Author Topic: 185 Days Until Christmas  (Read 1216 times)

Offline dcb

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185 Days Until Christmas
« on: June 22, 2014, 12:16:09 PM »
I'm gaining confidence by the batch, and would like to try to put something special up to be ready to drink about Christmas time.  My wife and I love Belgians, and pretty much anything with Brett in it.  I'm picturing something like a dubbel, but drier, maybe with some dark fruit notes, and a bit of a complicated funk.

My thought is to modify a recipe I found elsewhere that purports to be similar to Chimay Red, and pitch some Brett into a long secondary.  I have a great place under the stairs in my basement that stays 65 - 68F, so I can put it out of the way and let it work.  I have already made the candy syrup (see http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/20-lb-sugar-jar-yeast-nutrient-114837/) and cannot wait to taste it in a beer.

I would appreciate feedback from those with more experience than I have, especially if you see a potential problem that I've missed.

5.25 gallon batch

8 lb. Belgian Pilsner
2 lb. Munich (20 L)
0.5 lb. Caramunich
0.5 lb. Special B
1.5 lb. homemade candy syrup
1.5 oz. Willamette (3.2% AA) - first wort hop (original recipe called for Tettnanger, but I have something bordering on a fetish for local hops)

WY 1241
Brett l. (WY 5526) in secondary


Offline duboman

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2014, 01:52:02 PM »
I do a Big Belgian Quad for the holidays, 10% and it doesn't last long, start one soon and it'll be great by December
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2014, 01:55:37 PM »
I did a quad secondary on 6 lbs Bing cherries a couple months back. Its lagering till Christmas

Offline Kinetic

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2014, 02:24:03 PM »
I think most of it looks good.  However, I'd use Brett B instead of Brett L.  BL is more horsey, like horse poop.  This comes from a person who likes beer that smells like horse poop.  BB is more cherry pie like and leathery.  I'd also use some late kettle hops.  Willamette would be fine.

Offline Kinetic

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2014, 02:26:25 PM »
You could also use some more caramunich, especially if you are using Brett.

Offline majorvices

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 05:14:50 PM »
+1 to Brett b

Offline dcb

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2014, 08:37:41 PM »
However, I'd use Brett B instead of Brett L.  BL is more horsey, like horse poop.  This comes from a person who likes beer that smells like horse poop.  BB is more cherry pie like and leathery. 

Brett b. would have been my first idea, but reading the Wyeast website, they call out Brett l. as the one with the cherry pie flavor, which is what I'm thinking about: http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain_detail.cfm?ID=147

I'd also use some late kettle hops.  Willamette would be fine.

Thanks-- I had been wondering about that.  Must be an American thing, but I like the little extra aroma that gives.


Offline speed

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2014, 06:33:35 AM »
Personally I would up the base malts, but that's just my opinion. Make it nice and warm for those cold winter nights :)

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2014, 07:35:26 AM »
Brett plus those crystal malts will develop a cherry pie flavor although I'm not sure you'll necessarily hit that flavor profile by Christmas time. My experience is that it can take some time to develop that coveted flavor.
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Offline Kinetic

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2014, 07:43:54 AM »
However, I'd use Brett B instead of Brett L.  BL is more horsey, like horse poop.  This comes from a person who likes beer that smells like horse poop.  BB is more cherry pie like and leathery. 

Brett b. would have been my first idea, but reading the Wyeast website, they call out Brett l. as the one with the cherry pie flavor, which is what I'm thinking about: http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_yeaststrain_detail.cfm?ID=147

I'd also use some late kettle hops.  Willamette would be fine.

Thanks-- I had been wondering about that.  Must be an American thing, but I like the little extra aroma that gives.

Both of them can produce some hints of cherry pie.  Neither of them will make you think you used cherries.  Brett L is the more rustic barnyard of the two.  I think you would be happier with Brett B for this beer. 

Offline erockrph

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 10:19:51 AM »
Brett plus those crystal malts will develop a cherry pie flavor although I'm not sure you'll necessarily hit that flavor profile by Christmas time. My experience is that it can take some time to develop that coveted flavor.

Bingo. You might want to think about brewing this as a Christmas 2015 beer. In my limited experience, Brett flavors take at least a year to get to a significant level, and will continue to amplify over time.
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Offline dcb

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2014, 09:39:55 PM »
For better or worse, this one's in the jug.  I took the suggestions to bump the  CaraMunich and switch to Brett. b.  I brewed it two weeks ago today, with the final recipe being:

9.5 lb   Belgian - Pilsner   (58.9%)
3.5 lb   Belgian - Munich   (21.7%)
1.25 lb   German - CaraMunich II (7.8%)
0.625 lb   Belgian - Special B (3.9%)
1.25 lb   Belgian Candi Sugar - Dark

1 oz. Willamette 60 min
.5oz Delta 60 min

1 oz Willamette 10 min
.5 oz Delta 10 min

Wyeast 1214 primary
Wyeast 5112 (Brett b.) secondary

I increased the recipe volume to 6 gal on brew day, and but had no more Willamette handy, hence the addition of Delta.

OG was 1.073, slightly higher than planned, and today it was at 1.012 when I racked to secondary and pitched the Brett b.  I also bottled a six pack of 12oz bottles so I can taste one in a month and then save the others to compare with the Brett version at various checkpoints later on.  Right now I'm thinking I'll bottle around Thanksgiving, maybe drink some then and cellar the others if I don't get the character I was hoping for.

It was fun to do something for Christmas on a day of sunny, hot summer weather.  Being my first Brett beer, first dubbel, and first beer to put away in anticipation of a season 6 months away, it should be a fun experiment.   Thanks to all who chimed in with suggestions.   

Offline dcb

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2014, 01:00:19 PM »
This batch has been in secondary with Brett for almost two months now.  This morning I crawled under the stairs with a flashlight to make sure the airlock wasn't dry and take a peek.  I was disappointed that there was no pellicle.  Just to verify my understanding: Brett may form a pellicle, but the absence of one is not a reason to worry, correct?

BTW, I bottled a six pack of 12 oz bottles before pitching the Brett and cracked the first one over the weekend.  I found it quite to my liking as it was.   Next task will be to taste it side-by-side with Chimay sometime around Thanksgiving.

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 01:24:20 PM »
I think it sounds good, with or without the Brett. IMO there is nothing better 'round the holidays than a home brewed monk-style Belgian - I keep doing it every year.  Keep us posted !
Jon H.

Offline dcb

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Re: 185 Days Until Christmas
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2014, 12:42:04 PM »
This one is actually looking good for Christmas, though there are a few things about which I'm confused.

To recap, I brewed this on 29 June, OG of 1.073. I kept it at 66F.   On 13 July, it was at 1.012 when bottled 1 gal and racked the rest to secondary and pitched Brett b.  I've kept my hands out of it since then and just today drew the first sample.

First puzzle is that today the SG is... 1.012.  I expected the brett to take it way down.  What's wrong with my thinking.

The cool thing, though, is the difference in taste.  The un-bretted version has distinct banana notes, which are almost too much.   The brett version, though, is delicious.  It's just the faintest bit sour and has a lovely underlying funk (for a Belgian, is that f'Unque?). 

My other question is about the banana in the un-bretted version.  Is that just the yeast, or was it the temp, or???

I'm going to go ahead and bottle this, putting some away for next year.   I'm pretty satisfied with this but will enjoy seeing how it ages.