If your name is Adam, you should brew an Adambier. - Brain Sparging on Brewing


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January 2, 2014

If your name is Adam, you should brew an Adambier.

Photo from homebrewchef.com
Adambier is one of those historical brew styles that are difficult to find and our understanding of the style is questionable at best. Adambier is an old German top-fermented style hailing from Dortmunder, home of altbier. Descriptions of Adambier range from something like a top-fermented doppelbock to a German version of a barleywine to a smoky version of a doppelsticke (a high alcohol, highly hopped version of altbier) to a big, dark brown beer that has soured. Given it's geographical origin, it was probably the same or very similar to doppelsticke. (Doppelsticke itself is a rare style designation. Among altbier there is a slightly bigger and more hoppy version called sticke alt and doppelsticke is an even bigger and more hoppy version.) What is generally agreed to is that adambier was an aged beer that was aged at least a year but would be aged up to ten years. That certainly gives credence to the idea adambier would be subject to souring bacteria and brett and over time the hop character would fade.

For most of us in America, our idea of adambier comes from Hair of the Dog's Adam which has been produced since 1994. It is not sour or hoppy by American craft standards. Instead, it is somewhere in the vicinity of a German barleywine meets a wee heavy and not considered a particularly accurate historical recreation. Still, it might be considered an American Adambier, if we were to agree such a style might exist.

I decided to brew an adambier mostly out of vanity. There aren't many beer styles with people's names in them and I'm fortunate enough that my first name is included in a beer style and my last name is Polish for chalice, so I guess I just have a name built for brewing. We don't get Adam or any other adambier here in Texas, so trying something remotely close to the style seemed like a good idea to get an opportunity to try something near the style. It's also going to be my big beer for the year.

My starting point for this beer was the Adam recipe in Barleywine which is explained in the book as one of the early homebrew recipes that formed the basis of Hair of the Dog Adam. It is not particularly German in its use of ingredients but it seemed like a good starting point for creating a beer that is somewhere in the vicinity of a German adambier but with an American twist. Given the opportunity for vanity to make this a mebier, I would like to work on crafting a really solid Adambier over the next few years. I will probably drift the recipe closer to a doppelsticke but we'll see how I like this recipe.

Mebier Recipe

Batch size: 1 gallon
Est. ABV: 9.5%
Color: 12.5 SRM
Est. OG: 1.091
Est. FG: 1.019
Est. Efficiency: 72%
Bitterness: 42.8 IBU

The Grist

79.5%  2 lb. 12 oz. US 2 Row (2.0 SRM)
9% 5 oz. White wheat malt (2.4 SRM)
7.2% 4 oz. Caramunich II malt (36 SRM)
3.8% 2 oz. Munich malt (10 SRM)
0.6% 0.3 oz. Roasted barley (300 SRM)

The Water

RO water adjusted in Bru'n water for malty brown profile
1.38 gallons mash water | 0.37 gallons sparge water

Mash Water Adjustments

0.3g gypsum
0.6g epsom salt
0.2g canning salt
0.6g calcium chloride
0.3g chalk
0.4ml lactic acid

Sparge Water Adjustments

0.1g gypsum
0.2g epsom salt
0.2g calcium chloride
0.2ml lactic acid

The Mash

5.5 qt infusion at 97F for 15 minutes
Decoct 1.53qt and raise to 158F for 15 minutes, then reach boiling
Return decoction and raise mash to 122F for 25 minutes
Decoct 1.91qt and raise to 158F for 10 minutes, then reach boiling
Return decoction and raise mash to 148F for 20 minutes
Decoct 0.83qt and boil
Return to decoction and raise mash to 158F 20 minutes
Sparge with 0.37 gallons at 180F

The Boil

120 minute boil
0.18 oz. Belma [12.10% AAU] at 60 minutes 32 IBU
0.17 oz. Opal [6.5% AAU] at 20 minutes 10.8 IBU
0.15 tsp irish moss at 10 minutes
0.50 oz. Opal [6.5% AAU] at 0 minutes 0 IBU

The Fermentation

Ferment with 30ml of S04 at 62F for two weeks (until 80% fermentation complete) then raise to 66F until final gravity then let free rise to ambient. Let sit at ambient for one month. Bottle to 2.8 volumes.

Brewday Notes

First runnings gravity: 1.072
Pre-boil gravity: 1.058
Pre-boil volume: 1.5 gallons
Mash efficiency: 69%
OG: 1.079
Post-boil volume: 1.1 gallons
Efficiency: 66%

FG reading 3/26/14: 1.023 good for 7.4% ABV

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