Jun 28 2011

Roggenbier – Iron Brewer Batch 2

I’m in the Iron Brewer competition again and there are three new ingredients to work with. The beer that I made for Batch 1 was an oaked-aged smoked Baltic porter. It came in second place in the Iron Brewer judging to HopfenTreader for that round, but it medaled in the CASK competition and made it past the first round of the National Homebrew Competition this year in the Smoke-Flavored and Wood-Aged Beer category. And, more importantly, it was pretty tasty.

The three ingredients for this batch are: flaked oats, hersbrucker hops, and peppercorns. Oats don’t make much of a taste contribution but, as in oatmeal stouts, they will add to a beer’s mouthfeel and creaminess. Hersbrucker hops are  a variety that I hadn’t used before, but they are German and are said to add some spice and earthiness to beers. Peppercorns were the wildcard, but the previous ingredients were leading me down the path of a style that would complement a fuller beer with spice notes. A roggenbier is a German ale that is similar to a dunkelweizen but made with up to 50% rye instead of wheat. A big, thick rye beer seemed to be the perfect backdrop for the spice of the hops and the peppercorns. To make things interesting, I decided to use pink peppercorns, which are actually not true peppercorns but rather the berries of the baies rose plant. They give a firm, deep pepperiness and a light twist of citrus in the end. Mostly lemon notes to my tongue.


Pink Peppercorns

The Close-Up: Pink Peppercorns

Armed with that taste in mind, a wrote my recipe trying to formulate a way for the all of the necessary parts to shine. A pound of flaked oats should be more that enough to increase the mouthfeel of the beer. And I used the hersbrucker hops for bittering and in conjunction with traditional Czech saaz hops as a flavoring addition. The pink peppercorns would be a 5 gram addition that would be crushed and put in the boil pot during the last 10 minutes of the boil.


The Grains: Rye, Flaked Oats, Pale 2-Row, Carafa II, Munich, Caramunich

My only concern for the brew day was the large volume of rye malt that I would be using in the mash. I used to use rice hulls to insure that I wouldn’t get a stuck sparge but, after running out a few times, I realized that my system didn’t need them. I frequently do 50% wheat beers without incident, but rye is a completely different beast. I’ve used up to 30% rye before and the mash began to get really thick and gelatinous.


The Real Secret Ingredient: Rice Hulls

To be safe I added 1 pound of rice hulls, which is an absurd amount, but I had no problems whatsoever during the sparge. But remember, when you add rice hulls to a mash you need to increase your amount of water, as well. My mash was less soupy than I normally shoot for but my conversion and efficiencies were fine.


No Stuck Mash

The runnings were a little slower than usual, and looked a bit like hot caramel, but at no point did I think the mash was going to stick.


The First Runnings

The rest of the day was smooth and uneventful. A favorite saying of mine and a good thing.

I made a big yeast starter of the White Labs 300 Hefeweizen strain. I’m fermenting at 62F to keep the more traditional banana and cloves aromas at bay.


Fermenting Away at 62F

I got busy with family and work, so the brewing of this one happened very late. But hopefully I can turn it around quickly and well. Thus far it has had many, many names. Roggen Hard and Put Up Wet. Roggen’s Hereos. Roggenly Handsome. Etc., etc. We’ll see.

The Recipe

(Roggenbier) Iron Brewer Batch #2

Starting Gravity: 1.062 (6/25/11)
Final Gravity: TBA

Mash (154º for 70 min)
6.0 lbs Rye Malt
3.0 lbs Munich Malt
3.0 lbs American 2-Row
1.0 lbs CaraMunich Malt
1.0 lbs Flaked Oats
2 oz Carafa II

Boil (60 min)
1.0 oz Hersbrucker Pellet Hops (4.5 AA) (60 min)
0.25 oz Czech Saaz Pellet Hops (3.5 AA) (15 min)
0.25 oz Hersbrucker Pellet Hops (4.5 AA) (15 min)
1 tablet Whirlfloc (Boil – 15 min.)
5 grams of crushed Pink Peppercorns (Boil – 10 min.)
½ tsp Brewer’s Choice Wyeast Nutrient Blend (Boil – 10 min.)

Primary (62º F)
WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast – 2000ml Starter Made