Recently a Chop & Brew Homebrew Club member named Rien Polak sent me a message from The Netherlands. Rien contacted us via Chop & Brew’s Facebook page saying that he had recently won first place in a homebrewing competition in his country with a Smoked Tea Bock, and that the inspiration for the beer came from Chop & Brew – Episode 38: Homebrewing with Tea. His Smoked Tea Bock is a doppelbock with Lansang Souchong added in secondary fermentation. As you may remember in the episode, our friend Jessica Hanley explained that Lapsang Souchong is a black tea that is smoked over a pine fire for a fairly intense and very unique smoky flavor.
Rien won his prize with a score of 92 (out of 100) in the Dutch Homebrew Competition for the category “Experimental/Innovative Beers.” As he explained, their system is much different from the BJCP style-based system, although styles are judged and graded on their own by style guidelines, the main categories and prizes are divided by color of beer and strength instead of by stylistic characteristics. The “Experimental/Innovative Beers” is a category of its own, of course. While his achievement is awesome, Rien says that he regrets that the beer fell one point short of Best of Show at the competition.
Rien went on to tell me that for the first time ever, this year there will be a European competition with 110 homebrewers selected from 10 European countries based on wins in their home national competition. Rien and fourteen other homebrewers will be going to Rome on October 9, 2016 to represent The Netherlands as part of the Eurhop! Roma Beer Festival. He qualified for the event with an American IPA that scored 90/100. He says he is looking forward to meeting a lot of homebrewers from other countries.
Below is the recipe and fermentation notes for Rien’s Smoked Tea Bock as e-mail to me. Huge thanks to Rien for his support of the Chop & Brew show and homebrew club and for allowing us to reprint his recipe here.
61.2% Munich Malt
25% Pilsner Malt
8% Cara malt 120 EBC (45L)
4% Biscuit malt
1.8% Chocolate malt 900 EBC (340L)
1 hour @ 67°C (153F)
17 IBU Perle @ 75 minutes
12 IBU Perle @ 20 minutes
6 IBU Perle @ 10 minutes
Fermentis W34/70 dry yeast
(for 22 liters I used 3 sachets)
2 weeks @ 13,5°C (56F)
Process for the Tea
After fermentation was done, I transferred 5 liter to a separate container. For 5 liter I added 30 grams of Lapsang Souchong spread over 3 teabags for optimal contact with the beer. Every 8-12 hours I took a sample to monitor the flavour. After 48 hours I got the flavour I wanted and bottled the now smoked beer. The smoke flavour and aroma is very stable, even after months and the residual sweetness of the Bock really balances the smoke very well.
This is the second beer where I used Lapsang Souchong. I tried a Stout first (I think I mentioned that in your YouTube channel under the tea episode). Although it worked very well, for my personal taste the base beer needed a little bit more body to support the smokiness. Hence the transition to a Bock.
— Rien Polak