Buckwhenator – Buckwheat Doppelbock

Here’s another lager at our Hotel. A Doppelbock, a German-style from the northern region of Einbeck, originated in the 13th century, at which time the beer was made with a third of wheat and was of high fermentation. Later, in the 17th century, it was transformed by the Bavarian monastic rituals into the liquid bread that served to the monks sustenance, changing to the modern version we know today. As a curiosity, the Doppelbock nomenclature typically follows a rule of having a name that should end with “-ator”.

The other curiosity of the Dopplebocks, is that with the 5th mug at the Stark Bier Fest – a festival in Munich, similar to the Oktoberfest, but dedicated specifically to this style of beer – you acquire the status of Hero and they let you sleep in a chair in the middle patio of Paulaner brewery, without being too upset. After all you drank 5 liters of Salvator, an 8% beer – the first to have the suffix “actor” that started the tradition – but you will not escape the hangover.

Walk on the memory lane done, at Brett Hotel we like to experiment with different ingredients and dismantle the classics.
Today we bring you a beer with wheat that is not wheat! Confused? The name buckwheat is misleading and in reality this “pseudo-cereal” is not a cousin of wheat and not even a cereal. It is a seed, being closer to rhubarb. While not totally foreign to the use in beer, it’s more commonly used to brew gluten-free beers.

Getting the “Buckwhenator” ?

Now, how are we going to put this in the beer? Some suppliers sell buckwheat as ready-to-use malted cereal, but we have no access to any of that and in the end we end up with raw buckwheat, from the supermarket. After successive investigations on the Internet, books and discussions, we came up with two possible methods, toasting or baking, or rather it should be cooked and then roasted. As we didn’t understand each other, we did both. Half went to the oven to toast, for half an hour at 150ºC. The other half was boiled in water for XX minutes.

Two days earlier a 4.5L starter was made for the initial yeast, at 1.037, resulting in a pitch rate of 2M cells / mL / ° P. This is an essential aspect when making “high-gravity” lagers where the requirements for the amount of yeast are higher than an ale of equal original gravity.

After lots of creativity regarding the brewing process for this beer, involving decoctions, electrical extensions and parallel brews, simplicity ended up speaking louder this time and we opted for a more traditional Hochkurz mash, a regime already preferred by many German brewers.

Adding the cooked Buckwheat.

We ended up making a mixture of approaches to mash the buckwheat. The half that was roasted in the oven, went to the malt mill, the other part that was cooked was added directly in the mash-in phase, along with the rest of the cereals. Small change on the mash regime, we added an intermediate step at 55ºC, like a pseudo cereal-mash, to help mashing the buckwheat.

Kettle filled to the brim, as you would expect for a beer like this. The aroma in the air was fantastic, smelling of nuts and almost reminiscent of the smell of Nutella. We proceed to the various ramps of the mashing process. The electric kettle does what its told so it’s time for lunch. Just to make a pairing and as the rest of buckwheat is not to be thrown out, we borrowed and modified recipe from Receitas Tolerantes, to make tuna and buckwheat cakes.

Mash completed, sparge done. Before we start boiling the wort, time to evaluate the color. Here we like Doppelbocks more to the dark side. Ours was clear, the result of the color deviation of the buckwheat used in our Beersmith’s calculations. The beer density was higher than expected, after all the potential of buckwheat was greater than what we had anticipated. Time to make arrangements. To fine tune the color, we used Sinamar from Weyermann, a natural product, kosher, derived from Carafa malt, which is normally used in Black IPAs. 5gr to get the EBCs to our liking.

As to the density, well, boiling without the blanket around the pot, does not yield the same effect – never forget, don’t do like us – and because of that it was necessary to adjust the final density, thus we chose to boil the wort for two hours, until reaching the desired value. We have no love for time and there was beer to bottle anyway.

Hops the monks did not have much of them or didn’t like to use them and who are we to go against that. A small addition of hops of neutral bitterness, so that the resulting beer is not too sweet. No hop character what we want is the taste of malt. This addition was delayed until we were at the right density on the boil.

For fermentation, the party schedule is slightly different here. Fermentation starts at 11ºC in the cold chamber, after two weeks we start to rise the temperature by 0.5ºC every week until 12ºC, to rest at that level for 1 week. Then rise at 16ºC to encourage elimination of the diacetyl from the fermentation, for 3 days. Cold crash for another couple of days and transfer to a corny keg purged of oxygen. From there on, the laggering phase begins in the coldest freezer possible for 3 to 4 months until it is ready.

Buckwheat Doppelbock

Batch: 18L
Total Cereal 7,47
Original Gravity: 1.080
IBU: 42
Boil Time: 90 minutos


74% – 5.53 kg. Munich I
20% – 1.49 kg. Buckwheat
4% – 0.30 kg. Biscuit
2% – 0.15 kg. Carafa Special II


17 gr. Warrior (leaf, ~17% AA) @ 45 min.


Yeast nutrient @ 5 min.


Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager


Ca: 60
Mg: 3
Na: 36
Cl: 60
SO4: 79
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 1.3


Hochkurz Mash modificado:
Saccharification – 20 min @ 55ºC
Saccharification – 30 min @ 62ºC
Saccharification – 45 min @ 71ºC
Mash Out – 10 min @ 76ºC

pH@45 min 5.42@19.2ºC


Beer transferred to keg and placed to lager in a place where it can really reach low temperatures.


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