Aslan Brewing of Bellingham recently announced the release of 3rd Order Bock, a very special beer available in bottles at both Aslan locations. Here’s the release announcement.
3rd Order Bock
Rustic Bock Lager
•Available only in limited 750ml bottles
•$18 per bottle // no limit
•Available at the Aslan brewpub and the Aslan Depot
Originally all lager beer was brewed only in the winter and stored in oak casks, which were tucked away in caves for long periods of time. Coolships were even employed to cool wort. In our era of brewing these are techniques you might only associate with spontaneous fermentation and beer that has closer ties to Belgium rather than Germany. It really wasn’t until the dawn of the 19th century, with advances in yeast isolation at the Carlsberg Brewery and the invention of mechanical refrigeration, that lager brewing really began its diversion to what we now know.
When it came time last fall for us to embark on brewing a Bock style beer, we wanted to paint a picture closer to its origins, rather than replicate its modern image. Our process began with a single malt, Continental Munich from Bamberg, and a single hop, Mittlefruh, grown in the Hallertau region. The mash lasted over 4 hours, starting with an acid rest and ending with a single decoction. Primary fermentation commenced for 9 days at 48 degrees with our house lager strain.
On the 10th morning we racked the still-fermenting beer into oak casks, which were then left in a covered, unconditioned airspace from November 17th, 2017 through March 4th, 2018. The average temperature during that time was about 40 degrees. The oak was fairly neutral and clean. At the end of the lagering period this beer had no brett character and was void of all lactic acid bacteria. Electing to forgo inoculating with bacteria, yet wanting to give this beer the historically described “pleasant acidity,” led us to naturally carbonate in the bottle with Champagne yeast, which delivers slight acid notes.
The character of this beer is surprising, a fathom in depth of malt character, slightly mineral, a touch of oak, and a very unique acidity. This beer was bottled on March 6th and should see great potential for aging if stored properly.