Nico Schulz & Blue Stallion Brewing’s Doppelbock

blue stallion brewing co.

blue stallion brewing co.A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves wondering around in Central Kentucky once again. This time we were lucky enough to enter into one of Lexington’s newest breweries in Blue Stallion Brewery.

Blue Stallion has many great tasting beers, but anytime a local brewery features a Doppelbock on the top of its beer list, it’s got to be tried. So, we tried and it was fantastic. That means, we contacted Nico Schulz, the head brewer and partner of Blue Stallion, to discuss the tasteful Doppelbock.

Brewer Magazine: Why did you all decide to develop a Doppelbock?

Nico Schulz: Bockbiers have always been one of my favorite beer styles, and are a great addition to our beers at Blue Stallion Brewing. We had a Maibock on tap when we first opened last year and it was one of our best selling beers so far. We followed up with a Weizenbock in the fall and a Traditional Bock by the start of winter. Both were a great success as well.

Since we don’t like to add any adjuncts to our beer, we never really considered making a Christmas beer that used spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg. So when our costumers kept asking if we would have a special beer for Christmas, the choice was pretty obvious and we decided for the most traditional German winter beers of all, the Doppelbock.

BM: What makes your Doppelbock unique from others?

NS: We like to brew our beers according to the Reinheitsgebot and don’t add any adjuncts or spices to our beer. The addition of spices or artificial flavors is definitely a trend here in the U.S. and more and more Doppelbocks on the market have spices or flavors added — ours does not.

Most Doppelbocks are also overpowering sweet and we tried to finish our Doppelbock with less residual sweetness then most American versions. It is still pretty sweet, like a Doppelbock is supposed to be, but I believe it is really well balanced. The Melanoidin and Munich malts are definitely dominant and it also has some fruitiness to it, which is found in most traditional Doppelbocks.

We also used one of the best German Nobel Hops on the market. This hop is really hard to come by and we got lucky to get enough for our Doppelbock and our upcoming spring seasonal, our Maibock.

BM: Where did you get your inspiration for your Doppelbock?

NS: I grew up in Germany and was exposed to a large variety of beers my entire life. When I first started drinking beer I preferred the lighter beers such as Pilsners or Helles, but it didn’t take long until I fell in love with the stronger and mostly darker Bockbiers.

So when I first moved to the U.S. about four years ago I started to miss those beers since the bottled and imported beers lacked the freshness, and most of the American versions just never tasted quite right to me. So I decided to come up with my own recipe and brewed a few test batches. At that point I was still brewing in my garage and I brewed it the old fashion way, and used a triple decoction mash. So it was a challenge for me to adapt my recipe to our 15BBL system where I can only do infusion step mashing, but I’m really happy with the way it turned out!

BM: What do you enjoy the most about the Doppelbock?

NS: Basically everything! The flavor and aroma just reminds me of some of the Doppelbocks I used to drink back home in Germany. I love the malt character and the alcohol content of it. It is really smooth and the alcohol is warming. It simply is the perfect beer to drink in the wintertime.

Of course I also love the actual brewing process of it. The more complicated and labor intensive the mash schedule is, the more I like to brew it. So converting my old recipe to our system was a lot of fun and I actually had to split it up into two mashes since our Mash Tun isn’t big enough to hold all the grain used for this beer.

BM: How has the Doppelbock gone over with consumers?

NS: It is selling really well and I’m getting a lot of good reviews. We actually entered it in the Dublin Craft Beer Cup last month where it won the Gold Medal! It was the first competition we ever entered, so I’m even more excited about it. Our Smoked Lager and Munich Dunkel won medals as well.

But I’m happy the warm weather is back and our costumers start to drink more of our lighter beers again since we’re almost sold out of the Doppelbock. But it is safe to say that I will brew it again very soon!



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