save the date

Dig this: Doppelbock brew day on December 21, the end of this age of the earth by the Mayan’s long count calendar, the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, the day when perhaps the northern soul most needs a bock. Brewed too late, or right on time?

Both? Obviously I’ll be buying whatever Doppelbock I drink on 12/21 (suggestions, please?), but this one’s going to be damn well prime time for the first winter solstice of the Mayan’s fourth age (the world doesn’t end, as Charles Simic wrote). I’m going to lager it a year. Well, half of it, anyway. The other half will get cracked a little sooner into the fourth age, sort of following the liturgical calendar that spawned this style, pouring half-liters somewheres around Lent. The liquid bread of the Bavarian monastic orders, the holy roller of all German lagers, the all-malt, all malty sauce for the winter beer buffet.

Machst du etwas crünk und schmeckt?

Man, I talk a lot. All over the map. Big talk. Here’s one final piece of big talk: I invite you, if you’re so inclined, to brew a Doppelbock with me, wherever you are, on 12/21, and then we’ll all share our experiences and knock back a post-cleanup beer alone together and sing Kumbaya, and/or that one Coca-Cola jingle. Whatever recipe or batch size, parameters, guidelines (or lack thereof), version or mash schedule floats dein Boot. I further invite you to not let lager yeast be an obstacle to joy: don’t be ein Wiener, as Gabriel Sedlmayr would tell us, and ferment your recipe with a clean-profiled ale yeast (or try Wyeast 2124 – or the equivalent – at ale temps). Actually, Gabriel would most certainly not tell you to use an ale yeast, but then again, as my buddy Greg would say: he dead.

Super-cool, grass-roots, all about the home brewing man, social media-type flash-brewmob. But mainly this is so I won’t feel alone when I’m bundled up all dumpy-like and decocting in the garage. I want to know some other dorks are suffering for their art too.

In case you’re interested, here’s the recipe I’ll be doing:

MZAtor 2.0
Target OG: 1.080


  • 94% Weyermann floor-malted Bohemian Dark
  • 3% Weyermann Carafoam
  • 1% Weyermann Carafa III Spezial
  • 1% Melanoidin
  • 1% Weyermann CaraAroma


  • Double decoction with rests at 134F, 156F, and 170F. 


  •  FWH – Hallertau mittelfrüh (whole) to 13 IBU
  • 15″ – Hallertau mittelfrüh to 2 IBU


  • Bavarian lager strain

The one batch I’ve done with this yeast so far has shown with a low-medium level of sulfur (pleasant, Bavarian) but otherwise clean, malt-accented and with a nice creamy mouthfeel, as advertised.

36 thoughts on “save the date

  1. You know Dawson, I think I will brew that Doppelbock with you. Same yeast and everything. The southern soul also longs for a fantastic double bock. I will personally be drinking my favorite Doppelbock. The first love, the introduction – Ayinger Celebrator. A fine beer for a fine end!

  2. I don’t see why you’re wasting your time, Nibiru (AKA Planet X) is well on it’s way. I guess you might as well go out doing what you love. I will be chanting on a mountain top arms wide welcoming Nibiru – what is dead may never die…

    Seriously though, your recipe is really interesting – it seems like you aren’t going for much flavor contribution from the character malts, but instead are relying on the decoction to get some complex malt flavor? If you weren’t decocting this (blasphemy), would you adjust the recipe at all? As much as I love the idea of a flash-mob brew I can’t get a brew in on or around the 21st, but I am intrigued – I hope you do this again.

    • Right – my idea is to use process, gravity, and age to make it interesting. I think step-mashing might benefit from upping the darker malt percentages slightly, but that Bohemian floor malt has plenty of character.

  3. If money and time permit, I will be joining you. I am making the trek back to the great white north (Michigan) from a three year stint in Houston, TX. It would be nice to do a “cold-ass” brewing session again.

    On a completely different subject…do you have any advice for storing grain? I plan on stocking up, but need to prepare a proper vessel.

  4. Dawson – I see you are using the Weyermann floor-malted Bohemian Dark malt. I have never used that grain before. I usually opt for the Munich type II in my doppelbock but am not opposed to trying something new. After all, the WLP835 is new to me – why not a new base malt.
    Can you describe this malt from your own experience and how it compares to Munich Type II, aside from the minor difference in color?

    • It seems paler than a Type I or II Munich (rated, I think, at 5-8L) but a bit darker than Vienna, and the flavor is accordingly midway between a Vienna and Munich malt – bready like Munich but with a Vienna-like toasty/husky character. It’s good stuff, and I think it will take well to decoction.

  5. Besides Celebrater, my favorate doppelbock is Bayern’s doppelbock. My personal plans for bock have more immediacy, so if I brew for the bock flashmob it will probably need be this bastadized maibock thats has been on my mind with tons of Americanized hops (mt hood, domestic saaz and the like) and ferment it with Papazians yeast. It’s the thought that counts, right? On a side note, it would be neat, at least for me, if you had a cameraman on your brewday, all my friends and I have been deprived of Dawson brewdays for too long now!

  6. A brewmob. Fabulous! I wont decoct, but it will certainly be a brewday. Maybe a half assed bock? It will be cold here to in New York (Lat 43.3) no doubt. Brew strong.

  7. Im in. Although it’ll probably be pretty hot out. Well, maybe it’ll make you feel better knowing I’m sweating my ass off in Florida stirring my dickmaisch.

    I will be enjoying Great Divide’s Wolfgang and Weihenstephaner Korbinian. They both have that almost choclate like melanoidin flavor I love.

    Great stuff as always. 13 IBU’s?!!! You cray cray son.

    • Cray cray, you are right … but what if some of this stuff accidentally freezes? That would just intensify everything, IBUs and all. We have to be mindful of consequences, cause you never know what might get forgotten outside overnight in January.

  8. I’m in, from down under! I’ll be brewing before you, and I’ll advise of impending doom before it reaches the US, as we will be incinerated about 5 hours before the US.

    Summer doppelbock brewing, nice 🙂 Lager it for winter 🙂

    • 21/12/12 in Australia: No flaming fireballs, Zombies or earthquakes to report as yet. Appears as though your brew day should go ahead.
      Family pulled rank, no brewing for me today 😦

  9. Well, I will be working, so good luck on your brews! I hope we are all around to witness the results.

    I too would love to see another brew-day video. I suspect however, that a very well constructed legal separation agreement will prevent it. I wonder if that agreement covers, Evil Dawson, The Cobra, and Chap Wilton?

    Seriously, videos are highly anticipated. As I grow in my brewing prowess, I want to tackle decoction mashing, and parti-gyle techniques. I know you know this stuff MZA so share your knowledge when you are able to.

    Best wishes to you and your family Micheal, and happy holidays!

    Happy Brewing!

  10. Planning on taking part in brewing on the 21st, but might do your Old Golden/Warwick Golden Barleywine instead. The 100% Warminster Maris Otter one. I like the idea of brewing a barleywine for the end of the world.

  11. I like your recipe. Simplier is better. Excuse my ignorance, but why the 1% Melanoidin? I thought the decoction mash would deliver the necessary melanoidins. Great idea! I think I’ll brew on the winter solstice as well, but maybe go the other direction and do a maibock, just to balance the beer universe. Or maybe brew a big (but not robust) brown porter. I can never make up my mind. Thanks for your inspiration as always!!!

    • Color, complexity, and more cowbell. I mean, more melanoidins. Regarding making up one’s mind – nothing wrong with a game day decision, that keeps things exciting! Cheers!

      • Brewed a Mayan Defyin’ Imperial “English-Style” Brown-ish Ale (OG 1.068) with loads of game day decisions. Added some Munich malt in the grist, and threw in late-addition Centennial hops, all last minute. Vigorously fermenting away with a healthy pitch of S-04 (first time trying this yeast), and keeping a six-pack around for the next winter solstice. Hope your apocalyptic brew day went well!

  12. Checking in from the great green north, Vancouver BC. We will be joining you for a world’s end brew night. Our plan is to have four long aging batches of beer named after the Old Ones, Azathoth, Cthulhu and Co: Barleywine, RIS, Quad, and now the Doppelbock! The best part of this brew night being if the world ends we don’t have to clean up!

  13. Never tried a decoction mash, and won’t have enough time that day to learn one. Probably not even enough time that day for an all-grain. So I’m going to join you in “spirit” by doing a little brew I call a “DubiousBock”.

    9 lbs NB Munich Malt Syrup
    2 lbs Muntons Light DME
    6 oz Chocolate
    2 oz Roasted Barley

    2 oz Saaz at 60 min

    1 pack London Ale yeast

    Yep, that’s the sound of german brewers rolling in their graves you’re hearing.

  14. Tomorrow a brew buddy and I are brewing a Marzen-esque lager while it’s cold enough here in Oregon.

    45% Munich 10
    45% Vienna
    10% Melanoidin
    SIM@152 OG: ~1049
    FWH: Whole Sterling 1oz.
    30min : Whole Sterling 1oz.

    WLP833 (I could drive to Wyeast but the LHBS only stocks White Labs, what gives?)

    I have a question, citizen at large. Did you make your mash paddle or what? I’ve been trying to find a nice wood mash paddle for ages, I have admired the simplicity and non-bulkiness of your specimen. I’ve been looking for oars on CL that would be suitable for sanding and drilling, but again no luck. So I’d appreciate some spilt beans.


  15. Then you likely love you some WLP566 Rye Saison, because that’s the other beer we’re brewing. I obviously need to find myself a northwest friend with tools to up the mash-paddle ante.

  16. No can commit to Bock anything. I am completely out of my Hauz Ale…Two Hearted clone. And must build pipline for long winter ahead. I leave you to the Bock and the 21rst, to close to xmas to focus on just little ole me – will come betwixt the holidays as DADDY HAS THE WHOLE WEEK OFF!

  17. I’m in! Might even use the recipe and up gravity just a touch. First decoct too going to use BTV as my resource for it. Might even try my first hot scotchie!

  18. I’m currently reviewing my calender and strongly considering this. I’ve been wanting to do another Doppelbock and this would be a good excuse. Would there be an ensuing Doppelbockalypse festival?

    Glad I found your blog, I was missing your posts on the NB blog.

  19. Count me in for the end of the world brew day! There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. Plus I still have a yeast blend with German Lager X.

  20. I have made 5 different lagers since 585 came out. I split the batch between 830 and 835 each time. Helles, Helles 2, Schwartzbeir, Rauchbier. 835 is cleaner and less of a sulfur producer than 830. 830 just tastes like a beer if that makes sense. 835 for the Helles has replaced my go to yeast for German Lagers – 830.

  21. I was going to brew this weekend, but I’ve decided to join you, and the rest of the Dawsome Army, for an end-of-the-world brew session! Unlike you though, I’m brewing a Patersbier. 🙂

  22. Pingback: Doppelbock 2012: MZAtor 2.0 | the beer engine

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