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. (more…)
I brewed a rauchbier back on 12/16/11. I based my recipe off of one I found here within a rauchbier style profile BYO article. I stepped up the malt bill on mine by 50% to account for the poor efficiency of my operation (calculated recently at somewhere between 51-57%). I also increased the percentage of smoked/rauch malt. I had never had a traditional full-on rauchbier before, so I was weary of using mostly smoked malts as those recipes do, though I kinda wish I had.
I tasted the wort prior to pitch on brew day and even with 1/4 of the grain bill being smoked malts, it didn’t taste very smokey at all. At the time I thought maybe that’ll be a good thing in the long run, but since brew day I had the chance to try a traditional exemplar of the style, Aecht Schlenkerla’s Urbock Rauchbier. This Bamberg, Germany-based brewery is one of the few that smoke their own malt via traditional methods and produce their beers mainly with these rauch malts. The smokey flavor was definitely intense, slapping you across the face in a way very similar to heavily smoked gouda. Though you’ll never find me drinking more than one or two of these intense (and expensive at $12 a bottle at Buster’s on 28th!) beers in a sitting, I liked it a lot. I hope the one I brewed turns out smokey enough, but I’m doubtful based on the taste of the wort. Next time I’ll use 100% smoked base malts. (more…)