon head-space was half full. When I woke up there was a rising bloom of yeasty badness and my airlock was on the floor. Deep sadness befell me. Untold disgust could be harbored on every particle of dust in that basement, mold spores, or bacteria. This beer could be ruined.... I am however going to continue with my life like it's not. There is no reason to dump it now. A few things are working in my favor. First, it was fermenting vigorously, any dust that landed on top would have been ejected with the rest of the foam. Secondly I wiped the whole outside down, wiped the inside lip of the carboy with a sanitized paper towel, and replaced the airlock with a fresh one. #hope

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