Illuminator V is on the way

According to the calendar, it’s time to put a lager in the tank—a very special lager. If my award-winning  Illuminator Doppelbock is to be ready for its Fat Tuesday release on Feb. 17, Rock Bottom’s Eric Sorensen and I were meant to get crackin’.

And crack grain we did last Wednesday (followed by steeping it in hot water, boiling the sweet result, and pushing it over to the old fermenter for the yeast to do its noble work). Once again, we tweaked the recipe ever so slightly. This year’s iteration was scaled back to 7.3 percent alcohol by volume (from something light 8.5), and we pulled back our Carafa addition to lighten up the color just a titch (as my old reading teacher Mrs. Jones [who likes beer (especially IPAs) it turns out] would have said back in junior high).

In addition to having the opportunity to try the beer that I once fasted on for 46 days during Lent of 2011, the release party will feature Rock Bottom’s annual crawfish boil as well as my “doppelwort” ice cream for dessert.

Want to join us? The party kicks off at 6 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Rock Bottom, located at 4508 University Avenue in West Des Moines. This shindig is popular, and so it would be wise to call for a reservation at (515) 267-8900.


This year’s batch included Munich 30, Munich 10, Vienna, Melanoidin and Carafa III malts, was hopped with charges of Columbus and Hersbrucker, and started at 20 degrees Plato.

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