Thursday, May 29, 2008

On deck: Smoke Stack Lightning Rauchweizen

So it's been a while since we've posted any beer-related activities aside from Beerfly Alleyfight. Anyway, things have been busy lately but I'm excited to report Saturday's another brew day! We will be brewing a Rauchweizen (or, auf Englisch, a smoked Hefeweizen) inspired by Schlenkerla Weizen. Keeping with our tradition of giving our Weizen beers lightning-related names (see Step Leader Hefeweizen; see also Cloud-to-Ground Weizenbock and Winter Lightning Eisweizen), we're calling this one Smoke Stack Lightning (which is also a nod to blues great Howlin' Wolf). I've been itching to brew a Rauchbier, and I figure a smoked Weizen is perfect because it's both less assertive than stronger Rauchbiers (as the smoke flavor can be an acquired taste) and it's nice and refreshing for grilling on a hot summer day. Stay tuned to find out how the brew day goes.

A couple other notes... First, the Hail Shaft Pilsner is lagered and carbonated. As I noted earlier, it's low on the bitterness, so I bought some alpha acid extract to bitter up my keg. I've yet to doctor up my keg, but in the meantime I brought the other keg up to my parents' cottage. It was a big hit over Memorial Day, as lesser-hopped beers play well with the vacation set. We had to knock out a keg of Heineken before hooking up the Pilsner, so I had a chance to compare the two and I found the Pilsner was about equal to the Heineken in terms of bitterness, though the Pilsner had more hop flavor. According to Heineken, it's 23 IBU's (though technically the Pilsner referred to in that link is different from the Lager available in the U.S.; nonetheless, clone recipes I've found range from 19 to 26 IBU's). My final gravity was a bit high, but so was my original gravity. Anyway, I'll give a full report once I doctor the bitterness to get it closer to the 35-40 IBU range (which is admittedly on the high end, but so is my original gravity).

The final update is that our hops have broken ground! You can check out a pic here. Anyway, that's it for now. Look for a brew day post on Saturday or Sunday.


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