Author Topic: tafelbier  (Read 1457 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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tafelbier
« on: February 16, 2015, 11:27:42 AM »
As a Belgian I am sadly familiar with the swill that Piedboeuf (InBev) tries to push as tafelbier (table beer, very low on alcohol). Now, in Experimental Homebrewing there's a recipe for tafelbier that looks interesting, as it uses a simple decoction technique that I have not yet tried, and contains some black pepper.

Has anyone tried out this recipe? I might want to brew this for the summer (water is for fish), but I want to be sure that I won't be wasting my time on something that I wouldn't even want to give to the dog that I don't have.

Yes, Drew, you will say it's awesome, but this time you don't count.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2015, 05:08:26 PM »
I have played around with a few recipes but with limited success. It's something I have been planning to experiment again with soon.

And you should get a dog.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2015, 06:52:30 PM »
Yes. I should get a dog. And walk him. And play with him. Instead of being obsessed with making and drinking beer. And mead. And roasting coffee. Here boy, come here! Sit! Attaboy!
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Offline cascadesrunner

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2015, 07:21:23 PM »
I have played around with a few recipes but with limited success. It's something I have been planning to experiment again with soon.

When you say playing around with can you elaborate?  I have made the swing to lower octance and this beer intrigues me.  I would assume that as with anything you put "table" in front of that your expectations should be adjusted accordingly. 
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2015, 07:53:45 PM »
Yes, Drew, you will say it's awesome, but this time you don't count.

Well, I never... :)

But I will share the anecdote that Schoolhouse was the first one of my beers that I saw out in the wild being brewed by others. So far everyone that I've met who makes it raves about it and suggests doing it as a double batch.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2015, 09:44:17 PM »
Yes, Drew, you will say it's awesome, but this time you don't count.

Well, I never... :)

But I will share the anecdote that Schoolhouse was the first one of my beers that I saw out in the wild being brewed by others. So far everyone that I've met who makes it raves about it and suggests doing it as a double batch.

Maybe so, but you also wrote that the Flemish government started a plan back in 2001 to introduce tafelbier into Belgian schools, and that is definitely not true. What did happen is that a club of beer lovers talked to a number of schools in one province, and persuaded a couple of them to try out the tafelbier. Nothing came of it, as far as I know. Still, back in the old days children used to drink tafelbier at home all the time. And it's still sold in supermarkets, so the habit may still exist. I know of at least one family where the children drink it...
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Offline majorvices

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2015, 10:46:13 PM »
I have played around with a few recipes but with limited success. It's something I have been planning to experiment again with soon.

When you say playing around with can you elaborate?  I have made the swing to lower octance and this beer intrigues me.  I would assume that as with anything you put "table" in front of that your expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

I would have to look up my notes but the best ones were very rustic, reddish low gravity ales with saison yeast, and bottle conditioned. I will look it up over the next couple days and see what I can find. They were good, just not something I had spent the time perfecting.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2015, 05:34:44 AM »
Maybe so, but you also wrote that the Flemish government started a plan back in 2001 to introduce tafelbier into Belgian schools, and that is definitely not true....

Yeah, when I first developed the recipe everything I had read up to that point were little blip pieces framed around "hurf durf, official program, school's beer, getting rid of soda". So that was definitely my fault for not going  back and doing more research on the program when writing up the style.

Having said that- the schoolhouse recipe is a paler beer that really does derive an extraordinary amount of character from the wort treatment.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2015, 08:50:04 AM »
What we know in Belgium as Tafelbier really is a thinly veiled attempt to get kids to drink beer. Familiarise them with the concept of beer, that kind of trick. Under the pretense that way back when, everybody, young and old, drank low-alcohol beer, Belgium's tradition of sugary-sweet tafelbier persists, even though nobody really likes it.

On the other hand, many of the Trappists have their "Extra" incarnation: typically a lower-ABV-than-the-lowest-in-their-range but still decidedly higher than Piefboeuf, and definitely not sugary sweet. Petite Orval and Westmalle Extra come to mind.

Really low abv (1-3% ABV) table beers (discarding traditional Piefboeufy brews) are few and far between in Beglium. The few (and quite recent) releases tend to be complex hyper-sessionables (such as De Struise's Weltmerz-series), which sort of defy the purpose of table beer.
UK's The Kernel seems to have a keen interest in table beers, but I admit I wasn't too blown away by those, despite being markedly not-overly-sweet.

Consider my interest piqued. A good table beer would be nice. Light, flavourful, refreshing. Not sweet. Hoppy, perhaps. Can you post the recipe? I don't have Extreme Brewing although I intend to grab me a copy sometime.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2015, 11:05:56 PM »
Drew Beechum - Maltosefalcons.com
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: tafelbier
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 01:58:17 PM »
Historically, table beer (or small beer) were the result of parti-gyling (or, more correctly, successive mashing).
The same mash would be used to brew a sequence of decreasingly dense worts, with small beer typically being the result of the final, least concentrated wort.

I used the technique a while ago to brew 10 liters of 1.125 SG imperial stout using the limited capacity of my 30 liter mash tun. Using Randy Mosher's tables, I conceived a 1.090 recipe, from which I used the first runnings (50% of the volume of the theorical original brew), which ran up to 1.120. The second runnings turned out to be 1.055. Not too far off the mark.
Had I persevered, I could have brewed a third beer from this, which, if my estimation and feeble excel skills can be trusted, would have amounted to a 1.027 wort. Assuming 80% attenuation, would have made a 2.8% abv small beer.

Mind, I'm glad I didn't. I can imagine that very little maltiness remains after the second runnings, and what with history being, well, in the past, I prefer even my small beer to be a little more flavourful than what I suppose this hypothetical third runnings brew would have become.


But.

Using the same data, I could just as well use the same technique (50/50 split runnings) to brew one 1.044 beer from the first runnings of a theorical OG 1.034 beer, and draw a 1.023 wort from the second runnings.
Again using 80% attenuation, I'd end up with a 4.7% APA and a 2.4% table beer. Of course, I could dilute the second runnings down to whatever I think a table beer should be by sparging longer (risking astringency from the grain bed) or simply adding water to the boil kettle.

I think I'll give this a shot next time I brew something lower-ish on the SG scale. Will of course report back with results :).
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