So I was looking at my upcoming brew days schedule. I saw that I have a Doppelbock-style beer coming up. Now it’s to be done as an ale, but it’s generally a brown malty low-hop-character clean high-gravity beer. I made one before, but it was meant to be a bock that just came out with incredible efficiency and jumped into the doppel range. So in other words, I don’t know how to build the right recipe. I decided I needed to look up a recipe. I took a quick look on the forums, and found a few arguments about many unrelated topics, and gave up for the time being. I then sent myself an email and forgot all about it.
Then tonight I decided to finish going through the latest Brew Your Own magazine while watching the Patriots struggle through the first half. The main theme of the magazine is brewing with extract. While interesting, it’s not really tuned to where I’m at with my brewing.
First thing I found was an article about adding body to beer. This culminated in a recipe for “Small IPA”. A low alcohol IPA-flavored beer is something I’ve been interested in for a while. But after many attempts, I had pretty much given up on it. I rationalized this, deeming it “pointless” to make a beer under 4% ABV when I could just as easily make one 50% stronger. But thanks to this article, now I have a recipe concept (1/3 Munich, 1/3 Vienna, and 1/3 Victory malts) to work from for the next revision of my “Small IPA”. Cool!
Flipping forward through the magazine some more, I get to one of those stupid ad cards that makes the pages not fold back quite right. The front of the card was a call to subscribe for a discount, but the back of the card is what caught my eye. It was a few recipes. Normally I barely even glance at these recipes, but as I was ripping it out, I just figured I’d see what the nonsense was all about.
Lo and behold, it’s a recipe for a Doppelbock. Now I don’t think I’ll necessarily follow it verbatim, but it at least gives me some sort of clue as to how to proceed. It uses mostly plain old 2-row, with some Munich, Victory Wheat (?), and Crystal 120 to 1.084 and 20L with Hallertau hops to 21 IBU. It’s a starting point that I can work with. Actually nothing too fancy. I have Munich. I can use my normal wheat malt. I might get some of that C-120, but I can handle that.
It’s amazing sometimes when you just want something and then forget all about it, and all of a sudden you find it!
Blogging about beer has many benefits. First of all, you get to drink beer, and then check off part of your to-do list after you drink it (and photograph it, take notes, etc.) For me, I just envelop myself in all aspects of beer so that I can provide the best information I can about beer for my various postings. But one of the greatest benefits that I’ve been hoping for, I have finally realized. As you might have guessed by the title of this post, it’s free beer!
This has been a fun week of learning about Doppelbock for me. I took the opportunity to also hone my Bock knowledge and my overall lager expertise. I planned to taste one Doppelbock each night (except New Year’s Eve, which was reserved for a Champagne-like Gueuze), and got some sense of the range of Doppelbock. I got to learn what was not Doppelbock, even though it said it was on the bottle. I got to review a bit more thoroughly the processes for fermenting a lager as a homebrewer.
I had heard the rumors: the best domestic Doppelbock was being made right here in CT, at the Thomas Hooker brewery. I have even been to their brewery earlier this year, and it is nice and clean in there, with plenty of room for expansion. The President, Curt Cameron, is experienced in the industry, having owned a few liquor stores. He’s very business-oriented, with a strong focus on great beer. Today I espouse the virtues of fine Connecticut Doppelbock: Thomas Hooker’s Liberator Doppelbock.
This week it is all about the Session for me. This week is Session 11: Doppelbock. For those of you not familiar, The Session is a group blogging day on a common topic. This month it’s Doppelbock. So I am going to learn a bit of history on the style, and taste a few Bocks and Doppelbocks. Ultimately, I’ll hopefully find something really interesting along the way to talk about on Friday. Until then, my first day of BockFest is a profile of the Bock style, including a diversion into Doppelbock.