Friday, January 25, 2013

Fuminator Smoked Doppelbock

Bock is a strong German lager, a fairly dark, very malty, and it originated as a lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century in the town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and they pronounced "Einbeck" as "ein Bock" or "a billy-goat" and thus the beer became known as "Bock". To reinforce this, the goat often appears on bock labels.

Doppelbock or "double bock" is a stronger version of traditional bock that was first brewed in Munich by the Paulaner monks. Doppelbock is high in alcohol and sweet, and served as "liquid bread" for the monks during times of fasting, when eating solid food was not permitted. They named their beer "Salvator" or "Savior", which today is trademarked by Paulaner. Brewers of other dopplebocks often add "-ator" to their beer's name as a signpost of the style. Today there are 200 "-ator" doppelbock names registered with the German patent office and a bunch more in the U.S.

This style seems to me like it would be a great base for a smoked beer. The Latin word for smoke is "fumus" so Fuminator seemed like a natural for a smoked doppelbock. And I really don't want to drink anything named "fumigator." I'm using a combination of the traditional German Rauchmalz (smoked malt) and cherry smoked malt. The cherry smoked malt has a much smokier nose and taste, so I'm going light on that. I think the overall effect will be about the same as an equal mix of smoked and non-smoked malts.

Fuminator Smoked Doppelbock Recipe

Batch size
6.0 gallons
Original Gravity
1.083/ 20.0° Plato
(1.074 to 1.087)
Final Gravity
1.022 / 5.6° Plato
(1.020 to 1.024)
20.2 IBU / 6 HBU
ƒ: Tinseth
15° SRM/ 30° EBC
(Medium Brown)
Mash Efficiency
8.1% ABV / 6% ABW
274 per 12 oz.


% LB OZ Type ppg °L
37% 7 0 Munich Malt - 10L 36 10
32% 6 0 Weyermann Rauchmalz 35 3
16% 3 0 Weyermann Vienna Malt 34 3
11% 2 0 Caramunich Malt 40 33 40
5% 1 0 Cherry Smoked Malt 34 2


Use Time oz Variety Form aa
boil 60 mins 1.25 Hallertau pellet 4.4
boil 30 mins 0.75 Hallertau pellet 4.4


Primary: German Bock Lager (WLP833), liquid yeast with medium flocculation and 73% attenuation

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Belle Saison Dry Ale Yeast

This is a new strain from Danstar/Lallemand, and the first dry Saison yeast that I'm aware of. I noticed it in my last trip down to Larry's Homebrew. I asked them about it, but it has only been on their shelves for a couple of days, so they don't have any feedback. Larry's sells it for $4.95 for an 11 gram packet.

According to the manufacturer,
Belle Saison is an ale yeast of Belgian origin selected for its ability to produce great Saison-style beer. The propagation and drying processes have been specifically designed to deliver high quality beer yeast that can be used simply and reliably to help produce ales of the finest quality.
  • Quick start and vigorous fermentation, which can be completed in 5 days above 17°C (63°F). High attenuation and high alcohol tolerance.
  • Fermentation rate, fermentation time and degree of attenuation depend on inoculation density, yeast handling, fermentation temperature and nutritional quality of wort.
  • Low flocculation rate; settling can be promoted by cooling and by using fining agents and isinglass.
  • Saison beers are quite unique to brew. During fermentation, cooling is not normally used, allowing temperature of fermentation to increase.
  • Aroma is fruity, spicy and peppery due to ester and phenol production, and does not display undesirable odours when properly handled.

Let's break this down a bit. "Belle Saison" really means "Belgian Saison" style ale yeast, with belle possibly having a double meaning that indicates that the yeast has lovely phenolics? Like other saisons, it wants to ferment on the warm side. If you can expect a completed ferment if five days, it apparently does not experience the sluggishness common with Dupont strains.

According to the PDF on the Danstar website, the commercial brewer should "Use 100 g of active dry yeast to inoculate 100 litres of wort." The home-brewer package recommends 1 grams of dry yeast to inoculate 1 liter of wort, or roughly two packages per five gallon batch. With 220 billion cells per packet, that's a lot of yeast, and even one packet is a bit more than the pitch rate recommended by MrMalty for a five gallon batch of an average saison. Danstar also says that the yeast does not need to be aerated.

This all sounds like they are not expecting a growth phase at the recommended inoculation rate. Since so many flavors come from the growth phase, I'm planing to pitch less than the suggested amount and aerate, which should cause the yeast to grow a bit. If that introduces a bit of lag time, so be it.

The pro brewer rehydration instructions (which are much more extensive than the homebrew instructions) are as follows:
  • Sprinkle yeast on surface of 10 times its weight of clean sterilized (boiled) tap water at 30-35°C (86-92°F). Do not use wort, or distilled or reverse osmosis water, as loss in viability may result. GENTLY break any clumps to ensure that all yeast is in contact with rehydration medium. DO NOT STIR. Leave undisturbed for 15 minutes then suspend yeast completely and leave it for 5 more minutes at 30-35°C (86-92°F). Then adjust temperature to wort and inoculate without delay.
  • Attemperate by blending portions of wort at 5-minute intervals, below 10°C (50°F) at a time. Do not allow attemperation to be carried out by natural heat loss as this will take too long and could result in loss of viability or vitality.
  • Temperature shock, at greater than 10°C (50°F), will cause formation of petite mutants, leading to long or incomplete fermentation and possible formation of undesirable flavours.
  • Belle Saison Yeast has been conditioned to survive rehydration, and contains an adequate reservoir of carbohydrates and unsaturated fatty acids to achieve active growth. It is not necessary to aerate wort.

I'm excited to try this. If this turns out to be a good yeast, it's one more thing that I can "stock" at home and avoid extra trips to the homebrew store.