Author Topic: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?  (Read 2793 times)

Offline JJeffers09

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Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« on: October 16, 2015, 11:00:26 PM »
So I have been looking at Belgian Strong dark ale as my next venture into home brewing.  But anyone out there that has any suggestions, I am not sure of Hops, or a mixture of ingredients.  I guess here is what I have cooked up as a first glance into the style, and brainstorming brought me this:

Vienna - 17.94%
Aromatic - 4.48%
Munich 10L - 4.48%
Crystal 60L - 2.24%
Carafa Special II - 2.24%
Special B - 2.24%
Flaked Wheat - 2.24%
Chocolate Wheat - 1.35%
Total - 37.22%

Wheat DME - 26.91%
Amber DME - 26.91%
Brown Sugar - 8.97%

Hops - ?
https://byo.com/resources/hops  So hop charts by style, not sure how much I trust it though.

Yeast - WLP351 and WLP545 (or WLP500 or WLP530 IDK)
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 11:27:59 PM »
So I have been looking at Belgian Strong dark ale as my next venture into home brewing.  But anyone out there that has any suggestions, I am not sure of Hops, or a mixture of ingredients.  I guess here is what I have cooked up as a first glance into the style, and brainstorming brought me this:

Vienna - 17.94%
Aromatic - 4.48%
Munich 10L - 4.48%
Crystal 60L - 2.24%
Carafa Special II - 2.24%
Special B - 2.24%
Flaked Wheat - 2.24%
Chocolate Wheat - 1.35%
Total - 37.22%

Wheat DME - 26.91%
Amber DME - 26.91%
Brown Sugar - 8.97%

Hops - ?
https://byo.com/resources/hops  So hop charts by style, not sure how much I trust it though.

Yeast - WLP351 and WLP545 (or WLP500 or WLP530 IDK)



Your grist has way, way too many components. Too many malts can give a beer a muddy, poorly defined character. I recommend simplifying - here's one that's similar to one of mine :

76% Belgian Pils or Belgian Pale Malt  (or a blend of the two which is very nice)
15% Dark candi syrup
5% Aromatic
4% Special B
Adjust color if desired with Midnight Wheat

25 IBU Hallertau - 60 mins


Not trying to be overly critical. This makes a great beer.
Jon H.

Offline narcout

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2015, 11:33:54 PM »
Yeah, I would ditch all those specialty malts and just keep it simple: Belgian Pilsner or Pale as the base, some medium crystal malt (like Caramunich II), and a generous helping of dark candi syrup (maybe 2 or 3 pounds for a 5 gallon batch).

For hops you could use, among many others: saaz, hallertau, target, spalt, etc.

I think Wyeast 3787 (WLP530) works well, but you could certainly use others.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 11:39:09 PM by narcout »
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2015, 11:53:16 PM »
What a coincidence.... I just happen to be drafting a dark strong recipe as we speak.  My research on "the best" recipes (in my opinion) has led to the following conclusions so far as to recommended grist:

Pilsner base
CaraMunich
Special B
Dark Candy Syrup

Those are all required.  Also optional:

Aromatic
Munich

Other malts aren't used as much.

As for hops, many people use Styrian Goldings or Hallertau or its derivatives (Hersbrucker, Mt. Hood).

Many people are using WLP530 or Wyeast 1762, those are the big ones from what I can tell.

There's really nothing wrong with your original recipe at all, looks great to me.  I would drink lots of it.  But, as others suggested, it wouldn't hurt to simplify it a bit, if you want.  I'd start by ditching the chocolate wheat, and trade the Crystal 60 for CaraMunich, that might be more interesting and a little simpler.  Also maybe decide whether you want Vienna or Munich, probably no need to use both.  And if you can get the dark candy syrup, use that instead of brown sugar.  That about covers it.  If you want.  Your recipe would still turn out awesome.  But just could be simplified, slightly, if you want.
Dave

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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2015, 01:20:33 AM »
So my local shop only carries White Labs.  I don't want to drive the extra hour to another homebrew shop, or worry about the shipping process to my door.  So I am going to try pitching my washed WLP351 with another yeast like WLP530 I think.

Has anybody tried Mandarina Bavaria Hops?  How would that work with the style?  It was the only one I have read about that I am thinking about trying.  If not that one, then the traditional Hallertau or Hersbrucker.
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RPIScotty

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2015, 02:12:54 AM »
Steer clear of Special B (Just my opinion). I think people confuse its contribution with that of the dark syrups. I get unpleasant roast flavors from it.

I use a mixed base (Pils, Pale and Munich). I like CaraMunich as well as the CSI syrups. I also like Turbinado and muscovado. You really don't need many specialty malts. I usually stick with CaraMunich and Aromatic.

Your original recipe is very creative but a bit convoluted. Remember that Belgian beers, the Trappists in particular are extremely simple. Process and Yeast are king in this style.

I like Challenger, Saaz and Styrian for hops. WY3787 is a solid yeast.



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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2015, 02:31:53 AM »
Steer clear of Special B (Just my opinion). I think people confuse its contribution with that of the dark syrups. I get unpleasant roast flavors from it.

I use a mixed base (Pils, Pale and Munich). I like CaraMunich as well as the CSI syrups. I also like Turbinado and muscovado. You really don't need many specialty malts. I usually stick with CaraMunich and Aromatic.


To each his own, but I disagree on special b. I don't use it in the place of dark candi syrups, I use it along side in dubbel and quad. I get dark fruit, raisin and burnt sugar from it, not unpleasant roast. Regardless, lots of ways to make these beers, though. 
Jon H.

RPIScotty

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Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2015, 02:40:24 AM »
Steer clear of Special B (Just my opinion). I think people confuse its contribution with that of the dark syrups. I get unpleasant roast flavors from it.

I use a mixed base (Pils, Pale and Munich). I like CaraMunich as well as the CSI syrups. I also like Turbinado and muscovado. You really don't need many specialty malts. I usually stick with CaraMunich and Aromatic.


To each his own, but I disagree on special b. I don't use it in the place of dark candi syrups, I use it along side in dubbel and quad. I get dark fruit, raisin and burnt sugar from it, not unpleasant roast. Regardless, lots of ways to make these beers, though.

I've always been intrigued by its use. No authentic Belgian beers use it, yet it's inclusion in these styles is ubiquitous in the states.

It has always appeared to me to be a relic of a time when Dark Syrup was not readily available here.

For my tastes, CaraMunich is the dark caramel malt to use in Dubbels and dark strong.

Regardless of preference in specialties, I think we can agree that the grist in the OP is too much.

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« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 02:44:47 AM by RPIScotty »

Offline Stevie

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2015, 02:56:08 AM »
Castle, a Belgian maltster produces a special b, so somebody over there must be using it.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2015, 03:06:54 AM »
I've always been intrigued by its use. No authentic Belgian beers use it, yet it's inclusion in these styles is ubiquitous in the states.

It has always appeared to me to be a relic of a time when Dark Syrup was not readily available here.


What do you base this on exactly ? In the section of BLAM on Rochefort (p.64), it says:  "Rochefort uses the same Dingemans Pilsener and caramel malts throughout, with the gravity of the 8 and 10 boosted by grain as well as sugar". I see no mention of types of caramel malts used or frowned upon. And I see Rochefort as the king of dark Belgians.
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RPIScotty

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2015, 03:09:20 AM »
Like I said. Just an opinion.

Also when I hear Dark Strong, I think Grande Reserve, Rochefort 8, St. Bernardus 12, Westy 8/12, Achel Bruin Extra, etc. No Special B to be found there.

Some love it. Others don't. It's optional in my opinion.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2015, 03:12:40 AM »
Yep, no offense meant. Lots of ways to make good beers. We all have preferences. We are definitely more hung up on rules and styles here in the U.S. than the Belgians are. Cheers !


EDIT - However, based on that quote, we don't know that there's no Special B in Rochefort 8.  'Caramel malts' is pretty deliberately vague.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 03:15:11 AM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2015, 03:15:48 AM »
when I hear Dark Strong, I think Grande Reserve, Rochefort 8, St. Bernardus 12, Westy 8/12, Achel Bruin Extra, etc. No Special B to be found there.

You've got the real recipes from the monks?  Methinks not.  Some of these taste raisiny enough to me.  Maybe our tastebuds are not aligned.
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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2015, 03:27:14 AM »
It's all good though. Everybody's taste buds are different. We all like beer so were on the right path.


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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2015, 04:08:51 AM »
when I hear Dark Strong, I think Grande Reserve, Rochefort 8, St. Bernardus 12, Westy 8/12, Achel Bruin Extra, etc. No Special B to be found there.

You've got the real recipes from the monks?  Methinks not.  Some of these taste raisiny enough to me.  Maybe our tastebuds are not aligned.
At first I thought he was saying he knew the recipes, but that would be pretty special so I figured he meant that he doesn't detect spec b. Thats entirely possible. How do we know what he's tasting, right?