Sunday, April 5, 2009

Obfuscator Doppelbock

I brewed this beer two weeks ago, but am finally getting around to posting it here. It was one part of a split batch of lager/ale, as I have done in the past, but this time it was a true partigyle brew, using the first runnings from the mash for a strong beer, and the later runnings for a "small" beer. Also, this time, opposite of the YMM/YSM and the Johann Sebastian Bock/ Anglerman Ale , I made a smaller amount of the lager, and a larger amount of the ale. So without further ado, here's the recipe:

15lbs Dark German Munich malt
8lbs American two-row (I would have used Vienna malt, but I've got a ton of two-row on hand)
1lb Carahelles (a free gift from Larry at the LHBS--it was a sample from their supplier)
1lb Melanoidin malt
1/2 lb U.K. pale chocolate malt
2 oz Hallertauer 3.9% AA hops
Wyeast Munich Lager yeast

I did a single infusion mash for 1 hour at 146F. I mashed low, because I knew this was going to be a big beer. This style traditionally calls for a decoction mash to get melanoidin in the wort, but I thought the addition of the melanoidin malt would allow me to skip this step.

It was a batch sparge, and like I mentioned earlier, I took the first runnings as well as just a small amount of the second to get me approximately 6 gallons of wort. Pre-boil gravity was 1.083.

The hop addition was simple, all 2 oz at the beginning of a 60 minute boil. O.G. ended up at 1.089.

Sounds fairly simple, right? Well of course nothing is simple here at the Noble Square Brewery. I had to leave in the middle of the boil because of a family emergency. The wifey turned off the burner for me at the proper time, and covered the brew kettle. I returned from the hospital three hours later--don't worry, everyone is o.k. now--to finish my brewday.

But this means I didn't add Irish moss ( a clarifying agent) at the end of the boil, and it also means that the wort was not force cooled quickly. The temperature had dropped over 2 1/2 hours from boiling to 160F. Since it was covered, and still at a fairly high temperature, I wasn't concerned with bacteria or wild airborne yeast contaminating the wort. But also since it was covered and cooled slowly, I was concerned about DMS (Dimethyl sulfide). DMS is created from heating grain in a certain temperature range--it gives an unwanted cooked cabbage flavor to beer. Normally, when boiling wort, the precursors to DMS are driven off, and by force cooling it quickly, they don't reform.

I did force cool it from 160F down to 55F in about 15 minutes with my immersion chiller. I tasted a sample before I transferred it to the fermenter. I didn't taste any DMS, but the wort was so sweet and caramel tasting that it could have masked the flavor. General consensus at Brews and Views was to not worry about it. I fermented for two weeks at 53F on the yeast cake reused from Your Mother's Mustache. I'll find out soon if it tastes like cabbage when I transfer to secondary, although I won't know how well it clears until it lagers. I could always add gelatin to help it clear up.

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