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Old 03-28-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Dark Strong Ale critique

This is my first foray into the wonders of Belgian beers. After drinking a piraat last night I'm forced to try my hand at a malt monster. This is my first try, so am not too familiar with the style. Am I performing any sacriledge here?

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Old 03-28-2008, 08:54 PM   #2
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i would drop the orange peel for a strong dark - you'll get some fruit flavors from the Belgian yeast, and the orange could clash with the dark rum-soaked fruitiness that most strong darks exhibit.

i would recommend Wyeast 3787 for a strong dark, or 1214...

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Old 03-28-2008, 08:57 PM   #3
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If you're mashing low (which you want to do), you might want to do that for 90 minutes to promote attenuation. Overall, looks pretty good.

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Old 03-28-2008, 09:19 PM   #4
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looks good. definitely drop the orange peel.

make a good starter, give it plenty of time in the primary (about a month, probably), keep the temperature consistent and rouse the yeast every few days (just give it a very slight swirl)

strong belgians can be a PITA, but it's worth the hassle

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Old 03-28-2008, 09:22 PM   #5
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If you can, on the fermentation front, start with the temps fairly low (65°-ish), but then let them ramp up gradually over time. I got phe-freakin'-nomenal attenuation with my Belgian dark last summer (like, 90%) doing this. Starting low keeps fusels from developing; finishing high lets the beer ferment out as completely as it can. I need more Belgians around, but I'm going to wait until it warms up so I can more easily do the ramp-up.

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Old 03-28-2008, 09:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
If you can, on the fermentation front, start with the temps fairly low (65°-ish), but then let them ramp up gradually over time... but I'm going to wait until it warms up so I can more easily do the ramp-up.
I just ask SWMBO if I can leave the AC at a certain temperature for a week :P
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:02 PM   #7
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i love the belgians, do a yeast starter to really kick it off. i like to use dark belgian candi sugar throughout instead of cane and you have a choice between rreally dark, med or even clear just to add fuel to the abv with out affecting flavor. i've got a #8 from northern brew in the secondary right now that og'd close to 13%! i cant wait. but for sure save the orange for a wit. good brewing

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Old 03-29-2008, 07:23 AM   #8
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i have a golden strong and a dark strong brewed on the same day that are in 2ndary right now. they're 8.1% and 9% respectively and both attenuated to about 78%, which is much better than my first belgian. the thing i changed is adding the sugar at high krausen. of that 1.089 OG estimate you have, i'd guess about 30 points is from the sugar. if you pitch into a 1.050ish wort and let the yeast get going nuts and chew up some of that sugar and then add the sugar the yeast will be much healthier and they'll get you down really low. with that much sugar to add, i'd recommend adding a pound every 12 hours or so once high krausen has started. i didn't bother boiling it or anything. if its that hard style belgian candi then i'd give it a zap in a clean blender. it powdered up pretty fast for me. the flip side to doing this is that a 1.089 wort to start with isn't that big for the yeast, especially if you pitch from a big starter. the other thing is that the stress the yeast will go through in a wort of that gravity creates some of the estery flavors you expect in a belgian, but also the fusels. the_bird's suggestion of starting fermentation low is spot on for preventing stuff for that. i suppose all you can really do is decide on a course of action and take a lot of notes on things like pitch temp and ferm temp and pitch rate, and see how it turns out. let us know how it turns out!

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Old 03-29-2008, 04:43 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll definitely take the orange peel out, and make a starter. I'll try the temp ramp up. I'm too paranoid to open a fermenter mid-cycle. I'll let you know how it goes.

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