I made an ambitious start to 2018 by brewing a batch two weeks after the previous batch! I wanted to put up a Doppelbock in time for Starkbier season (Lent). This recipe was a little different from the Doppelbock I made a little more than three years ago.
The ingredients were all ordered from Morebeer.com. Well, all except the Pilsner Malt and the Carafa II malt. I brain farted and forgot to order the Pilsner Malt, so I picked that up at the local home brew store. I had left over Carafa II malt from the brewing of Hnedý Medveď, so I used that as well.
The recipe consisted of:
- 6.0 pounds of Weyermann Pilsner Malt
- 5.0 pounds of Weyermann Light Munich Malt
- 5.0 pounds of Weyermann Dark Munich Malt
- 8.0 ounces of Weyermann Carafa II Malt
- 8.0 ounces of Briess Caramel Munich Malt(60ºL)
- 2.0 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh Hops (4.2% alpha acid)
- White Labs Bock Yeast WLP 833
The predicted specs for this beer (using BrewPal) were as follows:
- Original Gravity: 1.086
- Final Gravity: 1.023
- 8.2% ABV
- 21 IBU
When I first started using the propane burner instead of the stove for my all-grain brewing, I had a slight issue with boiling off too much wort and having to top off the cooled wort with water to reach five gallons in my fermenting bucket.
I fixed this by increasing my sparge volume so I end up collecting about 7½ gallons of wort prior to starting the boil. While I have learned to become cautious to avoid early boil overs, I still manage to get a good rolling boil going and keep it going for most of the hour of boil time.
This time however, I had a bit of a snag. I ended up with 5¾ gallons to go into the fermenter.
Normally if I have a little more than five gallons at the end of the boil, I just throw that into the fermenter because, Hooray!! Extra Beer!! But trying to fit almost six gallons into a Cornelius keg for carbonating just doesn’t work.
This batch got me mulling over whether I needed to reduce my sparge water and the initial pre-boil volume of wort I produce. Since I ended up with so much additional wort, my original gravity was below target, coming in at 1.082.
After two weeks of primary fermentation, I transferred the beer to a glass carboy for secondary fermentation and lagering. The measured gravity during the transfer was 1.030 – closing in on the target final gravity, but not quite there yet. So I kept the carboy at my primary fermentation temperature (about 52° in my keg fridge) for another week before putting it into my chest freezer to lager at 34°. I finished up with a final gravity of 1.026, which put me right at about 7.3% alcohol by volume – about a full percentage point lower than where I should have ended up.
Since I really wanted a Doppelbock in time for Lent, I cut short the lagering time by quite a bit! I lagered the beer for only two weeks before kegging and force carbonating it.
It came out very well, despite not being lagered for two months (which is about what I usually aim for when I lager).
At the end of March, I did an unscientific taste comparison between my Doppelbock and Weihenstephaner Korbinian. Testers included my wife and two daughters.
The consensus was the flavor was very close to each other, but my Doppelbock did not have the burning/solvent taste that can come with higher alcohol beers. Maybe missing my target ABV by almost a point was a factor, but the beer still came out very good, very drinkable and was gone very quickly!!