Smoke Jumper Rauchbier

>> Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I love smoked foods...ribs, pork shoulder, fish, brisket, cheeeeeeeese. Basically I've never had a smoke food that I didn't like. The first smoked beer I tried was Rauchbier from Eisenbahn Brewery located in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil. With the cooler months approaching it's time to brew up a batch of this flavorful beer.

I made this recipe for the first time last year and it turned out great. Last year I used Weyermann Rauch malt. I don't know if the grain was on the old side, but I couldn't detect any smokey aroma when I got it so just to be safe I ended up smoking it over hickory for about 45 minutes. This resulted in a nice smooth smoky flavor in the finished beer. This time I'm using Briess' Smoked Malt. It's smoked over cherry wood and Briess says it contributes a smooth sweet smokiness.

This is a lager and as such it's best to pitch a good sized starter. I started my yeast starter a few days ahead of brew day following John Palmer's instructions for a lager yeast starter. I believe there are a few commercial beers named Smoke Jumper. This is not intended to be a clone of any of the commercial offerings.

6.00 lb Smoked Malt (Briess)
4.00 lb Munich Type II (Weyermann)
1.00 lb Carared (Weyermann)
0.50 lb Caramunich II (Weyermann)
1.00 oz Tettnanger [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops
1 Pkgs Bavarian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2206) Yeast-Lager

The first time I made this I used a single infusion mash @153 for 75 minutes. I've been wanting to try a step mash so this time I mashed at 122 for 20 min, 149 for 30 min, 158 for 30 min and mashout at 170 for 10 min.

Pitch at 58 F and lower temp to 48 F over two days. Hold at 48 F for two weeks. Rack to secondary and lager at 35 F for 6 weeks.

Updated 11/13/2010 - I kegged this one this week. Sad to say but I'm very disappointed. I'm picking up some off-flavors in the form of band-aid like flavors. II think I made a critical error in the step mash by not first boiling the hot liquor water. As a result, I believe there was chlorine in the mash which resulted in unwanted phenols. On the upside, I've added a carbon water filter to my equipment list so hopefully I'll be able to avoid this in the future. I'm going to let this age a bit more and cross my fingers and hope for the best. First taste impressions give it an F grade.

Updated 12/12/2010 - I took some of this with me to the 2nd Annual Big Ass Holiday Beer Tasting last night. I'm pleased to say that the band-aid-like phenol has subsided, so this beer has definitely improved over the last month. This is an intensely smokey beer. It's not harsh like a peat smoked malt would be, but it is unmistakeably smokey for sure. The next time I make it, I'm thinking about a blend of traditional rauchmalt with the cherry-wood smoked malt, or perhaps increasing the Munich to try to give it a little more malt/smoke balance. At this point I'd give it a B-.