If there’s anything that smells better than Rauchbier wort, I don’t want to know what it is.
I know I say that about a number of different worts, but this time I mean it.
After what seems like a long time in the IPA and sour ale desert, the chosen style for the next highly-contested Wyeast Employee Homebrew Challenge has moved into a different wheelhouse, so I dusted off this old chestnut from the logbook and propagated some lager yeast.
Inspired by Schlenerkla Helles from Heller-Trum, which is actually brewed without any smoked malt – allegedly just picking up the woodsy, bacony phenols from the environment. Which could work in the rarefied air of Bamberg, with hectoliters of Marzen and Ur-Bock flowing like amber beechwood-smoked rivers in the dreams of some Franconian analogue of Homer Simpson.
Me, I use 10% Rauchmalz.
Target OG: 1.049
- 85% Weyermann Pilsner
- 10% Weyermann Rauchmalz
- 5% Weyermann CaraFoam
- 134°F for 40′
- 155°F for 20′
- 170°F for 10′
- German Hersbrucker (pellet, 2.1% aa) at FWH to 18 IBU
- Cool to 48°F, O2, & pitch with a Bavarian lager strain – fermentation at 50-52°F
- SG 1.012 by day 11, rack & cool down to lager temp on day 20
As pictured before my packaged entries, the final product came out gold with perhaps a very faint hint of orange – from the slightly-darker Rauchmalz – and a stark white lacing. The nose has a strong suggestion of smoke, while in the mouth the sweet, phenolic smoke flavor takes turns with the pastry-dough sweetness of Pils malt and Carafoam to stand out front. Maybe a hint of hop spice lurking around the edges. Nice, full mouthfeel but with a dry, clean finish.
But it’s not a sour IPA. I’ll let you know how badly it gets beat up in the comp …