Germany Lebkuchen Braun Ale recipe

Discussion in 'Europe' started by boddhitree, Sep 26, 2012.


Would you like to drink this for Christmas?

  1. HELL yes

  2. Yes

  3. No

    0 vote(s)
  4. HELL no

  5. Maybe

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Normally, I'd post this in the homebrew forum, but I doubt many of those folks either know what Lebkuchen is or have the cultural knowledge necessary that having been in Germany during the Advent season provides.
    First, a small primer on a few of the alcoholic beverages available most during Christmas time.
    Mostly people go out to Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas markets), where it's hopefully cold and snowy, drink a warm alcoholic beverage and eat sweets or other good food. Most common drinks are Glühwein (mulled wine), Feuerzangbowle, and Heisse Ebbelwei (I live in Frankfurt!), bock biers and other Christmas beers. Carolus, Der Stärke, by Binding (aka Radeberger Gruppe) is one example. Others are here and here (Bayernbier).
    Second, there are lots of different Christmas cookies, like Zimtsternen, that I'd like to make, but they just didn't seem doable for a beer, which is why I decided to attempt a Lebkuchen beer.
    Third, in choosing the base beer to which I'd add spices, I thought of what would compliment the flavors and give the beer a Lebkuchen flavor. I thought of using a stout/porter, but its flavor is too roasted and would cancel out some of the subtle spice flavors. Pale ale was another consideration, but it might be too bland and be overpowered by spices, so I settled on a British Brown Ale. I liked the maltiness, sweetness which isn't too much, and especially the nuttiness.
    Spawned from the Mild Ale, Brown Ales tend to be maltier and sweeter on the palate, with a fuller body. Color can range from reddish brown to dark brown. Some versions will lean towards fruity esters, while others tend to be drier with nutty characters. All seem to have a low hop aroma and bitterness.

    So I found a Brown Ale recipe or 2 and tweaked to hopefully make the beer more like Lebkuchen.
    Here's the recipe for Lebkuchen Braun Ale, which I've spent the last week working on. I couldn't find one online, nor many examples of an attempt at this kind of beer, other than this one by Kulmbacher. They say the main ingredient is Rauchmalz, smoked malt, but that's all the info they provided.
    I wasn't shocked but I found the first real Lebkuchen already in supermarkets mid-Sept. (3 months before Christmas! yes, it's almost as bad here as the USA), checked the ingredients list on the bottom of the boxes of the Plätzchen (cookies), as well as consulting a few sites on how to make homemade Lebkuchen. I also have learned how to make my own extracts of ingredients. You basically soak stuff in vodka for 3 to 4 weeks. Let me tell you, it works, and the taste/aroma of the vodka-soaked extracts is amazing.
    Finally, for those here not familiar with brewing and the ingredients, I'll explain why I decided to use each ingredient and I how I expect it to affect the overall brew.

    The Stats
    • Estimated ABV (using Brewsmith 2): 4.8%, but I'll be tossing in quite a bit of vodka extracts, so I want to keep the ABV down, but I doubt I will know the final ABV b/c of all the vodka. Also, I don't want the typical doppelbock, but rather an easy beer that will lager quickly and be ready to drink by December.
    • Total beer volume: 40 L.
    • Estimated Original Gravity (1.046), but again, with all the spices with vodka, it will not be anywhere near accurate.
    • IBUs: 21, again, I want the spices to shine, so I kept the bitterness down.
    • Color (57.3 EBC) which should be brown, but again, spices will also add color.
    (con't in Reply. The post was too long for BA's server to post.)
  2. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    [Part 2]
    All of the malts I added are an attempt to match a malty, but sweet cookie taste.
    • 3.5 kg - Light Dry Malt extract
    • 200 g – Liquid Dark Malt extract (this stuff has the taste and consistency of molasses, which I hope will help produce the sugar effect in the cookies.
    • 1 tin of Treacle (Lyle's Black Treacle) basically, a British invert sugar to give it sweet baked taste.
    • 250 g – CaraBelge Malt, a Belgian/German malt, adds a mild, restrained note of caramel flavor, and a honey colored hue to your beer.
    • 300 g – Debittered Chocolate malt, for a light choco/coffee/sweet taste
    • 300 g – Melanoidin malt, a Aromatic malt from Bamberg, Germany. Promotes a full flavor and rounds off beer color. Promotes deep red color and malty flavor. Basically, to bulk up the body of the beer and give it a thicker mouthfeel.
    • 500 g – Munich malt, for Malty-sweet flavor and a reddish amber color.
    • 500 g – Special B malt, Extreme caramel aroma and flavored malt.

    Hop Schedule
    • 40g – Perle (add for 60 minutes of boil) Perle is a German hop used for general purpose bittering but I was interested in its aroma: Slightly spicy, pleasant aroma, minty, which I think wil compliment the cardamon, cloves and other spices.
    • 50g – Smaragd (add for 15 minutes of boil) This is a very new German hop. 8.5% Alpha Acid. “This is a new breed from Germany developed in the last 10 years and virtually unknown by American brewers. With a distinct fruity nose balanced with flowery hoppy notes, Smaragd is the European response to varieties like Simcoe and Amarillo. It has a more prominent nose than most European varieties, but the fruitiness is more subdued and the overall impression is balanced and refined with a slight nuance of spice. The bitterness is of medium intensity allowing generous (but not excessive!) use in the boil kettle. A good choice for dry hopping. The hints of lemon and orange marmalade work well with Belgian Pale Ales or Imperial Pilsner.” I hope the fruitiness will accentuate the fruits in the recipe.
    • 40g – Amarillo (add for 0 minutes, flame out) Aroma is VERY citrusy, which I hope enhances the candied lemon and lemon extract.
    This is where the fun begins. I will add the spices in 2 courses.
    First they will go in at “flame out,” which means when the boil is over and you begin to cool the wort down to room temperature. This done to insure as little of the aroma is lost as possible. Because the the temperature is over 80C, this will kill almost all wild bacteria present on these products.
    • 3 tbsp – Allspice
    • 1 handful - Hazelnuts (pureed)
    • 1 handful – Almonds (pureed)
    • 3 tbsp – Cardamom
    • 3 tbsp – Cinnamon
    • 3 tbsp – Cloves
    • 100 g – Zitronat (German Candied Lemon peels) pureed
    • 100 g – Orangeat (German Candied Lemon peels) pureed
    • 3 tbsp – Vanilla bean extract (homemade or store bought)
    • 750g – coarse brown sugar

    Second, after fermentation is mostly done, beer is in secondary fermentation, and here is where the aromas will enter the pic. Fermentation can take anywhere from 4 to 7 days (or more).
    • 100 ml - Zitronat extract (homemade from vodka)
    • 100 ml - Orangeat extract (homemade from vodka)
    • 50 ml – Vanilla extract (homemade from vodka)
    • 100 ml – Almond extract (homemade from vodka)
    • 2 tbsp each – Clove powder, Cinnamon and Cardamom (soaked in vodka for 12 hours to sanitize)
    Finally, a British Ale (White Labs #WLP005) yeast for fermentation for its fruity character with malty flavor.

    I'm going to brew it this weekend, so I can report back daily/weekly with pics on the process. I forgot to mention, I plan on producing 40 liters, or 4 German cases of beer.

    Cheers. Prost. Salut. And have a Lebkuchen cookie with that.
  3. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I'd give it a shot! Good luck to you.
  4. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    The invert sugar in the boil will ferment out, and will dry out the beer and raise the ABV. And using 5 specialty malts is a general "no-no", but of course I have no idea where this beer will finish taste-wise. I would love to give it a try, maybe we can trade some of my doppelbock for your Lebkuchen ale!
  5. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Errr? :astonished:

    I'd give it a try, I'd bet it comes out pretty close to Anchor's Our Special Ale (the recipe of which is changed up every year, but still has that spiced-ale character to it).

    I knew someone who used the CaraBelge malt in his pub-brewed Oktoberfest and it came out delicious. Of course, he didn't have any of the other additives.
  6. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I've used the the invert sugar for a few English porter recipes, and I'm not sure I will keep it either. Thanks for the comment. This is the feedback I was hoping for.

    I had another person tell me (not online) that perhaps I should up to Munich malt to get a more bready/biscuity flavor, and then choose either the Carabelge or the Special B malts, but not both. I've made a porter that has used at least 6 specialty malts and the flavor was really complex, which is what I'm shooting for as an underpinning to the spices.

    An addendum... the nuts which I will add at 0 min.s... I forgot to mention those will be boiled for 20 minutes to remove as much of the oils as possible prior to being added to the wort.
    Another addition might be cocoa bean extract which I mixed up for 2ndary, but I haven't decided 100% for it.
  7. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Are you anywhere near Germany to try some of it when it's ready? If it doesn't taste like crap, that is.

    I've used this before in a porter/stout and it has a distinct caramel/honey tone to it.
  8. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Same goes for the brown sugar at flameout (just saw that). It will also dry out the beer. If you are trying to add sweetness to the beer, use some sort of Caramalt or you could also mash at higher temps.
  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Bah, no. Have to live vicariously through the on-site reviews.
  10. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    There aren't many Caramalts available in online shops, which is why I went with CaraBelge and/or Special B. The only other Caramalt I have on-hand is 120, which is too dark for what I'm shooting for, after all, Lebkuchen are brown on the inside.

    I don't know if I mentioned it before, but living and brewing provides challenges you don't have as an Ami with a local homebrew supply shop in every town where they have a huge variety. I must order EVERYthing online, and the selections of hops and malts are much more limited, so I've had to improvise. In fact, b/c I live here, I've learned to love Munich, Melanoiden, and CaraBelge malts.
  11. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Question: have you made this before?
  12. PancakeMcWaffles

    PancakeMcWaffles Initiate (0) Jun 15, 2012 Germany

    Sounds good!
    I am not really a homebrewer (yet? :grinning: ) so I can't really give you pro advice here, but I wouldn't do that vodka-soak thing to be honest. I would go for something like "Lebkuchen-Gewürz" which is basically all the ingredients you list, but already ground and very intense, and maybe add some extra cinnamon, a vanilla bean, cloves... (Choose those you want to be stronger than what the Lebkuchen-Gewürz already gives you)
    I suppose adding that stuff to the boil kettle is the best, especially things like cinnamon and cloves need some heat to give intense flavours, atleast that's my experience from cooking with these ingedients!
  13. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    No, I'm flying blind on this, but this just seems like a challenge I can't pass up, and something I could only make in Germany, for the Orangeat & Zitronat are ingredients you can't find elsewhere. Yes, candied fruit is available elsewhere, but I tasted this stuff here for the first time and it's got a unique flavor, sweet but slightly sour, almost too intense to eat alone.

    I was inspired to create this beer by Shorts Brewing. Has anyone seen the line up Shorts Brewing has? There're some crazy beers on their menu! The Key Lime Pie and Strawberry Short's Cake, as well as the Über Goober Oatmeal Stout gave me the idea to try a traditional German food... maybe next time a Sachertorte...? hahaha. Just kidding on that one. But something traditional? Why not? That's the versatility of beer. No one's ever ever tried it, to my knowledge, so again, why not? Hey, if I can tweak this recipe and perfect it, maybe I have a goldmine on my hands? Ok, that's overdoing it, especially considering how Germans cling to tradition and their lack of adventurism concerning beer, but it's an idea.

    Your right, adding them to the hot wort at boiling temp. does want you say for those spices, but there's no need to cook them longer; otherwise you'd lose the aroma.

    The vodka soak is how one makes flavor extracts. I looked at the flavor extracts found in the supermarket, and they all contain at least 30% alcohol. I read about how to make them online and asked for advice in the Homebrew forum. Homebrew42 suggested I use alcohol. The ones I made 2 weeks ago have almost an explosive aroma when you one up the jars they're currently sitting in. So that's why I plan to use them in 2ndary, to give the beer a "wow" aroma, I hope.
  14. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    The advantage to soaking in vodka and adding after the boil and directly to fermenter is that you can control the amount that goes in and the beer remains "enjoyable" and drinkable. You might consider doing this with all of your adjunct spices. And do yourself a favor by doing small sample dosage so you don't ruin the entire beer if you are not happy with aroma & flavor levels.

    Reconsider adding the nuts - too much oil and the "nutty" flavors should come from malts.
  15. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I did this when I made my Pumkin Pie Stout ("The Dark Pum(melig) King Stout")recently. I added half the spices at the end of the boil, then added the rest in 2ndary, tasted it a week later, then added the same amount as the 2nd addition a week later when I noticed it wasn't strong enough in aroma

    First, this is why I decided on a Brown Ale as the base beer. Also, thank you for the advice. I've thought about this and, well hell, I've seen more than a few commercial craft brews claim they use the real nuts as ingredients, which is why I will boil off the oil separately before adding it to wort. I might be completely wrong on this, but I'm willing to take a stab at it.
  16. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    OK, enough nitpicking from me - hope to try it someday!
  17. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    will I need to mail it, Einhorn, or will you come to FFM to pick it personally?
  18. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    With my business, I don't think I can afford time-wise and money-wise to make it back to my 2nd home of 16 years. I haven't been back in 4 years now, I hope that I can head back soon. In the meantime, we will have to rely on the Deutsche Post. In exchange, I can send you some of my doppelbock and any other west coast goodies you might desire.
  19. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    So....? How did it turn out ? :slight_smile:
  20. danfue

    danfue Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2012 Germany

    Yeah, I'm curious too.
  21. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Here are pics of yesterday's brew day. I brewed up the Lebkuchen Braun Ale.
    First, I made a few adjustments to the recipe.
    1. Got rid of CaraBelge malt, for it was too similar to Special B malt.
    2. Upped the Münchener malt to 700g instead of 500g above.
    3. Upped the Amarillo aroma hops to 50g instead of 40g above.
    4. Added pureed Orangeat and Zitronat midway of boil instead of at the end.
    5. I forgot to add the Dark Liquid Malt extract, but that was only 200g, maybe had a few too many of my own
    homebrews. Oops.​
    6. Forgot to buy brown sugar and all stores are closed on Sundays in Germany, so removed brown sugar from
    7. I bought some ground, roasted almonds and hazelnuts, boiled it for 20 minutes the night before, and added it to
    the fermenter.​

    First, the drinking pic! I was really lucky to have 4 people join me to watch/help and enjoy my homebrews.
    Kitchen is VERY small! A typically tiny FFM kitchen for Altbau, a 100 year old sandstone townhouse.
    Smaragd leaf hops to be added for 15 minutes of the boil.

    The lauter tun (Maischtonne) brewing the "malt tea." I made this contraption myself with plans from Brew Your Own mag. I bought the Igloo cooler online in Germany, which was a great investment.

    Everyone thought it was sooooo funny that I use panty hose to hold the hops to put in the boil. Am I the only one that's ever done this?

    Yes, that's panty hose full of Smaragd hops floating in the wort. Also, I made the spigot myself. Had a metal shop cut a hole in the pot, which incidentally was originally a tamale cooking pot bought in a Mexican supermarket in Dallas. I got the tap at Home Depot.

    Orangeat & Zitronat pureed and added 30 minutes before the end of the boil.
    Adding the spices. Notice the flame is out. This is vanilla extract.

    The wort chiller chilling the wort.

    Enter the "Gärballon," or Demi-John Fermenter. Holds 54L.

    Trying to read the hydrometer to see if I'd hit my target gravity. I drop the hydrometer in the fermenter with a string tied to it in order to retrieve it, but it was really hard to get a decent view of it this time. If the gravity is too high, then I add more water.

    Finally finished, sitting and ready to ferment. The layer floating on top is the almond/hazelnut puree. It hasn't started to ferment in this pic.
    Here the "trüb" or cloudy stuff has already begin to settle on the bottom. I love how clear black the beer is.

    Finally, a toast to a brew day well done. The mash stuck at one point, so I had to filter using the orange funnel, but that was about the only hiccup.
    I hope you enjoyed seeing the pics and my report.
  22. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    Wish my grandma was still alive; she would have LOVED this! Let us know how it turns out!
  23. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    So, how much longer until this is drinkable ? If it turns out being drinkable that is :grinning: :stuck_out_tongue:
  24. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    It probably will be drinkable by early December at latest. I only wish I had a garage/barn or something to minimize the mess I made in my kitchen. Cleaning and washing it all up probably took over 90 minutes. I basically was at work from 10:30 am - 8 pm, a 10 hour day. What you don't see are pics of me weighing out the ingredients and milling the malts.
  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That fermenter is crazy. I like it.

    Stahl -- guessing it'll be ready in close to 5 weeks -- maybe 6* to get a full maturation of flavors.

    *Wow -- I see Bodd is letting it really mature. 10 weeks is pretty long for an ale.
  26. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I'm afraid you're way off on your timing, Steve. First, I just brewed it yesterday. 2nd, fermentation should take around 10 days, then I will leave it in 2ndary after I add the aroma spices, and 3rd, lagering times all depend on the amount of alcohol.

    For example, it's not unheard of to lager a 10% ABV beer for over 6 months, and I find a 5.5% beer to be ready only after 5 or 6 weeks. This is homebrewing, not commercial, where you have filtered, non-bottle conditioned beer. Bottle conditioning requires more time but you get a great beer, nonetheless. The patience of homebrewing is the hardest part.

    I figure if my ABV is around 6%, then it should take 8 weeks. I've tried testing/drinking unripe/green/unconditioned beer and it gives you nothing but a blinding, flu-like headache, and the flavors haven't meshed or melded yet. A beer this complex with spices requires longer lagering time on top of the usual to let them all blend smoothly.
  27. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Not really, I've brewed ales, and seen ales brewed, ready to drink from boil-kettle to bottle (or keg) in 5 weeks -- and you hadn't mentioned the OG until now, I wasn't sure where things went when you forgot the extract. Not a big difference between 5.5 and 6.

    But yes, taking the spices and other adjuncts into account. longer lagering will surely benefit the beer.

    Really? How much did you drink? :wink: Seriously, I always sample my brews along the way as they develop. Lets me know if there are any trouble spots -- and I've never been head slammed.
  28. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Great pics! Are you happy with the taste of the wort?

    I am also sure that it will take a while for the flavors to meld together. With so many adjuncts, this is typical.
  29. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Primary must be done on this wacky brew - how does it taste? I am burning with curiosity!
  30. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Thanks for asking.

    What's really weird is it's still bubbling away like crazy. After pitching the yeast, it fermented really slowly for a week. I don't know whether it due to the temp. or whatever, but it barely was fermenting at all. Then after 5 days, this last weekend, fermentation just took off. Now the airlock has been going crazy since Saturday and shows no sign of slowing down. I'm at a loss to explain this. I did absolutely nothing to hinder or promote fermentation, though since last weekend, the temp. has dropped down to around 10C in our apartment. I had to fire up the heater and it's been on every evening since (where the fermenter is located). Anyway, the aroma coming out of the fermenter is full of allspice, cardamon, cloves, & stout beer, but not much else. Almost too strong on the spices. When fermentation is done, I'll put all the extracts to sit for a week, and that may balance out the heavy spice aroma.

    Here are pics taken yesterday.
    Viewed from the top straight down into the fermenter. Looks gross if you didn't know it was beer, doesn't it?
    Viewed from the side. Notice all the almonds/hazelnuts floating under the yeast.
  31. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    As long as fermentation was somewhat active after pitching, you should be OK, the danger being infection. I am sure that temperature played a part (as always), and warming it up should help.

    What yeast strain did you use? Did you measure original gravity?
  32. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    White Labs British Ale WLP005. I don't believe it's infected, though that was my initial thought too. The smell coming out is pure ale with no hints of sourness. I've had a few batches gone sour while brewing in Germany before I switched from a plastic brew bucket to the gärballon/fermentation balloon you see in the above pics. Since the switch, I haven't had any infections. Unfortunately, I've learned I can distinctly smell an infected beer in fermentation.

    OG was 1.055, though I'm not sure if the addition of the spices and nuts in the boil will add any. As we speak it's still bubbling away strongly. :slight_smile:
    einhorn likes this.
  33. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    A sad update: I opened up the fermenter and siphoned up some of the beer as a taste test to then gauge how much of each extract to add; however, my worst fear occurred. The taste was instantly, intensely sour, and made the beer really undrinkable. A friend I had helping me agreed that it was too sour to drink, so I poured it into shower drain. :slight_frown: Now I know why I had 1 week of very little fermentation, then a week later an explosion of fermentation. The original yeast, White Labs British Ale #WLP005 obviously had been a dud, virtually dead and then after a week, when I opened up the fermenter to smell and take pics, the local FFM Bretts stormed the fermenter and did the job.

    What to do? Re-brew! Yesterday I went back at it. I'm not going to give up that easily. I brewed almost the same recipe as in the original post, though I changed up the grain bill. Here is the revised list:
    • 3.5 kg Light Dry malt extract
    • 200 g – Liquid Dark malt extract
    • 200 g Debittered Chocolate malt
    • 300 g – Melonoidin malt
    • 500 g – Special B malt
    • 500 g – Biscuit malt
    • 800 g – Munich malt
    The hop orinigal schedule remains unchanged, except for an addition of 10 g Cascade at flame out.

    The spices schedule is as follow. At flame out add:
    • 100 g each – boiled, pureed almonds & hazelnuts
    • 100 g – defatted cocoa powder
    • 100 g each –pureed Zitronat and Orangeat
    • 2 tablespoons: Cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon: Caramom, Allspice, Cloves
    • 2 vanilla beans
    The extract additions for secondary will be the same, though I replaced the yeast due to availability issues to Wyeast 1469-PC West Yorkshire.

    I'll keep y'all informed as things progress.
  34. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Sorry to hear about your misfortune :/
  35. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Make sure to crank up your apartment heater to 65-70 F for a few days of primary.

    Best of luck!
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,884) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I scrolled through your process above, but I may have missed it -- did you use a yeast starter to get it activated before brew-day?
  37. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Yes, used a yeast starter, but it didn't do anything, no activity whatsoever. I always use a yeast starter. I've had that happen before and everything worked out well, so I didn't really sweat it. This time, however, it seems the yeast was a real dud.
  38. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (292) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    So what's up with the Lebkuchen Frankenstein-ator experiment?
    Stahlsturm likes this.
  39. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Thanks for asking. The reason I haven't been back here bragging how awesome this beer is is....on brewing it a second time, I still got an infection. I had trouble getting the yeast to start in the starter, and concluded it just wasn't a viable batch. Both times I used a vial from White Labs and each time they were not viable. I bought both from Hopfen und Mehr, and in the USA, I never had a problem concerning White Lab yeast. Except for the mild sour flavors, you could taste a decent beer was behind it, but hidden among the sourness. I noticed the Final Gravity was 1.007, which also tells me it was was infected.

    I had to resort to use yet another yeast, which fermented well, but somehow there was still a small residual tart/sour aftertaste. I think the problem of it going sour either had to do with yeast and allowing it to sit around for a day waiting for fermentation to begin, yet that's never been a problem for me before, or, more likely, it was the addition of pureed almonds and hazelnuts. Even though I boiled this stuff and, after pouring off much of the oil, I dumped it directly into the fermenter. Some of the nut particles stuck to the glass while it was fermenting, and that may have allowed the infection to enter.

    Needless to say, I'm upset. The experiment was a failure due only to infections, not to the recipe or idea itself. I decided to give up this year. I'll go back to brewing simpler stuff like IPAs. I'll try again later next year, or maybe in January if I'm really bored.

    Again, thanks to all who showed an interest. However, next time, I plan to up the portion of Citronat/Orangiat and boil it directly and skip the nuts until the very end and add them only in 2ndary.
  40. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,010) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Bummer that you got an infection again. Have you had success with that massive carboy before? Any chance the massive amount of "head space" could be harboring airborne bacteria that are getting to the beer before they can be forced out by CO2 (especially given the lag times for the yeast to start kicking)? Just a thought....
    boddhitree likes this.
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