Homebrewing has been a favourite hobby of mine for over 10 years. Both an art and a science, there is always something new to try or something else to perfect from recipe formulation to malt extraction to creating an optimal fermentation environment. For me, the most enjoyable challenge in brewing is to create a recipe from scratch and then to re-brew the beer multiple times with slight changes to each batch until you have something you are so happy with that you would not change a thing. Sharing this unique beverage with friends and family is the ultimate reward.
Recently, I had the opportunity to brew and decided to make a Dopplebock. Dopplebocks are strong, rich, malty German lagers originally consumed by Bavarian monks in the 1600s during lent, where it was their only sustenance while fasting for 30 days. Ranging from light to dark in colour but always malty rich and high in alcohol (7-10% ABV), Dopplebocks are best brewed in the summer to be lagered (stored cold) for 3-6 months and then consumed in the depths of winter.
Due to a complicated mash schedule, my all-grain Dopplebock required a 12-hour brew day. Luckily, I use an electric system so simply walked away and ‘let-it-go’ for much of that time. Now in the fermenter and happily tucked away in the fridge, I expect it to take about 7 weeks to complete fermentation at which point I will transfer to a keg and store at 3 degrees for another 4 months before finally pouring my first glass. I think the main challenge in this style is the patience required to see it through!