|5G Stoned Steinbier is the first|
beer brewed under the Schmulz label.
As readers of this blog know, some of the most interesting (or perhaps "weird") beers in Israel have been brewed by Birateinu, the Jerusalem Beer Center. Pickle juice beer, blueberry waffle beer, Irish apple cake beer and Bloody Mary beer have been some of the offerings. The guiding hand behind these brews has been Birateinu partner Shmuel (Schmulz) Naky.
More recently, Schmulz has been producing beers under his own label. "I wanted to make beers that I could do by myself," he told me, "without input from other people."
If the Birateinu beers are "Baroque," as I have called them, the beers from Schmulz are definitely "Rococo."
His 5G Stoned Imperial Roasted Mushrooms Steinbier, for example, is a 10.2% alcohol steinbier made with mushrooms. In fact, the label admits that, "Some mushrooms may have been hurt during the making of this beer."
|The 5G Stoned Steinbier label depicts|
"The Beard" himself, the hot stones,
some mushrooms, and your guess what else.
Schmulz has recreated the steinbier (stone beer), a method used to brew beer in wooden tubs. Since it was impossible to light a fire under such vessels, the brewers would heat large stones in fire until they were red hot and then put them into the pre-fermented mash. The stones turned it into a roiling cauldron, achieving the same effect as boiling the mash with fire -- but with added value.
Once the stones cooled, they were reheated and put back in the pot, each time gathering a coating of caramelized sugar, smoke and soot. The beer took on these flavors.
Shmulz used this traditional method for his 5G Stoned Steinbier, heating and reheating granite stones over a 10 hour period, at the Hatch Brewery in Jerusalem. "The layers of caramel added flavors of char, raisins and toasted marshmallows," he said.
|How do you lower red hot stones into the beer?|
In addition, Schmulz put in two different varieties of mushrooms at different stages of the brewing, along with a touch of salt. "These gave the beer earthy and mineral characters. I was looking for a 'mushroom pie' quality."
As they say, the proof is in the tasting, at least for me and my drinking partner Daniël Boerstra.
The 5G Stoned Steinbier poured out very dark brown, all but opaque. We got a rich assortment of aromas: licorice, brown sugar, chocolate, caramel and smoke. (Daniël narrowed it down to "smoked fish.") We would be excused if we thought a smoked Imperial Stout was in our glass.
The flavors replicated all of those aromas, plus some dark fruit, perhaps raisins and plums. Daniël added that the range of flavors was "like those expensive barrel-aged beers."
We agreed that 5G Stoned was similar to an Imperial Stout -- a very good one! "For a beer like this, you can wake me up," Daniël concluded.
As to the mushrooms, we could not detect any flavors, but perhaps they did add some earthy (or "umami") tastes. The smooth and soft finish could also have been mushroom induced.
If Schmulz were playing baseball, his first time at bat was a home run.
5G Stoned Steinbier is available at Birateinu in Jerusalem, or may be ordered from their online store at this link.
(Keep your eyes on Israel Brews and Views for my post on Schmulz's second beer, The Last Brunch.)