Sunday, February 22, 2009

No Gas Smoke Beer

My MO for this year is to start to develop some of the stuff that worked well last year, but I also want to build some stuff that I can work on for next year. My brewing buddy Ted did a smoke beer last year that was absolutely fantastic, and it was definitely the inspiration for this one, with it's smooth forward smoke flavor and beautiful red hue:

No Gas Rauchbier-

German Pilsner- 3 lbs
Dark Munich- 3 lbs
Rauch Malt- 3 lbs
Cara Pils- 8 oz
Black Patent- 1 oz

Mt Hood- 7/8 oz- 90ish minutes
Crystal- .5 oz- 10 minutes

Wyeast Bavarian Lager 2206- 1000 ml starter

OG Target/Actual-

I had been wanting to do a rauchbier, but I wanted an even amount of smoke in a medium sized beer. Something you drink several of because it's a strong taste but still refreshing. The hops are low alpha acid noble varietals. They should provide some nice bitterness, but I didn't want much since the star of this beer was supposed to be the malt. To that end, I picked a Bavarian Lager yeast, which is supposed to highlight malts. I'm planning on using the yeast cake in another version of the Darkish American Lager No. 2.

So it was a real cold brew day (somewhere in the 20's), and to keep the gas flowing I had to dunk my propane tank in hot water. And then about ten minutes into what was supposed to be a 90 minute boil, I realized I was about to completely run out. I dropped everything, ran to the gas station and got some more. My boil stopped for about 15 minutes as near as I can tell, since on my trip to get gas, I zeroed out my stopwatch. By the time I got the gas going again, my wort was about 160 degrees.

At that point, this beer was basically screwed in the sense that it was not going to end up with what I had wanted. I decided once it got boiling again to just boil another 60 minutes, and call it a beer. I had a lot more evaporation than I had anticipated, so I ended up with a much higher gravity and a lot less beer. Something like 4 gallons or so.

Oh well. As I always tell my dad when he's having issues with his beers: the worst case scenario is you made beer. I'm thinking once it's in the bottle, I'll lay it down for a while, as the higher gravity with the smoke is going to need some time to condition.

I also now have two propane tanks, so I'll never run out again. Now I just need it to stay cold long enough to do another lager before spring arrives.

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