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General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: a10t2 on January 13, 2012, 07:04:43 AM

Title: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: a10t2 on January 13, 2012, 07:04:43 AM
I'm getting ready to do a split batch of a Belgian-style Blonde Ale for the new BBR-BYO experiment, and while I love the style, I'm not sure I want to have 10 gal of the base beer on tap. So what would you do with the second batch? I have a source of local wildflower honey, but I'm not opposed to a fruit beer - notwithstanding that nothing's in season. I'm also debating spicing it in one way or more.

What would you do?

FWIW, the base beer will probably be 78% pale malt, 17% Munich 1, 5% CaraVienna. Magnum at 60 min for ~20 IBU, and Wyeast 3787. Any additions will have to be made post-fermentation, to either the fermenter or the keg.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: morticaixavier on January 13, 2012, 07:12:24 AM
I think I would go with spices as you mentioned no fruit in season. a cherry blonde or blueberry would be really good. It's a shame it's not winter. I bet you could find some really cool local wildcrafted fruit to use. Perhaps you know someone who wildcrafts and freezes quantities of barberries or choke cherries. must be some good fruit growing in... CO right?
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: euge on January 13, 2012, 07:27:45 AM
I'm against spices. But that is in most beers. :) Anyway, pepper seems appropriate for some reason. Honey seems like a natural choice but then again I think it's overdone. Fruit is intriguing with 3787. And a blonde ale would showcase fruit well. Like the sound of cherry or maybe even raspberries. Blackberry? Of course then it wouldn't be a blonde ale anymore. Something light maybe peach or apricot.

You could do a braggot. Either add the honey during fermentation or blend in some mead. Just throwing some stuff out there. Brainstorming. You have a lot of options but I think it should stay at it's heart a blonde ale.

Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: narvin on January 13, 2012, 03:16:45 PM
How about a partially refined sugar, or some Agave nectar?  I'm sorry, but a fruity or honey blonde just sounds lame  ;)
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 13, 2012, 03:27:37 PM
I would throw in some D-45 Candi Syrup or one of the other darker ones just to get a comparison on the flavor impact.

I've recently stocked up on some of these and am planning (hoping) to do a similar split batch in the near future.

As far as I am concerned, you cannot have enough Belgian-style ale on tap.

Fruit?  Not my thing, but if you like it go for it.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: dbeechum on January 13, 2012, 03:44:09 PM
I'm with Joe and will regularly add candi-syrup to my second batches to really change things up.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: a10t2 on January 13, 2012, 04:54:06 PM
I do like the idea of using some candi syrup. Do you guys think half a pound in a 5 gal batch would be noticeable? I don't want to bump up the gravity too much.

I also just remembered that I have some Citra, and I'm thinking that would make a terrific dry hop for something like this.

Decisions, decisions...
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 13, 2012, 05:10:13 PM
I can't say for sure, but I think 1/2 pound of would be noticeable.  Especially in a blonde.

I've not used any of it yet so I'm just guessing. 

I don't think the clear syrup will lend any more flavor than just using simple table sugar but perhaps it would.

Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: jeffy on January 13, 2012, 05:29:22 PM
I do like the idea of using some candi syrup. Do you guys think half a pound in a 5 gal batch would be noticeable? I don't want to bump up the gravity too much.

I also just remembered that I have some Citra, and I'm thinking that would make a terrific dry hop for something like this.

Decisions, decisions...

I doubt a half pound of sugar would do much for color or flavor, but on the other hand I really like hoppy Belgian ales.  Go with the Citra.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: morticaixavier on January 13, 2012, 05:48:35 PM
you could go a little crazy with it, add olives and olive juice and call it a dirty blonde
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: euge on January 13, 2012, 05:53:34 PM
you could go a little crazy with it, add olives and olive juice and call it a dirty blonde

 :P

I was thinking about the spices and the yeast being used. How about a small amount of cardamom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamom)?
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: narvin on January 13, 2012, 06:51:14 PM
A half pound of the dark syrup would up the SRM by almost 4, so it would be noticeable in color at least.  I would be surprised if flavor didn't also come through.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: dbeechum on January 13, 2012, 07:11:47 PM
In one of my Zymurgy articles I did a recipe split that I love to pieces.

1 10g batch of Saison Wheat base, full boil with a Magnum bittering charge.

Pull a small amount of wort, add bottle of dark candi to it and boil for 10 minutes while chilling into the carboy.

Stop the flow, add the boiled candi syrup wort and shake to incorporate.

In the kettle threw in 2 oz of Citra to the remain 5ish gallons, rewhirlpool and steep for 10 minutes.

Chill into a second carboy.

Two very different beers from the one batch.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 13, 2012, 07:22:45 PM
Drew - have you used the clear syrup?

Does it add anything flavor-wise?

I'm tempted to give it a try but sugar is just sooooo much more cost effective.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: dbeechum on January 13, 2012, 08:06:14 PM
I don't notice any strong difference between the syrup and the sugar as long as I have healthy yeast in the mix.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 13, 2012, 08:18:14 PM
Cool.  Thanks.  That's what I expected.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: a10t2 on January 14, 2012, 04:37:58 AM
In the kettle threw in 2 oz of Citra to the remain 5ish gallons, rewhirlpool and steep for 10 minutes.

I really like that idea, but whatever I do has to be done post-fermentation. The more I think about it, the more I'm liking the idea of dry-hopping with Citra.

I was thinking about the spices and the yeast being used. How about a small amount of cardamom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamom)?

I did a cardamom tripel not too long ago. Wasn't a big fan, frankly.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: positiverpr on January 14, 2012, 12:41:38 PM
go very easy on the cardamom if you use it. otherwise you'll be sampling it this time next year to see if its drinkable yet(about 3 months here).  alot of times i will add 1-3 pounds of honey or 2 kinds of honey at flameout to belgian blonds. of course it serves as your simple sugar and dries the beer out but the honey leaves a great "sweet" flavor.  i've countered that sweetness with a small amount of oak for a short time. the oak tannins can match well to that sweetness. of course if your adding alot of honey you'll want to add it after the yeast has consumed some of the less simple sugars although i've never had a beer stall from adding up to 50% at flameout. another thing i'll do is to pitch whatever belgian yeast that i'm gonna use for 5 gallons and use a 1 or 2 strain 100% brett pitch on the other 5 gallons.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: chumley on January 19, 2012, 04:35:07 PM
I'd ferment the split batch with a different yeast.  Lots of Belgian yeasts out there, and while 3787 is a great yeast, it would be interesting to compare it to one of the newer releases, like Flemish Golden 3739 or Belgian Stout 1581.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 19, 2012, 04:37:31 PM
I did this recently with 10 gallons of dubbel.  I split it between Chimay yeast and Ardennes.

I have learned that I do not like Ardennes yeast in a dubbel.

It's not a bad beer, but the Chimay batch is soooo much tastier.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: a10t2 on January 19, 2012, 05:42:41 PM
I'd ferment the split batch with a different yeast.

That's what I would do if I could, but it would render the tasting results moot. I think I'm going to go with the Citra dry-hop in one half.

I brewed this up this morning before work. Everything went well except for the getting up at 5:30 part.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: beer_crafter on January 19, 2012, 07:25:48 PM
I would Funk that S up with some nice brett or a lambic blend.  Make it nasty. 
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: Jimmy K on January 19, 2012, 07:30:46 PM
Drew - have you used the clear syrup?

Does it add anything flavor-wise?

I'm tempted to give it a try but sugar is just sooooo much more cost effective.

I read a few years ago that ommegang uses switched from clear syrup to sugar to corn sugar and they found no change in flavor.
Title: Re: How to Doctor a Belgian Blonde
Post by: bluesman on January 19, 2012, 07:40:50 PM
A little late to the party here...I also like the dark candy syrup idea, but in addition steep some carafa and special B to get some extra color and slight flavor impact. The other option is Sinamar.