Booth: Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Discussion in 'Lager Fest in Cyberspace (2021)' started by Todd, Aug 18, 2021.

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  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Lager Fest in Cyberspace (2021) Virtual Booth/Discussion Thread for:

    Wolf's Ridge Brewing (Columbus, Ohio)

    Buchenrauch; Rauchbier; 5.7%; 12oz can
    The traditional Rauchbier lager style hails from Bamberg Germany. The name Buchenrauch literally means "beech smoke," which pays homage to the time honored tradition of smoking the malt over beech wood to create the signature smooth smokiness. Mahogany in color and rich in flavors of campfire smoke and crusty bread. Buchenrauch is crisp and savory. The lager yeast and cold aging provide smooth drinkability, yielding a beer perfectly suited for pairing with grilled meats, assertive cheeses, and the great outdoors.



    Joining us: Chris Davison (Head Brewer)

    Have a question for Chris? Drop it in this thread and your question could make the live feed!

    Like what you're drinking? Review the beer and buy some merch!
     
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  2. MadtownMaltman

    MadtownMaltman Aspirant (224) Feb 28, 2015 Wisconsin
    Society

    Who does the beech wood smoke for you? How much variability is there in smoking the malt? What do you think makes this beer unique/stand out among other rauchbiers?
     
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  3. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    Hey thanks for the thoughtful questions. To date, every batch of Buchenrauch until this one used 100% Weyermann malt. They're a large specialty maltster in Germany and the bag of beechwood smoked malt literally says "Buchenrauch" on it, which is where we pulled the beer name from.

    The base recipe has been essentially 75+% beechwood smoked, 10+% oak smoked wheat, and then a little CaraBohemian and Carafa for a slight caramel flavor and for color. This year we took some steady feedback from competitions and decided to amp up the smoke a little. To do that we needed more freshly smoked malt, so we turned to Sugarcreek Malt in Indiana. A portion of this batch was pecan smoked pilsner malt and also few bags of their local beechwood smoked malt.

    Variability can be huge with smoking in general, especially with smaller batch varieties. However the Weyermann malt is always smooth and pleasant, though it can be relatively old compared to more commonly used malts. The older the malt is, the less smoky the beer will be. The malt from Sugarcreek was smoked fresh for us a mere 2 weeks before use. Those malts added additional smoke intensity and enhanced the savory aspect of this beer.

    Our goal has always been to try to emulate Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen with Buchenrauch, hence intense smoke and deeper color than some others you may find. We wish the beer to be drinkable but still unique enough to stand up to any competition. The addition of the pecan smoked malt certainly sets this one apart this year. We're excited to hear feedback on this batch.

    We're actually sold out of Buchenrauch right now so I need to brew more soon. The next batch will likely take some of the changes we made here and blend them a little more with the older recipe, which has a touch more smoothness that I want to bring back to Buchenrauch's profile.

    Cheers!
     
  4. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Pooh-Bah (1,866) Sep 30, 2014 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Would this be the same batch that was on tap at your taproom in mid-July? If so, I am even more hyped; if not, I can't wait to sample the differences from the fresher smoke and pecan.

    Also, thank you guys for being one of two Ohio breweries I'm always up for an impromptu road trip to visit!
     
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  5. Tuanb

    Tuanb Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2021

    Definitely not a fan of beech smoke and unfortunately this smoked lager doesn't do it for me. I just feel like the beech smoke bites a little more than Oak Smoke and more smoky than cherry smoke. But that's just my palette.
     
  6. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    It should be the same batch, though there's a chance they were still pouring the previous batch at that time.
     
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  7. beerking1

    beerking1 Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    Incredible Rauchbier! Matias Trum would be proud!
     
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  8. MusicaleMike

    MusicaleMike Savant (1,208) Mar 17, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Nice Omega hat!! I work for Omega. What yeast are you using?
     
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  9. Mohman

    Mohman Initiate (0) May 12, 2017 California

    I agree with Todd, its intense...not sure its a good thing.
     
  10. Mugger52

    Mugger52 Aspirant (221) Feb 16, 2015 California
    Society

    Amazing flavors here! Ever thought about producing a red oak smoked tri-tip lager?
     
  11. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Pundit (946) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society

    I love this smoke!!! What kinds of food should I eat with this?
     
  12. tinks29

    tinks29 Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2011 Nevada

    Would you ever age this beer on the beech wood?
     
  13. beerking1

    beerking1 Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    I love using a good Rauchbier in my chili!!
     
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  14. cigardave

    cigardave Initiate (0) May 25, 2005 Oklahoma

    I'd definitely pair cigars with this bier!!!
     
  15. beerking1

    beerking1 Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    In Bamberg, the traditional match is fried carp.
     
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  16. BeerPHD

    BeerPHD Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2012 Texas

    Wood-fired smoked hot dogs is what comes through. I didn't expect much from this beer, but this is surprisingly very good. I'd put this in every meat market I could partner with. This would pair perfectly with almost any smoked meat. I love this beer!
     
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  17. gyorgymarlowe

    gyorgymarlowe Zealot (596) Aug 24, 2019 Colorado
    Trader

    Visited family in Ohio a little over a week ago and went to the tap house for the first time. I wasn't aware of your brewery, but my dad liked a stout of yours. Wow, was I impressed! I was planning on sampling more of your beer, but I had a pint of your Oktoberfest and never wavered. Compared it against three of the bigger and most popular Ohio craft breweries' versions. No contest, Wolf Ridge was the best.
     
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  18. Tommixx

    Tommixx Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2007 California

    Love the aggressive smoke on the Buchenrauch, even thought it’s a tad “meaty.” But it finishes with a bit of off-flavor phenolics, similar to a burnt Band Aid. And leaves a cloyingly dry aftertaste
     
  19. rdruckenmiller

    rdruckenmiller Devotee (351) Sep 23, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    What do you think are the keys to a solid smoked beer?
     
  20. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Pooh-Bah (1,866) Sep 30, 2014 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Top two in Ohio without question, indeed.
     
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  21. beerking1

    beerking1 Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    Sandlot makes some of the most balanced smoked beers around!
     
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  22. rdruckenmiller

    rdruckenmiller Devotee (351) Sep 23, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Jack's Abby has some great smoked beers!
     
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  23. Celogan123

    Celogan123 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2021 California

    Wow very Interesting no head or Lacing very bacony
    Having it with veal cutlets
     
  24. Mohman

    Mohman Initiate (0) May 12, 2017 California

    no no no ...thank you Edgar...
     
  25. beerking1

    beerking1 Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    I got huge head, and great lacing on mine!
     
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  26. beerking1

    beerking1 Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    Will you tell us how to get to discord?
     
  27. Charie

    Charie Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2021

    Alaskan has a great smoked beer, also, for those interested in trying more of the style
     
  28. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    We ferment this with White Labs WLP830 (German Lager).
     
  29. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    I've never seen red oak used in beer before but would be curious to learn more. I wouldn't put tri-tip in the beer but would certainly pair the beer with the tri-tip!

    Tri-tip! haha, but really any smoked foods are the first place to start. Like Todd said, smoked fish - could be smoked salmon or trout or a spread or pate. BBQ and smoked/frilled meat in general are great for this style. Miso soup and soba comes to mind as well. This style also pairs very well will all sorts of strong cheeses: smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, gorgonzola or shropshire, etc.
     
  30. MusicaleMike

    MusicaleMike Savant (1,208) Mar 17, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Dope dope...would definitely like to see what a thiolized strain would do with a smoked lager. We've been playing around with a modified German Lager strain that can process thiols, and it definitely amps up the flavor of the beer.
     
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  31. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    Thank you! We pride ourselves on our selection and trying to execute on every style. But in truth, my team and I always prefer the traditional styles and lagers over most other things we make.

    Yeah this beer is normally much smoother on the finish. Such is the risk I took with incorporating the pecan wood smoked malt in this batch. I think I will keep some of it, but reduce it next time to bring the beer back into balance. I think I would like to let the malt age a little longer before using as well to let any harsher edge die off a little before going into the beer.

    Balance is the key, and as noted above this batch isn't as well balanced as I'd like, but it does have the most characterful aroma we've seen yet. When we brew with Weyermann smoked malts you can't overdo it really, the beer used to be 85% or more smoked malt and we wished for more smoke character. So quality grain from a known entity is paramount. The quality we got from Sugar Creek was great but it was not a known entity for us. Next time we work with their product we'll dial things back more to maintain balance.

    Also don't skimp on lagering time. The bigger the smoke profile you aim for the more you might need to balance in other ways like reducing IBUs or adding caramel malt to help preserve mouthfeel and drinkability.
     
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  32. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    Interesting. I'd honestly be afraid to incorporate that into a beer like this, but that does remind me of a Lichtenhainer we brewed years back that had a lovely fruity profile alongside the smoke presence. A pale beer that wasn't 100% defined by smoke might be the perfect place for a thiol processing strain.
     
  33. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Oh damn, if that ever comes back I've got to get my hands on that one! Ive only had one lichtenhainer from Fair State and it was an experience!
     
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  34. Celogan123

    Celogan123 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2021 California

    The more I drink it the less I like it maybe just not my style
     
  35. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    It was one of our team's all-time favorite projects. We used I think 40% beechwood smoked malt in the recipe. It was a collab with Little Fish called Litany Against Fear. We KO'd direct into barrels we'd previously fermented mixed culture rye beer in, rinsed those out and added the Little Fish house culture. Light, crisp, and with notes of pear and apple with a light smoke on the back end. It's been my goal for years to rebrew it into some Mezcal barrels but I haven't made it happen yet. With Dune coming out soon maybe it's time...
     
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  36. Spider889

    Spider889 Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio

    Definitely not a style that's for everyone, I respect that and I don't mind. As per Todd's commentary, part of the fun in including this in the box was to shake things up and offer something different (and for many a first-time experience). Next year if this fest comes back I'd happily commit to sending something a little less divisive like doppelbock!
     
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  37. johnInLA

    johnInLA Pooh-Bah (2,274) Jun 12, 2005 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Best beer of the night for me.
     
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  38. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Pundit (946) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society

    I got a decent head and lacing. Type of glass might make a difference but more than anything, try a more aggressive pour and definitely use a "beer clean" glass.
     
    FBarber likes this.
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