Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Smoked Double Secret Probation Tasting

With a sizable backlog of cellared beers to sample, I thought I'd knock another one off the list by revisiting my Rauch Doppelsticke (literally Smoked Double Secret).  If you'd remember back to the summer of 2009, this beer was originally slated to be the second beer into our bourbon barrel, but after the Wee Heavy started to sour I just bottled it straight.  In a week we are going to bottle the second beer from that barrel (a porterish stout) so it seemed like another good time to revisit this one.

Double Secret Probation

Smoked Doppelstick in my Aecht Schlenkerla tulip.Appearance – Nearly opaque dark brown, but it has a luminous ruby glow when held to the light. Pours with two-finger-creamy-tan head that sinks slowly over a few minutes trailing a spotty lacing.

Smell – Good balance of rich “German” maltiness and subtle smokey complexities. The malt is a bit crackery, fresh, grainy.

Taste – Woodsy smoked malt start, but not to the level of being bacony or meaty. There is some dark fruit (raisin) complementing the bready malt. Just a hint of alcohol in the finish along with a touch of full city roast coffee. Slight lingering bitterness balances the moderate malt sweetness. Still tastes pretty fresh, no oxidation character (unless that's what the raisin is...).

Mouthfeel – Medium body, not too full/thick like many big German beers (thanks to close to 80% apparent attenuation). The carbonation is medium-low, just about right for a complex ale like this.

Drinkability & Notes – A complex yet drinkable beer as is, but it would have been great with a bit of oak/vanilla from a few months in a bourbon barrel. I love the flavor possibilities of big lagers, but they are often so sweet that the balance and drinkability of their smaller siblings is completely lost.


Dave K. said...

Just found your blog about a week ago and since I love drinking funky sour beers you have now inspired me to try my luck at making my own. What are the best styles to funk up? I was gonna start out by playing around with brett. I brew all sorts of styles, but was wondering if there and any styles that are best and any that are a 'no no'. I took a week off of work next week for a 'staycation' and am gonna brew two beers, a french saison with 3711 and haven't decided on the second but wanted to take a few gallons of one of them to experiment with.

Thanks again,


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Glad you've enjoyed the blog.

Lower bitterness styles are your best bet for sourness, although with just Brett pretty much anything can work. Saisons are great bases, but 3711 is so attenuative that there probably won't be much left for the Brett to eat (so you'll get a mild funk). Stealing a few gallons from a batch is a great way to get started, but it can be annoying to have a batch that comes out great and only get a six pack or two.

Alan Torell said...

Very interesting sounding beer - would love to try it (what beer wouldn't I like to try :D ). It does remind my of 2 beers that I need to brew - the rebrew of my own Doppelsticke (Otto's Hammer) and the smoked Moose Drool that I have planned. Should be an interesting start to the new year! - Cheers!