Weyermann® Isaria 1924® in the Brewhouse: Ecliptic Brewing Maibock
Isaria 1924® is a new heirloom malt from Weyermann® first developed in Bavaria in 1912 and approved for commercial use in 1924, making it the oldest certified German brewing barley variety. Isaria was very popular with German brewers during first half of the 20th century, contributing its genes to many successful descendants. Now, thanks to the Weyermann team, 21st century brewers can recreate a taste of Bavarian brewing history.
One such brewery is Ecliptic Brewing of Portland, OR, who brewed a Maibock using Isaria 1924®. When we visited Ecliptic, Head Brewer Phil Roche told us: “When I first read about Isaria I was excited. We’ve used the Barke® malts before, and then to see them come out with another heirloom barley variety – I thought ‘that’s really cool, I want to try it!’”
Part of Ecliptic’s rotating Moon Room Series, the 16.5° P Maibock was brewed with 100% Isaria 1924® using a single-temp infusion mash. The beer pours a deep reddish-gold with a persistent foam stand. Phil shared brew day notes plus highlights from Ecliptic’s tasting panel while pouring us samples: “Rated 8 out of 9, lautered fine, attenuated as expected, lots of fresh bread with a touch of honey, flavor is mouthcoating but doesn’t linger, our brewers love it.”
In his own words and with glass in hand, Phil described the malt’s flavor as “deep bread, a slightly darker bread … lots of honey character, but not cloying or sweet.” Although in the same color range as a Vienna malt, Phil noted that “with Vienna I get more toasty and biscuity, whereas Isaria has a bready sweetness. It goes well with the slight alcohol edge you can get in a Maibock. I think it adds a lot of body to the beer, too.”
The Moon Room Series Maibock was Ecliptic’s first outing with Isaria 1924®, but Phil already plans to incorporate it heavily into the grist for an upcoming Oktoberfest. What other beers would he use it in?
“I try to make Altbier whenever I can, it’s one of my favorite styles, and I’d be willing to try Isaria in an Altbier. Maltier lagers like Bock and Doppelbock, obviously. Might be nice with some Rauchmalt – smoked beer with Isaria, the sweetness and the smoky, that might be fun.”
As we were finishing our Maibocks, Phil shared this parting thought: “One thing I’ve found brewing lagers, it seems like the simpler you keep them the better they are. They taste more complex the simpler you keep them, which seems counterintuitive. You just gotta let the ingredients show what they can do.”