Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lichtenhainer (9/13/13)

Certainly the most obscure style I've ever attempted, Lichtenhainer was an extinct German beer style that combined the tartness of a Berliner weisse with the savory Beech smoke of a rauchbier. Before modern kilning technology emerged, many beers exhibited smoky flavors from the wood used in the malt's drying process. Likewise, before careful sanitation became standard, most beers were mixed fermentations, with both lactic acid and alcoholic fermentations proceeding in parallel. Smoked sours, therefore, would once have been quite common, though they're now virtually nonexistent.

Lichtenhainer was one of the last remaining examples of a smoked sour beer. The last continuously-produced Lichtenhainer was brewed in 1983. The style has since been brewed by at least one German brewery and one American brewery, though neither are easily available.

For this beer, I used the same souring technique I used on my last sour: 5 days of spontaneous lactic fermentation at 112˚F. This time I did the lactic fermentation in a CO2 purged keg, in order to further inhibit aerobic spoilage bacteria. I then performed a 5 minute boil and fermented it with US05 American ale yeast.

Like my previous sours, this beer reached typical levels of attenuation. It's neither as dry as a traditional lambic, nor is it as sweet as sweet lambics or most Flemish sours. The acidity is aggressively lemon-like. The beech smoke plays a supporting role, expressing itself as a rich, savory finish. Unusual, to be sure, but delicious and surprisingly drinkable.

ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 10
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.012

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts.
Smoked 5 50% 37.00
2 Row 5 50% 36.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Spalt 0.75 60 4.0%

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