Doppelbock is a style of beer I really love. I love the intense bready/toffee malt character coupled with the clean fermented lager profile. Doppelbock is a traditional German style lager with high level of malt flavour/aroma and higher ABV. Not what you typically think of when you hear the word lager, but remember lager is just a type of yeast (and also a conditioning practice). I previously brewed a Doppelbock back in Feburary 2014 and it turned out fantastic. It even did quite well in a few competitions including a 3rd Best of Show (BOS), my best placing so far in a competition. Naturally I had to brew one for the wedding.
The name Double Diamond has two meanings in terms of our wedding. We both love skiing, and a double diamond is the most difficult category of ski slopes at most resorts. A few triple diamonds do exist but they are usually just marketing gimmicks or never open to the public. The other meaning is that Rebecca works in the natural resources industry, and diamonds were the resource being extracted at the first mine she worked at. Plus you know, diamonds… wedding… get it? I guess that’s three meanings…
When approaching the recipe for doppelbock 2.0 I decided that I wanted to change up the base malt a bit. Last time I used a mix of Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich I. This time I decided that I wanted to increase the intensity of the biscuit and toast malt flavours so I changed the base malt to a mix of Munich I and Munich II. I would have done a 50/50 mix if I didn’t have a whole bag of Munich I sitting there and had to buy the Munich II full price at the LHBS. I believe the key to my Doppelbock recipe is that it doesn’t go overboard on gravity. I’ve seen a lot of homebrewer and craft brewer interpretations of the style that are 10% and black. This recipe aims for a lower ABV, which is where the classic German examples like Paulaner’s Salvator sit. This really helps keep the drinkability high, but it does hurt the beer a bit in competition where the biggest and most intense beers in the flight tend to stand out more.
You’ll notice that even with 0 mL of lactic acid, the mash pH still calculates out to 5.33 pH, this is due to all the crystal and melanoiden malts. Few people know that crystal malt is actually more acidic than roast malt. After my imperial stout mashing mishap I decided to keep this beer at my usual 1.5 qt/lb mash. This allows me to take pH and temp readings more easily. This does mean I have less water for sparging though, which may affect efficiency.
Double Diamond Doppelbock
Brewed: Nov 6, 2014
Kegged: Dec 5, 2014
Targets: OG: 1.083, FG: 1.019, ABV: ~8.8%
Actual: OG: 1.079, FG: 1.021, ABV: ~8.0%
Batch size: 6 gallons
Mash: 150°F for 60 mins @ 1.50 qt/lb thickness
Boil: 90 minutes
Pre-boil Volume: 7.75 gallons pre-boil
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
13 lbs Munich I 6L (Weyermann)
3 lbs Munich II 9L (Weyermann)
2 lbs Caramunich III 65L (Weyermann)
8 oz Melanoiden Malt 25L (Weyermann)
1.0 oz Hallertau 6.9% AA @ 60 mins (19 IBU)
1 whirlfloc, 2 g DAP yeast nutrient @ 5 mins
Water and pH
Mash pH target: 5.33 pH (Bru’n Water)
Water Volumes: mash 7.1 gallons, sparge 3 gallons
Gypsum: 0.7 g in mash, 0.3 g in sparge
Calcium Chloride: 1.4 g in mash, 0.6 g in sparge
Lactic Acid: 0 mL in mash, 1.2 mL in sparge
Water Profile: Ca = 55 ppm, Mg = 9 ppm, Na = 15 ppm, SO4 = 42 ppm, Cl = 52 ppm, HCO3 = 109 ppm, RA = 46 ppm, SO4:Cl = 0.8
WLP833 (~604 Billion cells)
Pitch at 46°F
Oxygen for 2 minutes
Controller set to 49-50°F
Start raising to 65°F on day 5 for diacetyl rest
The brew day went very well, hitting all of my numbers within reasonable margin. I started with 7.1 gallons of treated water in my mash tun heated to 162*F, then mixed in the 18.5 lbs of grain. After a few minutes I measured the mash temp at 149*F, pretty close to my 150*F target. I decided not to add any infusion water since I was already lacking on sparge water volume. If this had been a lower OG beer with the strike and sparge water volumes reversed I would have had no issue adding some boiling water. After about 10 minutes I gave my mash a quick stir then pulled a sample to measure pH. After chilling the sample under 80*F I measured a mash pH of 5.29 pH, pretty good, and that’s with no lactic acid added and a 1.5 qt/lbs thickness! It probably would have been too low if I had mashed much thicker. After the mash time had elapsed, and vorlauf complete, I collected 4.8 gallons of 1.077 SG wort as my first runnings. My 3.0 gallons of treated sprage water was then transferred in which yielded 3.2 gallons of 1.040 SG second runnings (I guess there was 0.2 gallons stuck in the grain). After mixing it all together in the kettle I got 7.75 gallons of 1.064 SG wort for my pre boil.
The boil went on for 90 minutes with the hops, whirlfloc, and nutrient added at the correct times. I was left with 6 gallons of 1.079 OG wort in the kettle, a bit under my target OG, even though I boiled off a quarter gallon more than usual. There must have been something off with my pre-boil SG reading and the refractometer. Despite the lower final volume I was able to collect the full 5.5 gallons into the fermenter by scavenging some wort that would usually be left in my hoses and chiller after the kettle runs dry in the transfer. My target pitching temp for lagers is usually 46*F, which was lower than my ground water temp at the time. So I chilled the beer to 56*F and put it in the fermentation chamber to chill the rest of the way. It only took about 1.5 hours to reach pitching temp so I was still able to pitch before bed. I made a 4.5 L starter for this beer so I decanted, poured some of the slurry into a small mason jar for next time, then pitched the rest. I also injected pure O2 for 120 seconds to give a nice healthy dose for the high OG beer.
Pitching temp and fermentation control are some of the most important aspects of lager brewing. I like to start low and ferment cold to ensure minimal ester production. Esters in these kinds of beers will muddle the nice malt flavours that these beers are all about. I let the fermentation rise to 50*F where I held it for 5 days, before the krausen started the fall. At that time I started raising the temperature 5°F per day until I hit 70°F. I let it rest there for the rest of the fermentation time to clean up and finish attenuating.
When I went to keg the beer about a month after brew day I noticed that the FG was only 1.021, about two points over my target. Not the end of the world but good to take note of. I lagered the beer in my keezer at 39°F for 6 weeks before tasting.
I have to say, this came out pretty well. When held up to the light I see a beautiful ruby red colour. I get a high level of bready malt aroma with some toffee mixed in. I’m actually amazed at how pungent the malt aroma is, really enjoyable. Definitely a clean ferment, no esters at all. No hops. The balance is pretty much right on, though a touch to the sweet side of even. Despite finishing a few points high, the finish does come off dry enough to give that easy drinkability. I think this one will go over well at the wedding on Saturday.
Overall I really enjoy this beer, though it is very different from my last one. The clarity is lower than I expected, despite the 6 weeks of lagering time. Part of me is wondering if the reduced diastatic power of Munich malt meant that the mash wasn’t 100% converted at the 60 minute mark. When I re-brew this beer I’m going to add in two or three pounds of pilsner malt to give me some confidence that there is enough enzymatic power. I’m happy with the flavours here, but some fine tuning is required if I’m going to enter my Doppelbock into MCAB this May. I ranked it 39/50, in the excellent range. My main qualm with this beer is the clarity, and that is really only enough to dock it a point or two when filling out a scoresheet.
This is probably going to be my last blog post before my wedding this Saturday, but I have a half finished post on an IPA that I may try to get out if I have the time. I’m definitely not going to be able to post about all 11 before then, I’ll play catch up afterwards. After the wedding we are going on our honeymoon in Denver. Lots of great beer there, can’t wait. Wish me luck on Saturday! Cheers.