Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Bottling the smoked lager

Back in mid-December I decided to try my hand at my second lager, having done primarily ales for the past two years. I chose a rauchbier or smoked lager to brew, as the tradition behind the style intrigues me. The Rauch! Rauch! batch sat in primary for the two remaining weeks of December, then moved into a cold closet near my garage to lager for the month of January and first week of February, eventually moving out into the garage due to an unseasonably warm Minnesota winter this year.

I bottled this beer during the Super Bowl on 2/5/12. I described in detail the extra steps I took to prep the batch to bottle condition in a recent post found here. FG was 1.014 on bottling day before adding the yeast and yeast nutrient solution and 4.4 oz. of priming sugar, bringing this beer to 6.4% ABV. The yeast and nutrient solution made the beer quite hazy for about three or four days after it was bottled, something that was quite disappointing at first as I’d been so patient to let it lager for over a month. After that though, the beer cleared and is looking great a week after bottling.

I gave the brew a taste test when taking the gravity sample. It wasn’t nearly as smokey as I had wished when I set out to brew it. I guess 1/4 of the grist being smoked malts was not enough. It’s a very subtle smoked flavor. I’m guessing this one will go over quite well this summer with foods cooked  outside on the grill. I’ll try my best to conserve it until then.


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