Author Topic: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?  (Read 1668 times)

Offline rbowers

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
    • View Profile
Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:53:55 AM »
Looking to brew up a belgian stout to be ready for fall/winter next year.  Aiming for something along the lines of Great Divide Belgian Yeti.  Here is what I have for the malt bill:

~75 % efficiency
16lb Belgian Pale Malt
1 lb Black Patent
1lb chocolate malt
1 lb chocolate wheat
0.25 lb special B

*May consider adding 1lb of the D180 candi sugar syrup and cut back on the pale malt a bit

OG ~1.088
FG ~1.020 or so
Single Infusion with a mashout, goal temp ~152F x 90 min

Hops: I'm not sure where to go here.  I don't make a lot of stouts so it is not familiar ground for me.  I typically use magnum or warrior for bittering.  Target maybe 60-70 IBU for this batch.  Are late additions appropriate and if so what type?  I'm open to all suggestions. I feel like a lot of the flavor if this beer is going to come from the yeast and malt, hops are mainly there for bittering balance.  Next topic: yeast

Obviously if its a belgian stout the yeast is going to belgian.  I have a vial of WL 550 Belgian Ale Yeast, will use a large starter given the high OG.  anybody had other success stories with alternative yeast?  I know wyeast makes a blegian stout strain but its seasonal.  I'm open to any and all thoughts on this one.
Primary:
Nothing

Secondary:
Belgian pale

Lagering:
Dortmunder

Conditioning:
RIS
Belgian RIS

On Tap:
Nothing

Bottles
Flanders Red

Online erockrph

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2722
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • Critical Tastings
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 11:39:37 AM »
I've never done a Belgian Stout, so I dont have a lot of specifics for you. I say go for it with the D-180, though. Even though Belgian yeast is what ultimately makes a brew "Belgian", the dark Candi Syrups and Special B definitely add a degree of "Belgianness" as well.

For hops, I'd probably want something relatively clean and neutral. I'd probably go with all my IBU's at 60 minutes from either Magnum or something noble. Between the roast malts and the Belgian yeast, I think you have enough going on as it is. Adding late hops may just get in the way and muddy things up.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2488
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 11:44:31 AM »
I goofed up late last year and pitched the Unibroue yeast into my strong stout.  It's actually pretty good.  The OG was a little higher than you're shooting for, but the grain bill is similar.  I also add chocolate, molasses and honey but in your case I think the D-180 would be a nice addition.

It was never intended to be a Belgian-style beer, so the hops are all Fuggles and EKG.  It's not too heavily hopped anyway.

Typically with my Belgians I use a lot of Styrian Goldings.  Some Strisselspalt.  Sometimes whatever noble hops I have on hand.  I've used magnum for bittering.  I think I may have used nugget in my last blonde.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline redbeerman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1739
  • On the banks of the mighty Susquehanna
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 10:11:11 AM »
I goofed up late last year and pitched the Unibroue yeast into my strong stout.  It's actually pretty good.  The OG was a little higher than you're shooting for, but the grain bill is similar.  I also add chocolate, molasses and honey but in your case I think the D-180 would be a nice addition.

It was never intended to be a Belgian-style beer, so the hops are all Fuggles and EKG.  It's not too heavily hopped anyway.

Typically with my Belgians I use a lot of Styrian Goldings.  Some Strisselspalt.  Sometimes whatever noble hops I have on hand.  I've used magnum for bittering.  I think I may have used nugget in my last blonde.

I've had DuPont's stout and it is bone dry.  I guess it just depends on what kind of yeast you use.  The character will vary.
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2488
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 10:21:26 AM »
There's a fair amount of crystal in my stout.  It was conceived as a big, sweet beer with some alcohol bite (after my dog who was big, sweet and known to bite me).  I've always used Irish ale yeast, but got careless/distracted at pitching time.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline snowtiger87

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 405
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 02:37:40 PM »
I would take out the black patent and subsitute Blackprinz or Caraffa 2. You could also try Midnight Wheat instead of regular chocolate wheat. I agree some Special B can add to the complexity.

I did not care for the Belgian Stout strain that Wyeast came out with. Not very attenuative. Not very "Belgiany" either. I used WLP 550 on my last Belgian Stout.

With the dark malts in the grain bill the dark syrup may get wasted. I would just add some regular table sugar if you want to dry it out a bit.

My last Belgian Stout with a similar starting gravity fermented down to 1.010
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank

Fermenting: McChouffe clone, Samiclaus clone
Conditioning: Belgian Tripel, Barrel Aged Baltic Porter - in sherry barrel, Belgain Easter Ale
On tap: CAP, Dortmunder Export, IIPA, Dubbel Chocolate Stout, Wee Heavy, Whiskey barrel aged Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter
Newly Bottled:

Offline rbowers

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 06:19:37 PM »
Yeah the midnight wheat was something I was considering, available locally.  without the black patent will it have enough roasty character to it just from the other grains as the caraffa won't add much?  On the plus side it would be awfully smooth with the caraffa 2.  Special B I like but need it restrained- my baltic porter had a good dose of it in it and it was overpowering.  I'm hoping to have the final gravity around 1.02, maybe a bit less. The sugar just sounded interesting and I thought it would add some more complexity.
Still confused on late hopping these type beers- does it come thru at all, and if not, why do it.  Right now I am planning on 2oz magnum at 60min to bring it to around 70IBU.
 Thanks for the suggestions. 
Primary:
Nothing

Secondary:
Belgian pale

Lagering:
Dortmunder

Conditioning:
RIS
Belgian RIS

On Tap:
Nothing

Bottles
Flanders Red

Online erockrph

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2722
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • Critical Tastings
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 07:08:49 PM »
Still confused on late hopping these type beers- does it come thru at all, and if not, why do it.  Right now I am planning on 2oz magnum at 60min to bring it to around 70IBU.

Honestly, your single addition of magnum will be fine in this style. You already have a lot going on from the roast malt and yeast, so no need to muddle things up.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1036
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 02:38:40 PM »
It really depends on what you are trying to develop in the flavor profile. There are some Belgian stouts that are smoother than the typical stout and that's because they rely on the dehusked grains, dark wheat malts, dark candy sugars, chocolate malt and dark crystal malts for color and flavor. Boulevard's Dark Truth is a good example of this style. Others are more typical of an English/Irish/American stout with more roast character but some special B and/or dark candy sugar to make it more "Belgian" with the help of the yeast. I think the Great Divide version is more roasty but not quite as roasty as the regular Yeti. The regular Yeti is made with a good amount of rye but I'm not sure if it's also in the Belgian variant.

If you decide to go down a more roasty path I would choose a Belgian strain that is lighter on the phenolic character and more into the fruit. For my tastes I find phenolics do not pair well with a lot of roast character. The fruity esters will carry through better and provide the obvious Belgian character. With the smoother variant you could go either way.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline rbowers

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2013, 04:34:16 PM »
Alright this is where I am at thus far:

6 Gal Batch, 75 % Eff

14.5 lb Belgian Pale
1.5 lb Midnight Wheat
1.5 lb Chocolate Malt
1 lb Carafa II
1 lb D180 Belgian Candy Syrup
0.25 lb Special B

Hops
Herkules 14.5 % : 2 oz at 60 min- these hops are new to me but I am told very smooth, similar to magnum

Yeast:
1.8L Starter of Belgian Ale Yeast (WL550)

Mash at 153F x 60 min
Mash out to 167F

Ferment 68F x 3 days then raise to 72F till done

I have not used the midnight wheat before.  I'm looking for overall very smooth with touches of roast from the Carafa and midnight Wheat.  I am forgoing the late hop additions as I don't see a huge point in their presence for this beer.  Additional Suggestions?
Primary:
Nothing

Secondary:
Belgian pale

Lagering:
Dortmunder

Conditioning:
RIS
Belgian RIS

On Tap:
Nothing

Bottles
Flanders Red

Offline snowtiger87

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 405
    • View Profile
Re: Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 12:31:08 PM »
Looks good to me. Its gonna be BLACK !  8)
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank

Fermenting: McChouffe clone, Samiclaus clone
Conditioning: Belgian Tripel, Barrel Aged Baltic Porter - in sherry barrel, Belgain Easter Ale
On tap: CAP, Dortmunder Export, IIPA, Dubbel Chocolate Stout, Wee Heavy, Whiskey barrel aged Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter
Newly Bottled: