Classic Rauchbier

>> Friday, January 08, 2016

Today I'm doing my first small batch (2.5 gallon) on my mini-mash tun. The recipe for today is a Classic Rauchbier. I haven't brewed a Rauchbier in quite a while. I still think the first one I made years ago was the best and the batches since then have been mediocre at best. One of them even had a horrible chlorophenol problem. I'm hoping this one turns out as good as the first batch did.

The recipe today consists of equal parts Munich and Rauchmalt with a little bit of Melanoidin tossed in to add some malty complexity. A touch of Carafa III adds a bit of color. One thing I've learned about yeast is pitch big with lagers. This will help ensure a healthy fermentation and a nice clean finished beer. For thus recipe, I used one smack pack in a 1L starter on my stir plate. Here's the recipe as I'm brewing it today.

2.25 # Avangard Dark Munich II
2.25 # Weyermann Rauchmalt
7.0 oz  Weyermann Melanoidin Malt
0.5 oz Carafa III Dehusked (lauter)
0.62 oz Hallertau (60 min)
0.21 oz Hallertau (5 min)
1/4 Whirlfloc
1/4 t Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager

Mash at 154F for 60 min. Chill to 46F then ramp up to 52F over 48 hours. Perform a diacetyl rest when fermentation is nearly complete. Cold condition in the keg near freezing for a month or so.

Water Profile
To 5 gallons of RO water:
  • 1.0g Gypsum
  • 1.2g Epsom Salt
  • 2.6g Calcium Chloride
  • 1.0g  Baking Soda
First runnings into boil kettle
Brewing Notes
Things went fairly well with this brew session. The silicone hose returning to the top of the mash worked ok, but tended to sink into the grain rather than lay on top. I'll try to figure out something that will work better.

One other thing, my HLT heating element was exposed once I transferred mash water, so I couldn't fire the element to maintain temps for the water that would be used in the sparge. It's not a huge deal because I ran it through the HEX while sparging and it kept the temp right at 168F.

One last issue, the amount of deadspace under the false bottom is a much greater proportion when brewing 2.5 gallons verses 5 or 10 gallons. My efficiency dropped to a hair under 77% and I think it was partly due to the deadspace.

A couple things that went better than expected...a 2.5 gallon batch gets to boiling and chills much faster than 5 and 10 gallon batches. I started the whirlpool and within what seemed like a couple minutes, the temp was down to 67F. A little bit longer and it was 50F. This will sit overnight in the fermenter in my ferm chamber, then I'll pitch the yeast in the morning.
Probably one of the smallest grain additions,
14g of Carafa III

Update 1/26/2016
I did a diacetyl rest at 60F for a few days. On 1/24 I started ramping the temp down. I'll drop it to around 38F then rack it to a keg for fining and lagering.

Update 2/16/2016
I put this on tap over the weekend. Smokiness definitely comes through, but you still get the malt characteristic pf the style. It's more subtle than Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, but there's no mistaking that it's chock full of smoked malt.