Episode 185: Ryan Wibby of Wibby Brewing Explores the Possibility in Traditional Lagers

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Cacao nibs in dunkel? American hops in helles? Oats in schwarzbier? For Ryan Wibby, cofounder of the eponymously named brewery in Longmont, Colorado, lager dogma is just the starting point for a flavor-forward approach to brewing that’s inspired by tradition but doesn’t copy it.

In this episode, Wibby walks us through the brewery’s award-winning approach to amber and dark lagers, such as their Moondoor Dunkel and Volksbier Vienna—beers with slight Wibby twists that feel in character for the styles but achieve that result through different means.

Along the way, he discusses:

  • Pushing ABV higher in lagers
  • The contribution of German malts to yeast health
  • Step mashing for effective and clean fermentations
  • Substituting bitterness from cacao nibs for hop bitterness
  • Tactically using vanilla to amplify flavors in imperial lagers
  • Lagering to produce beautiful beer without filtration
  • Playing on the hoppier side of lagers with IPL

And more.

Why should ale brewers have all the fun? Wibby is proving that a flavor focus to lager brewing can make compelling beers, with ingredients and techniques that serve that ultimate goal of flavor rather than drive it.

*This episode is brought to you by: *

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