Doppelbock 2019

>> Sunday, November 03, 2019

1st - pre - post boil
Today I'm brewing another Doppelbock. My last Doppelbock ending up taking a silver medal in one comp, and gold medal in another. My only complaint with that beer was that the finishing gravity was a bit high, resulting in a fairly sweet beer; it wasn't cloying, but it was close. I want something big and rich, but also drinkable, so I'm hoping to counter too much sweetness by reducing the grain bill a bit (resulting in an overall lower starting gravity) and using a yeast that has a higher alcohol tolerance. I'm also going to skip the decoction mash and go with a simple single infusion mash. I'm using Wyeast 2487-PC Hella Bock Lager for this batch and the description is as follows:
Direct from the Austrian Alps, this strain will produce rich, full-bodied and malty beers with a complex flavor profile and a great mouth feel. Attenuates well while still leaving plenty of malt character and body. Beers fermented with this strain will benefit from a temperature rise for a diacetyl rest at the end of primary fermentation.
Flocculation: Medium
Attenuation: 70-74%
Temp: 48-56F
ABV Tolerance: 12%
Here's the recipe as I'm brewing it today. Please note, this is a 5 gallon batch-sized recipe, whereas the last Doppelbock was only 2.5 gallons:

12# 1oz Weyermann Barke Munich Malt*
3# 7oz Viking Pilsner Malt
1.75# Weyermann® CARAMUNICH® Type 3
1.0g BrewTan B (mash)
40g German Hallertau Mittelfrüh (60 min)
8.2g German Hallertau Mittelfrüh (30 min)
Wyeast Nutrient
4.66g BCAA (Dissolved in warm water, 5 min)
Wyeast 2487-PC Hella Bock Lager, 2 packs

Water - To 11 gallons distilled water, add:
1.89g - Epsom salt
5.03g - Baking soda
11.16g - Chalk

Mash at 155F, 90 minute boil, chill to 50F then ramp up to 55F over 5 days. Start diacetyl rest when gravity is ~1.025.

*My LHBS was running low on the Barke Munich so I had to substitute in 3.72# Weyermann Munich I

Brewing Notes
No issues. OG came in at ~22.7 brix (1.092). The wort is currently chilling down to my pitching temp of 50F.

Update 11/3/2019 8pm
I was able to chill down to 50F and pitch yeast by 8pm.

Update 11/4/2019 6:30pm
Gravity is down a couple points to 1.090. I'm also seeing positive pressure in the fermenter. 

Update 11/5/2019 2:30PM
Gravity is down to 1.083, so almost 10 points from the starting gravity of 1.092. This yeast seems to be doing a great job of tackling this beer, especially considering it has a relatively high starting gravity. 

Update 11/6/2019 6:00AM
Gravity is reading ~1.076 this morning, still chugging along.

Update 11/7/2019 9AM
Tilt is currently reading 1.070. it dawned on me this morning...this may not be the correct gravity. I changed the battery in the Tilt right before using it for this beer. The initial reading was high, so I calibrated the high reading to match the refractometer reading, but since it was already in the fermenter, I wasn't able to calibrate the low reading (in water). So, there's a good chance this isn't correct. I'll probably let it go until the weekend, then pull a sample for a refractometer reading.

Update 11/8/2019
The Tilt is reading 1.066 this morning.

Update 11/20/2019
Fermentation is going slower than I was expecting, but it's still plugging along. My Tilt is currently reading 1.038. I'm going to let it keep going until gravity is stable over a few days' time.

Update 12/18/2019
I finally started cold crashing last night. I was waiting for a part for my improved CO2 reservoir that allows me to more easily fill the reservoir. Terminal gravity was reading 1.031 for over a week, but I'm not confident that's an accurate gravity reading, so I'll be measuring it with my hydrometer and/or refractometer at some point.

Update 12/26/2019
This beer was kegged on 12/23/2019. It's currently carbonating, but I tried a sample and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's definitely less sweet than the previous version, but it still has a rich malty backbone.