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. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (288) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Yes, I agree that if you had 2 infections in a row with different yeasts that you are introducing the bugs via adjuncts. My simple suggestion in lieu of nuts (if that is the source) might be to just leave them out altogether. You have biscuit malt and other specialty grains in the malt bill and I assume you will get a lot of those flavors from that.

    Just my $.02...
    boddhitree likes this.
  2. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    That was my thought. I use this "gärballon," or "fermentation balloon" for every brew. I haven't had any problems before. The main difference with this beer is that some nut particles stuck to the glass above the waterline, and before fermentation could begin, would allow a little time for the air to infect these tiny particles.

    When I brew this again, I'll leave out the nuts and anything that can stick to the glass.
  3. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (288) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    I am not sure that your conclusion (nuts sticking to side) is correct. If they were boiled/sanitized and were introduced into a clean carboy, there shouldn't be an issue. You problem could be any of the other adjuncts, which you might consider making in the form of a tea or soaking in vodka to extract and adding post-fermentation. That way, you can also adjust the levels of spices to your liking and not force you to endure something you don't like or even an entire drain pour.
  4. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I'm pretty confident my analysis is correct. All of the adjuncts I put into the beer were at flame out, which means they would've be at boiling temps for over 10 minutes. The initial yeast (a White Labs vial) failed to show any signs of life when making a starter, so I poured it down the drain. I had a back up yeast (Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire), but it took over 48 hours to get a viable starter going and get the stuff fermenting in the beer. During that time, my wort, which had the boiled, pureed hazelnuts and almonds in suspension (again, added at flame out), was sitting around with lots of oxygen inside the fermentation balloon head space. Try as I might, I couldn't get the nuts to stop sticking to the glass in the head space. I believe this was enough time for wild brett yeasts to start a fermentation of its own in the nut particles. The proper yeast eventually kicked in and did it stuff, but then at the end of fermentation, I noticed the air bubbles changed from light to dark. Actually, it looked exactly like the pics I posted of the yeast in a previous post. In fact, that's what a wild brett yeast looks like while fermenting. I saw small "colonies" of bubbles of this sort, and this fermentation lasted only 2 days before petering out.

    (Below is a pic from the original attempt. This is what a wild, Frankfurt Brett yeast looks like while fermenting.)
    I can't think of any other source for the infection. I tasted the beer before adding any of the vodka soaked extracts and it had a slight sour flavor, not overpowering, but strong enough to make you not want to drink a whole bottle of the stuff. It didn't complement the maltiness and other flavors at all.

    Like always, I'm super super sanitary while brewing. I've had a brett infection in beers years ago, when I first started brewing in Germany and used a plastic 30 L bucket, so I know what they taste like, and this was soured by wild yeast. Everything that went into this last wort and been boiled, sat in vodka 24 hours or more, or went in while the wort was still near boiling temperature. The only variable is that the first yeast failed me, and the nuts sticking to the sides of the glass. I've thought this through a few times and the only explanation is that the beer gods don't want this beer brewed. :( At least not in 2012. Or I have a competitor saboteur. ;)

    If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
  5. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I wasn't anywhere near Frankfurt. Honest :)

    I also would've wanted you to succeed, I was actually looking forward to tasting this. :)
  6. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (288) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    A fermentation that doesn't start within 12 hrs of pitching will always be susceptible to wild yeasts taking over and souring beer. This are various factors which will inhibit fermentation (temperature, bad pitch, underpitching, lack of nutrients (zinc), lack of oxygen, etc) and IMO you need to look at these first. As a suggestion, keep some dry yeast (Safale 04 is a great one) around if you have this issue again.
  7. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Oh well, back to the drawing board. This is the first time I used White Labs yeast in Germany. In the USA, there was never a problem. But I guess being in clear plastic vials made them susceptible to being killed in their journey over the ocean. I bought them at Hopfen und Mehr's online shop. However, the Wyeast smack-packs have always had viable yeasts, so I learned my lesson and will stick with Wyeast products. Einhorn - I will take your suggestion and order a Safale as a back up and use yeast nutrients when I try this beer.

    On to the next beer, which will be a "normal" ol' IPA super dry hopped. For some reason, maybe Stahlsturm can explain this, for almost every German who's tried my variety of homebrews, The super hopped up IPAs have always been their favorite, especially among males. It's true, hops truly are "man candy."
    einhorn likes this.
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,691) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    My thanks to you for telling the tale so clearly and with illustrations. I learned many things from your thread and its contributors.
  9. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (288) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Just saw this Bod

    And I believe the idea to work with a Belgian ale yeast is great.

  10. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    After my failed attempts at a Lebkuchen beer, :( I decided to try a Nutella beer. Yes, you read that correctly. NUTELLA. I looked at the ingredients list on the jar of Nutella, and it's basically, chocolate, hazelnuts and vanilla, so I thought, hey, I can do that!

    Because the Lebkuchen beer was sour, I knew I had to try a different approach to using hazelnuts. I simply put them in the boil and didn't care about whatever oil could hurt the head. But now, the Nutella beer is ready and wow, it's wonderful. It doesn't taste exactly like Nutella, but you can make out the mix of choco, vanilla and hazelnuts.

    I'm posting the recipe below. My base recipe was a Beamish stout clone while adding lactose/oatmeal, the oatmeal to give it a chocolatey, thick body, and lactose to give a very sweet flavor. This recipe makes 40L.
    300g - Roasted barley
    300g - Crystal malt 60
    425g - Black Malt (debittered)
    800g - Chocolate malt
    4.6 kg - DME light
    500g - Malted (baked) oats
    480g - Lactose (last 10 minutes of boil)

    300g - Molasses
    184g - Hazelnuts (30 minutes of boil)
    2 vanilla beans (30 minutes of boil)
    50g - cocoa powder (at 0 minutes of boil)
    26g - Challenger hops (60 minutes)
    32g - EKG (60 minutes)
    16g - Challenger hops (15 minutes)

    Irish Ale yeast (Wyeast 1084)

    in secondary, just before bottling, add:
    20g vanilla extract (homemade, soaked vanilla beans in vodka for 2 months)
    50g hazelnut extract (homemade, soaked in vodka for 2 weeks)
    100g chocolate extract (homemade, soaked cocoa beans in vodka for 2 months)

    What do you think?
  11. herrburgess

    herrburgess Savant (981) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Sounds interesting. Did head retention suffer at all? Got any pics to post?
    einhorn likes this.
  12. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (288) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Totally interesting idea. Spontaneously I would say that you can get nuttiness into the beer with malts instead of actually using the nuts. And many brewers use chocolate nibs or fat-free chocolate last 10 min of boil. Not having tried this of course, I would bet that most of the "yumminess" is coming from the secondary additions.

    Great stuff!
  13. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    The trouble with nibs: they're not to be found in Germany. That's why I used defatted cocoa powder. The closest thing I could get to nibs was from a hoity-toity chocolate store that had roasted cocoa beans.
    I asked on a thread here in the homebrewers forum the best way to add aroma in 2ndary and was told extracts (soaking in vodka) was the best. Basically, I added 4 or 5 oz of vodka to a 10 gal batch, diluting it enough to make it almost unnoticable.

    I'm never heard of a malt that tastes like hazelnuts. Rogue's Hazelnut Stout ( or Porter? It's been so long) also uses real nuts, I believe.
  14. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (288) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    It was always my understanding that darker roasted Munich malts, Victory, caramel 60L or melanoiden malt (2-4% max) would be what gives off a nutty flavor.

    Here's a link with different malts and what they impart.
    boddhitree likes this.
  15. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Thanks for the link. Still, I don't think any malt replicates a HAZELnut flavor. "Nutty" flavor, yes, you can get this, but you know each nut tastes different, so if I wanted to make a Nutella flavored beer, it needed Hazelnuts.
    I regularly use Münchener and Melanoiden malt in many of my brews, mainly to give my beers a more German flavor.
    I also use Caramel 60L, but here it's called Weyermann® Cara-amber® 60-80 EBC. Victory malt... you must think I live in England or the USA. I can buy British Pale malts, but nothing like that. You know there aren't any LHBS stores in Germany, right? And you know that 90% of all malts for sale are sold with German beer recipes in mind? Brouwland in Belgium gives me access to more Belgian styles malts, but not much more. If you want to brew something other than German styles, you have to get a little creative.

    I did have a problem getting CO2 to build in the bottles, after 10 days in the bottles, I opened each bottle up and dropped another sugar cube. Problem solved. It's now well carbonated, which really allows the chocolate and vanilla aromas to come out.
  16. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    When will this be ready to taste ? I'll be passing by Bankfurt twice in about 2 or 3 weeks on my way to The Hague and back. :)
  17. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    You can taste it now, but it will probably taste a lot better after lagering for a month.
  18. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Well, when I come back from NL it may be almost a month from now :)
  19. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    A week later and it's even creamier and smoother and tastes just like melting chocolate and vanilla mixed with a hazelnut shot... not exactly Nutella but as close to it as I can get. The aroma is bursting with chocolate. Yum. Wish I could share more than just a visual of it.
    einhorn and Gutes_Bier like this.
  20. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Soon you will. Should I bring an empty growler too ? :D
  21. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    No, they're all in bottles. I don't keg my brew. But I have to say it's getting tastier by the week.
  22. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (3,373) Sep 11, 2002 Massachusetts
    Subscriber Beer Trader

  23. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (477) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Here's a link to what you are talking about. Other than Smoked Malt and "mild hopping," they don't mention anything else that would make it qualify as Lebkuchen, saying it has a "smokey, malty character." Later they say, it was developed for "it's appearance, aroma and taste especially for the pre-Christmas time." So to me it sounds like a Rauchbier with roasted malts without any of the spices, flavors that I attempted. Still, at least their's wasn't infected like mine was. However, I learned from my mistakes and glad I attempted it, and was finally successful in my Nutella Stout.
  24. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (3,373) Sep 11, 2002 Massachusetts
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    The beer I sampled tasted just like Lebkuchen (gingerbread). I do not know how they achieved it without "violating" the Reinheitsgebot, but they did.
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