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I Steamed My Dopplebock

A few years ago, when I moved out of my apartment into my house, the apartment I lived in asked me to go ahead and take the refrigerator because they were upgrading the appliances. Of course, I was all like, "free fridge! Awesome!".

I took the shelves out and put it in my garage for my lagering fridge. I fermented several lagers with it, the absolute best being my King Dopplebock. Everyone who tried it loved it. It was the perfect malty warm beverage. It made it's peak about winter of 2009. That also happened to be when I ran out of it. I, like the most of us, have found that great beer has a short lifespan.

The spring of 2010 brought on change. I had a Wisebock, I think, fermenting in my lager fridge. I noticed that the fridge was running every time I went into the garage. I opened it and checked the temperature. It was the same as The rest of the garage. I dont know exactly what happened, but it was broken. I'm afraid it was the end of the time of free love, fast times, and bock beer. I was yet again back to ales.

This last December, C-4, Rosene, and I upgraded our equipment. The first brew I wanted to make on this new setup had to be great.  I knew Bluebonnet was coming up and wanted to do something special. I wanted to try and recreate the best beer I ever made. my King Dopplebock.  I had one BIG problem. The coldest closet in my house that time of year was about 60-65 degrees. I figured all I needed to do was change the yeast, right?

My original KD uses Bavarian lager yeast. I decided to sub the California lager since I could be fermented at up to 65. For those who don't know, California lagers, or steam beer, was made famous in the late 19th century by fermenting lager yeast at ale yeast temperatures. Because it was famous in cowboy times, I knew it was the right choice. I was wrong...

It took forever to reach my final gravity. I left it in the primary for a month and the secondary for another month. I put it in the bottle 2 weeks before the deadline for bluebonnet. By the time bluebonnet came around it still wasn't carbonated at all. The judges reamed me. The different yeast produced tons of off flavors. It was quite estery and even a bit vinegary.

 I have been cold conditioning it for about a month. That has calmed it down quite a bit. Half of the bottles didn't carbonate at all. The ones that have carbonated are OK. I'm thinking it needs more time to age. I'm wondering what I will be like in another few months. I will say though, it is really high in alcohol, but it doesn't have that hot paint thinner taste, so it's at least better than Sam Adams Imperial Series Dopplebock.

Lesson:  just because the cowboys did it, doesn't make it good.

Brewing Method:  All grain

Batch Size: 10 US Gallons

100 min Decoction Mash

Boil: 90 min

OG: 1.080

FG: 1.022

Primary fermentation: 4 weeks

Secondary fermentation: 4 weeks

Yeast: Wyeast 2112 California lager

Grain bill:

Light Munich 28 lbs

Pilsen 8 lbs

Cara Munich 4 lbs

Sugar:  none

Hop Bill:

Bittering:  3oz halllertauer 60 min

Flavoring:  1oz halllertauer 30 min

Peanutbutter Bill:

Germans don't use PB

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