Lichtenhainer 2017

>> Friday, May 25, 2018

Today I'm getting started on beer based on an unusual historical style, a Lichtenhainer. What makes this style unusual is it's both a smoked beer and a sour beer, along the lines of a smoked Berliner Weisse. I'm a huge fan of both smoked and sour beers, but I have to admit that a sour smoked beer sounds a little weird even to me. Regardless, I'm doing one.

At one point all beers had a smokey character due to the way that malt was produced; malt wasn't originally isolated from the fuel (wood) that was used for drying and kilning. For my interpretation of the style, I smoked all the malt using my malt smoking setup. For this version, I decided to use pecan wood for smoking and I'll be doing a kettle sour method. So this beer is more along the lines of being inspired by the historical style rather than being a true example of the style. The recipe I'm using is based on Mark Schoppe's award-winning NHC recipes. My interpretation is likely to turn out more sour and more smokey than Mark's.

I'll be doing a split batch (after primary) where half will get chipotle peppers added in secondary. As with other smoked beers, it's extremely important to eliminate chlorine from your brew water. If you don't, you're almost guaranteed to have chlorophenol problems. Here's the recipe as I'm making it today.

Pecan Cold-smoked Malts
     4.125 # Avangard German Pale Malt
     4.125 # Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt
14g Aged hops (60 mins)
GoodBelly SuperShot for kettle-souring
Wyeast 2565 K├Âlsch after kettle-souring
Yeast nutrient

Mash at 150F, transfer to boil kettle and raise temps to 175F for 15 minutes to pasteurize. Chill to 100F before pitching GoodBelly and sour to a target pH of 3.4-ish. After target pH is reached, proceed with boil, 90 minutes. Ferment at 63F. When primary is complete, add 1 rehydrated chipotle pepper per gallon.

Brewing Notes
Day 1 - Things went fairly smooth with no issues. I ended up using phosphoric acid to reduce the pH to about 4.48 before pitching the lactobacillus. I haven't really done that before, but it's pretty standard for kettle souring. I sampled the wort and the smoke level seems complimentary and not overpowering. That's a good sign because it can tend to come out more after fermentation and carbonation.

Day 2 - I proceeded with the boil today (5/28), no issues. The post-boil pH came in at 3.37. OG is 12.2P (1.048).

Update 7/7/2018
Half got kegged today, and the other half went on three chipotle peppers (two large, one small), rehydrated in boiling RO water.

Update 8/5/2018
I bottled the Chipotle half today. I tried the straight half and it had a horrible green apple cider character. I may have rushed it through primary, meaning the yeast didn't have time to clean up acetaldehyde from primary fermentation. I didn't notice the issue in the Chipotle half... possibly because of the extended aging on the peppers. Another possible problem, I cold crashed this batch then raised the temp back up because of another beer I had in the ferm chamber. Then I cold crashed again. This may have exposed it to too much oxygen. I ended up dumping the straight half; it was nothing I'd ever want to drink.