Now that I am almost six months behind in writing about my brew days, here is the skinny on the all-grain version of my Doppelbock – my third solo all-grain batch.
I haven’t been as lazy in my brewing as I have been in blogging. By way of comparison, I brewed this Doppelbock in mid-November. If the weather holds off tomorrow, I will be brewing Batch 120. Of those three batches I have completed since the Doppelbock brew day, it has been over two months since I last brewed. I have been concentrating my efforts on drinking all the beer I have made!
Harken back to the Fall of 2014. I am in an all-grain brewing frenzy (sorta). Looking back at my old brewing calendar, I decided I needed to get a Dopplebock put together for the Starkbier season. November would be a perfect time to brew a beer that would be ready to drink during Lent.
So I converted my extract/grain recipe to all-grain and came up with this:
- 10.0 pounds of Munich Malt (10.0°L)
- 6.0 pounds of 2-row Pilsner Malt (2.0ºL)
- 8.0 ounces of Crystal Malt (60ºL)
- 5.0 ounces of Chocolate Malt
- 2.0 ounces Hallertau Hops (3.8% alpha acid)
- White Labs Bock Yeast WLP 833 (Pitched on top of the remaining yeast from the Schwarzbier)
The predicted specs for this beer (using BrewPal) were as follows:
- Original Gravity: 1.085
- Final Gravity: 1.023
- 8.1% ABV
- 19 IBU
This recipe marked the first time I would brew solo outdoors. I pulled out a turkey fryer burner I bought (counting on my fingers) about seven yeas ago. I never used it. Until this brew day.
Of course, I made all kinds of rookie mistakes with the burner. The biggest one was not realizing that I could turn the valve on the gas line wide open and crank the shit out of the flame to get my water heated and my wort boiling. Instead, I babied things. I was amazed that it took over 30 minutes to get my strike water up to 170 degrees with a propane burner. It seemed to take forever to get the wort to boil.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that I could have opened the gas valve more and generated more heat.
While I was learning a lesson in humility on the brewing front, I thought it would be an opportune time to transfer the Čierna Mačka Schwarzbier to secondary.
Despite the fuck-ups I made brewing this beer – ending up with a weaker session beer than I had planned – I was pleased to see that I passed the targeted 1.014 final gravity reading and got down to 1.012.
As far as the Doppelbock was concerned, I had learned from my the Weizenbock portion of the 2014 Hefeweizen Experiment that big beers need lots of yeast. While I’m not following the route of some homebrewing magainzes that suggest pitching a huge starter into the wort, I get the effectiveness of having more yeast around to do the work when the gravity of the wort gets high.
So I put the Doppelbock wort on top of the yeast remaining in the fermenting bucket after I transferred the Schwarzbier, and pitched the Bock yeast on top of it.
I then let it have a short primary fermentation. About five weeks. Ooops!
I wasn’t too worried. I tasted a sample during transfer. It was good!
A few days before Christmas, I transferred the Doppelbock to secondary fermentation/lagering. The same day, I kegged the Schwarzbier.
The lessons learned from the Hefeweizen experiment paid off! With a target final gravity of 1.023, I was able to reach 1.018 by putting the Doppelbock onto the Schwarzbier yeast and pitching Bock yeast on top of it.
I ended up kegging the Doppelbock on March 6, 2015. That’s a lagering period of a little more than two moths. And as of this writing, I’m still drinking the Doppelbock.
By the way – this is how the first draft of the Schwarzbier looked.