Well now that my little public therapy session is out of the way...as Charlie Papazian would say, "let's cut the shuck and jive and get on with it":
DAMPFBIER. A beautiful and mysterious Bavarian beer style that has been all but lost in the annals of history. These days, even in our utter golden age of craft beer, where almost every imaginable ale and lager varietal can not only be found--but is often even brewed--within mere miles of one's home, Dampfbier ("steam beer" auf Deutsch) remains an elusive but delicious style that only appears in the repertoire of adventurous homebrewers and your most hipster-elite brewpub. To make a Dampfbier, we essentially take the same malt/hop/body/alcohol content of an ordinary Märzen/Oktoberfest, but instead of a traditional lager yeast which ferments out very clean and neutral, this beer is fermented with a Hefeweizen strain and all of its spice/fruit characteristics. A first taste of this beer leaves one with a strong feeling of "why the heck aren't more people doing this?!?" but in terms of flavor, the brew has a complex profile that combines familiar Oktoberfest characteristics--namely a biscuity, nutty amber malt profile with a whisper of earthy, floral noble hop character--but with a yeast character that imparts some serious banana/clove/spice character. Basically, if a traditional Märzen/Oktoberfest is a hamburger, this beer is a spicy, complex and mysterious kefta kebab...the structure looks familiar, but the flavors will take you to another world entirely.
A simple recipe indeed:
8 lbs German Pilsener malt
3.5 lbs dark Munich malt (20°L)
1.25 oz Mount Hood @60 minutes
.75 oz Mount Hood @flameout, 10-15 minute steep
WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale (famous strain of the world-class Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen)
Stay tuned for this beauty.