Beer Styles: CA: Port Brewing’s Hot Rocks Lager “Stein Bier”. How it’s done.

Most of you whom read this and other beer related websites understand the dynamics that go into creating a beer. Whether it was a brewery tour or time spent at home making your first batch of home brew, the practice is nothing new to you.

But did you know that in the early days of Germanic brewing that they used hot stones to produce their lagers?

Yesterday Tomme Arthur, co-owner of Lost Abbey & Port Brewing, released this behind the scenes video to show you how he made Hot Rocks Lager.

Brief History of Stein Bier

“Steinbier means "stone beer" in German. It got its name from a technique of boiling wort in the brew kettle by dropping super-heated stones into the kettle. In the old days, many brew kettles were made of wood and obviously could not be direct-fired. The hot-stone method, therefore, was the only way the wort could be brought to a boil. Beer boiled this way also tasted different from "normal" beer, because the rocks, when dropped into the brew, scorched and caramelized some of the malt sugars. The result was a smokey-tasting deposit that literally sugar-coated the rocks.

Once the beer was strained from the brew kettle into the fermenter and had cooled down, the coated rocks were removed from the kettle, too, and dropped into the fermenting beer. There, the yeast made short shrift of the sugar coating. The result was a beer with a pleasantly smoky flavour and a slightly sweet, malt-candy-like finish. Steinbiers are now very rare indeed, because few breweries bother with this labor-intensive and dangerous method of beer-making. In the old days, many Steinbiers were brewed as ales, but nowadays, they are all lagers. Perhaps the best known of these is the Rauchenfelser Steinbier, which is occasionally avilable in North America.” –source, German Beer Institute

About Hot Rocks Lager

Made in the German “Stein Bier” tradition, this smooth, robust dark lager is brewed with the addition of glowing hot granite to the kettle.

The addition of these Hot Rocks results in a vigorous “super boil” of sorts that caramelizes the sugars in the wort lending toffee, smoky caramel flavors to the beer that wouldn’t present themselves in a normal boil.

The color is a deep, ruby brown with streak of red and the aroma an incredibly inviting one of dark caramel, chocolate and toffee.

The flavor is a robust dark lager with layer upon layer of caramel sweetness with just enough hopiness and malt to prevent it from being cloying. The finish is sweet with toffee and cocoa notes and a faint dryness.

Hops – German Magnum and Tettnanger
Body – Medium with a silky and near robust mouth feel

Original Gravity – 1.062
ABV – 6.2%

Availability – Early Spring

Find this on the shelves in the Northwest at your local grocer or alehouse. As always if you don’t see if on the shelf or on draft, ask your server or grocer to get some!


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