Friday, January 30, 2009

Golden Rauchbier

Ah, once again its time to brew another smoked malt lager beer. As you may know by now, I love smoke flavor in beer. I love how some people get completely turned off by it. I get to look at them as if they were from a different planet. Simply, it means there's more for me. But by now, I do have a nice handful of friends who have come to appreciate the rauchmalt flavor and aroma, so this beer is for them.

Last year's Rauch Bock was absolutely fantastic! Perfectly nestled within the deep & dark, rich & sweet bock beer, there was a moderate amount of smoke character. Three pounds of German rauchmalt provided the right level smokiness.

In this year's Golden Rauchbier, 80% of the grist is rauchmalt, which should drop the ultimate smoke bomb on a full flavored Continental style lager. Using the Pilsen Lager yeast might create an interesting dryness, so there's a touch of sweet malts to balance it out. Munich and CaraMunich should add sweetness and a more saturated golden color.

The hops may be a tad aggressive for the style, but the overall IBU's at 27 are spread out a bit over three additions. Actually, this hop schedule is much like my Copper Lagers where there's a nice hop presence throughout. I've wanted to do a hopped-up smokey pale ale before, so this might clue me in to whether its a good or bad idea. Already the wort doesn't smell as smokey with all the hops in there.

Everything about the brewday went smooth except when adding the first addition bittering hops. It was boiling more vigorously than usual, and I accidentally dumped in half the hops. An instant volcanic-like eruption of foamy & hoppy wort flowed out and killed the flames and the whole electrical system of the stove.
Super frustrating to say the very least. But I got it cleaned up, and Sarah had already found a new/used oven for sale with free delivery, at a very good price. So that's good.

The two ways to prevent these boil-overs from happening on our new range are...
1. Brew less volume:( 2. Boiling outdoors:)

Golden Rauchbier

11.0 lbs. German Rauchmalt
2.0 lbs. Munich
.75 lbs. CaraMunich

1.5 oz. Hallertau, 3.9%, pellet, 60min
.50 oz. Hallertau, 3.9%, pellet, 30min
.50 oz. Hallertau, 4.4%, pellet, 15min

Wyeast Pilsen lager yeast cake

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 1/30/09
Racked: just primary
Bottled: 3/13/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 1 tsp CaCl, .75 tsp Acid Blend
2nd Sparge: .25 tsp Epsom, .25 tsp Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.15 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5-5.1
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 153°F/65min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 168°F/---
1st Batch Vol/SG: 4gal/1.070

2nd Batch Sparge H2OTemp/MashTemp: 182°F/170°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 3.4gal/1.032

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.4
Pre-Boil SG: 1.054
Boil Time: 60+min
Post-Boil Vol: 6gal
Mash Efficiency: 76%

OG: 1.064
IBU: 27
Color/SRM: Golden/7-10
Ferment Temp: 48-->56°F

FG: 1.021
ABW: 4.5%
ABV: 5.64%


1. The boil-over was very frustrating in deed. Gotta find a better way to boil these worts. I'm wondering what propane costs per batch? I would also like to see if a portable solar heated kettle would work.
2. My daughter had a sniff of the lautering mash, and said "it smells like fire."
3. Already fermenting within a few hours!
4. Fermentation smells mostly malty without much hops nor smoke.
5. At bottling and kegging, this brew was quite clear and had a pretty full smoke flavor. Without carbonation, not much aroma, but it had decent body and finishing on the high side, it should have some nice residual sweetness to balance everything out.


Ben said...

For some reason a smooth homebrewing session would just be weird. This is a style of beer that I have yet to make but that is on my list. Let us know how it turns out!

Señor Brew™ said...

I agree with Ben. I can't remember a smooth brewing session. Also, I don't think I've even ever tasted a rauchbier.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the off-topic comment, Ted, but I didn't see a way to contact you on your blog. I'm in the Chicago-area and am interested in finding local sources of organic ingredients (I order from 7 Bridges in California, but would like to buy in bulk locally, if possible). Any suggestions? Thanks,


Anonymous said...

Propane per batch shouldn't be that expensive, also depends on your source, burner etc. If you are using natural gas you should see if there is a hookup to your balcony (if you have a balcony) lots of people here have natural gas bbqs, you would just need to buy the correct burner. The solar heated kettle sounds interesting, what kind direct solar reflection?

The Beer sounds great, I am planning on something similar but fermented with a clean ale yeast in the next few months (can't lager yet) have you tried scherlanka's smoked weizen?

Russ said...


I brewed a Smoked Hefe last year and, even with 50% Rauchmalz the smoke flavor was way less than Schlenkerla's. If you want to go that route, I think you're gonna have to smoke your own malt. Of course, you could always experiment with something like a smoked Dampfbier to overcome your ale limitations but still get a nice smoke kick.

Señor Brew™ said...

I get propane from Strack and Van Til--$17 for a 20lb refill. I think I get about 6 10 gallon batches per tank. $3 a batch, or $1.50 in your case for 5 gallons. If you have a 2000 watt element on your stove and it's on for 3 hours (heating mash water, sparge water, and boil), you're using 6 kilowatts, or about 70 cents. So the propane is more expensive, but less than a buck a batch. I don't have any insulation on my HLT or kettle either--if you do, you could bring the cost down more.

Ted Danyluk said...

Ben, this one was a little out of the ordinary for me. I guess I have my system and process pretty dialed in as the say. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Senor Brew, Thanks for the info and tip. Looks like it should be affordable enough. Well see what shall happen.

Jake, Thanks for your input. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you might have meant Schlenkerla, and if so, yes. They are great.

Russ, I have a felling that the more hops used, the less smokiness will come through. Also, I think if there is enough accentuating malts like aromatic, melanoidin, various crystals and caramalts, these may help to bring out the flavor more. I was very tempted to put in a few ounces of peated malt to accentuate the German rauchmalz, but ultimately left it out.

The solar idea is pretty much theory right now, but my good friend installs various solar systems, and may be able to help make it a reality. I'll invest in a system if it's possible & portable.

Josh said...

New reader here...

Propane isn't going to prevent boil overs. You can either reduce the heat, or spread it better than you currently are.

Stuff that worked for me:
1) Buy a bigger electric burner, which has more control over your stove. Your stove (sounds like electric) running full tilt makes a smaller area hotter. Buy the biggest (area) burner you can get in electric.
2) Go to home depot, ask where they keep "flashing". It's basically a piece of steel cut into a square for filling in corners of houses. Buy the flashing, and put it between your burner and kettle. It will spread the heat better.

Kevin LaVoy said...

Outdoor brewing is the way to go for sure. It'll shorten your brewday with the quick boil. I think it took 10 minutes after the lautering to get it to a boil yesterday. For me, it makes cleanup quicker too, since I use my cooling water to clean everything while I'm chilling the wort.

That beer sounds great. It should be bold if nothing else. If it's as good as last years Rauchbier, that'll be great.