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

It’s not hard to find the hardcore traditionalists in the world of lager-focused breweries, but Colorado’s Wibby Brewing takes an unusual approach, mashing up cold-fermented dogma with flavor-first experimentation.

Jamie Bogner May 3, 2021 - 6 min read

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

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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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This episode is brought to you by Crisp Scottish Pale Ale Malt. Crisp Scottish Pale Ale Malt is the workhorse of many a brewery and is at home in a variety of beer styles. Crisp sources the lowest-nitrogen spring barley from farmers in Fife up to Moray. During malting, high cast moistures and a balance of optimal germination time and temperature results in an even, well-modified malt with a rich color and balanced sweet, malt flavor which is ideally suited to ale brewing. Visit BSGCraftbrewing.com for more information on Crisp Scottish Pale Ale Malt, or call 1-800-374-2739.

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].