Monday, April 30, 2018

The Kid Returns

To everything there is a season (turn, turn, turn...). Sometimes life gets crazy and brewing is low on the priority list. Sometimes when you try to break back into brewing with aplomb, your apartment just isn't clean enough and you infect two batches in a row, and the resulting disappointment temporarily ruins your confidence in something at which you have proven your mettle many times over. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything...

Well now that my little public therapy session is out of the 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.

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