The Big One

Go big or go home, someone recently said to me. He was referring to the hops in the American IPA he was brewing, but I decided it was also applicable to the doppelbock I was planning to brew. So the “doppel” became a “tripel” – instead of a mere 12 lbs. of malt originally in the recipe, this became a gigantic 17 lb. mash. Pushing the limits of my mash tun and brew kettle, I went for it.

Bocks are, of course, rich, slightly stronger than average lagers. They range in color from pale gold to dark brown, in alcoholic strength from 5% to as much as 13 or 14% – Sammichlaus and Eggenberg, two of the strongest beers in the world, are bocks. Because they are lagered (and generally for quite a while) they tend to be very smooth. Emphasis is on the malt and the alcohol, although without substantial hop bitterness they can be cloyingly sweet. This big a brew will probably need help from a wine yeast in the secondary, but I will wait and see how primary fermentation goes.

Triplicator, triple bock
5 gallons, all-grain


  • 10 lbs. Weyermann dark Munich malt
  • 4 lbs. Weyermann Bohemian pilsner malt
  • 1 lb. Cara-red malt
  • 1/2 lb. Cara-amber malt
  • 1/2 lb. melanoidin malt
  • 8 oz. dark wheat malt
  • 4 oz. Carafa I malt
  • 4 oz. 60°L crystal
  • 1 oz. Saphir hop pellets (5.6% aa)
  • 1 oz. Magnum pellets (12% aa)
  • 1 oz. whole Hallertauer hops (2.5% aa)
  • White Labs German Bock yeast (WLP833)
  • 2/3 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Crush grains. Heat 20 quarts water to 164°F. Mash in grains, hold at 152°F for 90 minutes. Heat another 20 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collect 28 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil, add Saphir hops. Boil 75 minutes, add Magnum hops. Boil 13 more minutes, add Hallertauer hops (in mesh bag), boil 2 minutes and turn off heat. Remove Hallertauer hops, chill wort to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading. Pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment at 55 – 60° for eight to ten days. Rack to secondary and lager for six to eight weeks. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and age four to six weeks. This beer should keep for a year or more.

OG: 1094
IBU’s: 42

Note on boil and hop schedule: I started with a huge amount of wort, well over seven gallons, I really wanted to condense it down to just over five gallons, so I actually boiled it for 105 minutes, adjusting the hops accordingly – the Magnum went in after 75 minutes, so was actually in the boil for 30, bringing the actual IBU total to something more like 55… except that hop utilization rates are lower in a higher gravity wort, so it’s probably a wash… I was originally going to use the Magnum as the bittering hop and the Saphir for flavor but that would have almost tripled the IBU’s. The longer boil did give the beer a nice reddish color, and should help to bring out the maltiness.

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