Author Topic: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help  (Read 532 times)

Offline WDE97

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Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« on: April 08, 2014, 08:20:02 AM »
I'm brewing an 18 gallon batch of Belgian Dark Strong for aging in a 15gal whiskey barrel. My main questions would be about specialty grain use. Should I use more/less, different malts? I know simple is usually better, but I just can't seem bring myself to drop anything. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

18-E Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Size: 18.0 gal
Efficiency: 65-70.0%
Attenuation: 75-80.0%

OG: 1.103
FG: 1.021
Color: 23.1
Alcohol: 10.9%
IBU: 21.6

Ingredients:
50.0 lb Pilsner Malt
15.0 lb Vienna Malt
2.0 lb Caramunich® TYPE I
1.5 lb Aromatic Malt
1.0 lb Special B Malt
0.5 lb Melanoidin Malt
3.0 lb Belgian Candi Syrup - Dark (Dark Candi, Inc)
3.0 lb Belgian Candi Syrup D-180 (CandiSyrup.com)
6.0 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
Yeast slurry containing 1/3 each of:
 WYeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II™
 WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity
 WYeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale™

Mash:  90min at 151F.
Boil:  90min.
Cool to 68F, oxygenate and pitch yeast.
Hold at 68 for 3 days. Let temp rise to 72 and hold for 2 weeks.
Cool to 62 (temp of barrel room) and rack into barrel.
Save leftover for topping up, then bottle the rest for comparison w/ barrel aged beer.
Robert H.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.    - Steven Wright

On tap: Flander's Red, Scottish 80, ESB, RIS, Belgian Dark Strong, Barrel Aged BDS, Belgian Pale, Northwest Pale Ale.

Fermenting: Flander's Red, Hard Cider.

Offline svejk

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Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 09:47:46 AM »
After brewing several BDS versions over the years, I have settled on a strong preference for recipes that keep the specialty grains to a minimum, or even skip them entirely.  It really comes down to your preference since the category has a lot of latitude for the strengths of different flavors.  One very enlightening test would be to taste St Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10 side by side.  If you prefer St B, then I'd recommend significantly reducing (or even eliminating) the specialty malts, and if you prefer Rochefort then you could probably leave them as is.

One other thing I'll add is my impression that beers with pronounced speciatly grain contributions will probably score better in competitions, but beers with minimal specialty grains will be much more drinkable on their own.

Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 10:16:53 AM »
I like the grist. I've used simpler grists for BDSA and grists similar to this one, and loved both. Personally, I'd leave it as is and mash more like 149 or 150F for 90 minutes, to help with attenuation (given the specialty malts). I'm interested in the yeast mix - have you used it before ?  I've blended 1762 and 3787 before in a Quad, but never with something else.
Jon H.

Offline WDE97

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Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 10:44:50 AM »
Thanks for the feedback!

I definitely agree with keeping the speciality grain to a minimum. I may cut my quantities back a bit, but like the flavor they provide. I brewed a similar recipe (without the candi syrup) a few months ago and liked the flavor profile even though it was quite young. Unfortunately, I won't have the opportunity to try either of the beers svejk mentioned. That would be a good plan before I brew this again in the future.

HoosierBrew, I haven't done a blend with these three yeasts before, but a guy in our brewclub did a BDS with a similar blend and it was fantastic. It was NHC worthy after only 2 months. We made him bottle off a couple six packs for entering next year. I had those three yeasts available after we did a club Belgian yeast experiment, so I had a full yeast cake of each. After tasting the one guy's beer, I thought I would give blending a try. Thanks for the suggestion of lowering my mash temp. I was wavering on that as well. I'll shoot for 150F.
Robert H.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.    - Steven Wright

On tap: Flander's Red, Scottish 80, ESB, RIS, Belgian Dark Strong, Barrel Aged BDS, Belgian Pale, Northwest Pale Ale.

Fermenting: Flander's Red, Hard Cider.

Offline svejk

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Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 11:10:35 AM »
Another data point that might be worth considering is targeting a final gravity and letting that determine your OG to get the right ABV.  St Bernardus has a FG of 1.010 which means that an OG of 1.090 will be 10.5%.  Since you'll be barrel aging this beer, I can see bumping up the OG to stand up to it, but for general BDS purposes, I thought it was an interesting data point that St Bernardus finishes so dry.

I'm also intrigued by the blend of yeasts you mentioned and will try that on my next attempt.  One of the best examples of BDS that I've had from a US craft brewery is from Pfriem and it turns out they use the Leuven strain of yeast.  This isn't available to homebrewers currently, but maybe a blend will get close.  Here is an article that discusses the Pfriem beer:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21902-permalink.html

Offline WDE97

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Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 11:22:23 AM »
Another data point that might be worth considering is targeting a final gravity and letting that determine your OG to get the right ABV.  St Bernardus has a FG of 1.010 which means that an OG of 1.090 will be 10.5%.  Since you'll be barrel aging this beer, I can see bumping up the OG to stand up to it, but for general BDS purposes, I thought it was an interesting data point that St Bernardus finishes so dry.

I'm also intrigued by the blend of yeasts you mentioned and will try that on my next attempt.  One of the best examples of BDS that I've had from a US craft brewery is from Pfriem and it turns out they use the Leuven strain of yeast.  This isn't available to homebrewers currently, but maybe a blend will get close.  Here is an article that discusses the Pfriem beer:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21902-permalink.html

Good point. I was wondering if the 1.021 FG was a bit too high. I definitely don't want it to be too sweet, but need some sweetness to balance out the barrel character. I might adjust it down to shoot for 1.015-1.018 FG.
Robert H.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.    - Steven Wright

On tap: Flander's Red, Scottish 80, ESB, RIS, Belgian Dark Strong, Barrel Aged BDS, Belgian Pale, Northwest Pale Ale.

Fermenting: Flander's Red, Hard Cider.

Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2014, 11:25:51 AM »

 St Bernardus has a FG of 1.010 which means that an OG of 1.090 will be 10.5%.  I thought it was an interesting data point that St Bernardus finishes so dry.





Wow - I would not have thought that low. Good info. But that's why I like to mash a quad (or any BIG beer) as low as I recommended - the maltiness doesn't go anywhere, it's just not as sweet, ie., more drinkable.

Jon H.