The doppelbock is a delicious style that is, unfortunately, sometimes difficult to find. It is categorized as a strong European beer, ranging from 7% – 10% ABV. It is a strong, rich, malty lager that has both pale and amber versions. Personally, I prefer the darker versions, so this recipe will be geared towards that, but know that you can make a pale version by removing the darker malts and adding slightly more hops. The guidelines are listed below.
- Original Gravity: 1.072 – 1.112
- Final Gravity: 1.016 – 1.024
- Alcohol by Volume: 7.0% – 10.0%
- Bitterness: 16-26 IBU
- Color (SRM): 6-25
The doppelbock has been nicknamed “liquid bread” due to the traditional style being a thicker, lower attenuated beer. Due to its heavy malt emphasis, the quality of your malt is essential to making a good doppelbock. For the grain bill, use Munich malt as the majority of your base, and a pilsner malt as the rest. Use between 65% – 80% Munich malt, and 15% – 30% pilsner malt. This will build you a rich, bready base with plenty of fermentable sugars. For specialty malts, keep it simple. You can add a little victory or melanoidin to bump up the toastiness and breadiness. Use either Carafa II or a CaraMunich for color adjustment, a deeper malt character, and higher final gravity. Regardless of what you use, try to keep your specialty malts under 10% of the grain bill.
The hops used in a doppelbock are German noble hops. These include Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Saaz, Spalt, and Tettnang. If you are unable to get ahold of any of these, you can also use Fuggles, Liberty, or Mount Hood. I would add in about 22 IBUs worth of bittering hops at 60 minutes. This will give you enough bitterness to prevent your doppelbock from being too sweet, but not so much that it will come off as bitter.
Since the doppelbock has such a high ABV, make sure you pitch plenty of healthy yeast. Use a strain that has a higher alcohol tolerance, slightly less attenuation, and has an emphasis on the malt characteristics. Our favorite strains are:
- Old Bavarian Lager Yeast – WLP920 (White Labs)
- German Bock Lager Yeast – WLP833 (White Labs)
- Munich Lager -2308 (Wyeast)
- German X Lager Yeast – WLP835 (White Labs)
Last but not least, the water. For all beers I brew, I use a reverse osmosis filtration system and build up my water profile from scratch. The suggested water profile for an amber version of a doppelbock is:
- Calcium – 50 ppm
- Magnesium – 0 ppm
- Sodium – 15 ppm
- Sulfate – 55 ppm
- Chloride – 65 ppm
The following is a 5-gallon batch of a doppelbock. The numbers for this beer are included below.
- Original Gravity: 1.077
- Final Gravity: 1.016 – 1.024
- Alcohol by Volume: 7.7%
- Bitterness: 22.4 IBU
- Color (SRM): 18.9
- Munich Malt – 10 lbs 8 oz (71.8%)
- Pilsner Malt – 3 lb (20.5%)
- Caramel Munich III – 1 lb (6.8%)
- Carafa II – 1.9 oz (0.8%)
- 2 oz Hallertauer Mittelfruh at 60 minutes (22.4 IBUs)
Munich Lager (2308) – Wyeast
Traditionally, the doppelbock undergoes a two to three-step decoction mash. If doing a decoction mash, I would rest it at 120 degrees, 144 degrees, 156 degrees, and then mash out at 168 degrees. If you are unable, or simply do not want to, perform a decoction mash, you can simply perform a single infusion mash at 156 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Mashing at 156 degrees will help boost the body and residual sweetness.
Add your salts and pH adjustment, if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 156 degrees Fahrenheit. For me, the strike water was at 166 degrees Fahrenheit at 4.57 gallons. After 40 minutes, raise your mash temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. After mashing out, begin to sparge until you reach a pre-boil gravity of around 1.068. For me, it was 4 gallons.
Boil the wort for 90 minutes. Add the hops in at 60 minutes. At 10 minutes, I added yeast nutrients and at 5 minutes I added whirlfloc tablets as my clarifying agent. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.
Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 48 degrees and then measure the gravity/pitch the yeast. My initial gravity was 1.077. I let this free rise to 52 degrees as fermentation starts. I kept it at this temperature for a little over a week. Once the primary fermentation was complete, I pulled off the yeast and let the temperature free rise up to 68 degrees. For me, this took about 5 days. I then held it at this temperature for 2 whole weeks to ensure that fermentation has completed. After the two-week mark, I lowered the temperature by 4 degrees a day until it reached 33 degrees. Once it reached 33 degrees, I transferred it to the brite tank and carbonated it to 2.8 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, I kegged it and let it lager for 12 weeks. Once the lagering is complete, tap it and enjoy!
If you decide to try this recipe, or another doppelbock recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!