Story of Doom's Bell

"What happens if we use this as a bittering hop instead?" That's the question that started the first sketch of what is today's version of Doom's Bell. This is a story of Hops (and Rock'n'roll).

5/30/20232 min read

Mid 2021, our brewer Alex cracked open a homebrew - a simple single malt, single hop IPA that he had brewed to get more familiar with the New Zealand all-star hop Motueka. After a few sips of the ale, Alex really liked the result, but couldn't quite drop the idea of testing the Motueka hop as a bittering addition instead of a more aroma-focused one and see how much punch you could get out of the New Zealander.

Fast forward a month and there was a new version brewed: One where all the hops went into the kettle as soon as the boil started to make it as bitter as you could instead of near the end like the first version. This brew was cracking: Punchy with an orange zest-like kick, a little grapefruit, round, and squishy.

There was a touch of Belgian Wit character to the beer that its creator really liked, but the malt bill needed to be switched up from a base pale ale to a little lighter and softer to complement the big orange flavors.

Another round of brewing, tinkering, and recipe adjusting later, and out came a case of new bottles to be opened and analyzed. This time around the body and the aromatics worked together in harmony. The lighter pilsner malt, wheat, and oats mingled well with the hop. Now it could really be mistaken for a more modern Belgian Wit. But, there was something lacking. The brew was great as is, but it lacked a little depth. Why not add some aroma hops back in?

A 4th round of brewing was done this time with a spicey addition of Amarillo and Mosaic (plus a little more Motueka, because why not) to give the beer a nice finishing touch. Peach, citrus fruit, and white flowers from the new hop additions complemented the already floral and orange-heavy (almost marmalade-like) bitter base of the beer. The final touch that was added to the mix was the use of yeast: With more hops involved Alex wanted to try out a yeast that would make the fruity beer really come to its own and tested Lallemand's Verdant yeast. It was a fantastic addition.

The editions before were good, but now we had something great. Complex, but easy-going. Serious, but sessionable - For a 4.7% ABV beer it sure has a lot going on. We couldn't really call it a Belgian Wit anymore, and it didn't use any Belgian yeast so calling it a Belgian IPA wouldn't be honest. We went with White IPA since that fits almost 100% perfectly to what Doom's Bell is, both in flavor and actual style.

Speaking of Doom's Bell, where did this name come from? The gang at Churcheim has a fascination for Lovecraftian Cthulu-universe and the feeling of despair and inevitable doom that is the fabric of the stories Lovecraft weaved together. As the roleplaying nerds we are, we cooked up a story: One where a cult gets tricked into thinking they are going to save the world by ringing a church bell, just to start the apocalypse instead.

An evening of heavy listening to the Black Sabbath song The Wizard ("Without warning, a wizard walks by Casting his shadow, weaving his spell, Long grey cloak, tinkling bell") while brewing might have been a contributing factor to the name too, but that night was too wet and blurry for memories.

We are not done tinkering with the recipe and building on the story of Doom's Bell. We are looking forward to sharing the story (and beer) with you 🖤

The version of Doom's Bell that went out to taste testers.
The version of Doom's Bell that went out to taste testers.