Spring Equinox Rye Juniper ‘Doppelbock’

It’s finally Spring! At this equinox, I’ve been feeling the revolutions of the year. One year ago my sojourn to Ireland was ending, and I’ve been having vivid memories of the trip. Wet weather, Atlantic fog, daffodils, border collies, warm steamy windows, rocky beaches, turf smoke, wool socks, friendly pubs.

I remember feeling the same Spring anticipation last year, especially after the inspiration of a budding Irish Spring! It’s almost time for stretching daylight hours, bud break, and photosynthesis! While the weather is still brisk, I’ve been starting to stretch out with some creative energy, especially in my brewing.

I’ve embarked on a lot of projects lately, from new kombucha flavors to beer experiments. Recently I made a purple kettle sour (!) and just tried my hand at my first turbid mash and spontaneous fermentation—the traditional process for the beautiful lambics and guezes of Belgium. And next, I’ll blend yerba mate into a pilsner to test an elixir idea I’ve been dreaming about!

 

Major experiments aside, this minor creative challenge of a Rye Juniper Doppelbock has been one of my favorite creations in this early spring. It is deep and sweet, a perfect accompaniment to chilly spring days and warm, humid afternoons. Doppelbock is a strong, dark, sweet lager, and does not include rye malt in the traditional style. That being said, I love a bit of rye in beer—I think the rye and juniper add a great earthiness, white pepper flavor, and forest spice which are lovely flavors this sweet, deep beer! Plus, ever since trying spring beer Jacobsen Forårsbryg a few years ago I’ve been inspired to try dark, forest “spiced” beers that can be perfect for spring!

Some notes on the recipe below: we produce lagers in winter when we can use our uninsulated mudroom or basement as a very cool fermentation environment. Following an initial cool fermentation, I lager our beers for their secondary cool fermentation in a temperature adjustable fridge. Finally, this is a 5.5-gallon all-grain recipe.

Rye Doppelbock

OG: 1.077, FG: 1.019, ABV: 7.5%, 22srm, 80% Efficiency, 37.5 IBU

Ingredients

  • 12 lbs Munich malt
  • 2 lbs Rye malt
  • 1 lb Special B malt
  • 1 oz Magnum 13.2% AA @60 min
  • 1 oz Mount Hood 5.6% AA @ 10 min
  • 1 oz Juniper berries @ 10 min
  • 8.5 oz Wyeast 2206 – Bavarian Lager (liquid yeast)

Instructions 

  • Conversion mash: 4.7 gal at 155°F for 60 minutes.
  • Final batch sparge: 4.39 at 168°F for 15 minutes.
  • Bring wort to a boil, boil for 90 minutes, adding 1 oz Magnum at 60 minutes and 1 oz Mount Hood and 1 oz juniper berries at  10 minutes.
  • After flameout, cool to 46-58°F. Aerate and pitch 8.5 oz Wyeast 2206 – Bavarian Lager. Complete primary fermentation for 2-3 weeks at 46-58°F.
  • Diacytel rest: rest the fermenter at 60–70 °F for 48 hours.
  • Rack to secondary and lager at 38-40°F for two months. After lagering, the beer is ready to package, carbonate or condition, and enjoy with Spring!

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