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Old 06-12-2014, 07:02 PM   #1
mloomis
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Default Belgian Dubbel Receipe Questions

Been lurking on the site for well over a year. Thank you to all the members I have learned from - from a far! Finally decided to jump in and participate. Have brewed 10 plus times with some horrid results and some very drinkable brews (as consumed and commented on by others - not just my eval). My first couple of brews were extracts from kits and I quickly found I enjoy extract brewing but making my own concoctions! I am ready to try a Dubbel. Everything I've learned about Belgians says let them age for 3 or 4 months so I'm thinking about getting this project underway now so it's perfect for the holiday season. My intent is 2 weeks primary, 1 month seconday, rest of the time bottle conditioning / aging. I do full boil but for 2.5 gal batches. I'm making my own recipe and just wondered if anyone has a preference over (or advice) on D-90 candi syrup (chocolate, toffee, bread) versus D-180 (coffee, fruit, bread). In particular, I am wondering about the interactions with the following:

Grain Bill:
Special B 2 oz
Abbey (formerly aromatic) 2 oz
Crystal 40L 2 oz

Additive:
D-90 or 180 4 oz

Malts:
Golden Light Malt LME 3 lbs
Gold Light DME 1 lbs

Hops:
Slovenian Styrian Golding 1 oz @ 60 mins
German Tettnang 1 oz @ 30 mins

Yeast:
Wyeast 3787 (Belgian Abbey II) High Gravity

OG 1.069
FG 1.017
IBU 23.6
SRM 17.01
ABV 6.81

Which I think puts me very much in line with the BJCP guidelines

Questions - this will be my first HG beer and as such I’ve never made a starter (or used Liquid Yeast). Any guidance on the DME to use and what yeast (or do I use the 3787 in the starter) – sorry for such a newb question.

Would you alter the grain bill - if so how? Would you use the candi syrup in greater quantity or skip it all together? Is the grain bill combined with the candi syrup overkill / duplicative?

Anything you see of my plans above that has you saying …. “whoa there Skippy – think it through first!”

Thanks
Marnie

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Old 06-12-2014, 07:18 PM   #2
QuercusMax
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If you're only doing a 2.5 gallon batch, you probably don't *really* need a starter for a batch of that gravity, even using liquid yeast. MrMalty.com says you need 1.2 vials/smack packs, so you should be fine. You might consider adding the Candi syrup after fermentation has begun, just to give the yeast a fighting chance, and make sure you aerate well before pitching.

That looks like a pretty tasty recipe - I'm going to be doing a Dubbel soon, and mine will likely look fairly similar.

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Old 06-12-2014, 07:36 PM   #3
motorneuron
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I agree that you should be fine with the pitch from a single yeast pack.

I personally would slightly increase the Special B quantity and cut out the crystal 40. It'd be more in line with the style. Special B provides more of the dark fruit flavors that are key to a good dubbel.

I would also use more dark sugar. Either D-90 or D-180 would work, but I would use more like 8 oz (since I'd normally use at least a pound for a 5 gallon recipe). Definitely don't skip the dark sugar--that is absolutely key to getting the flavor profile right. It tastes different from darker or crystal malts--much more dark fruit and marshmallow flavors. If you don't use dark candy syrup/sugar and instead use only dark malts, you just wind up with a weird Belgian-ish porter.

You can also use some simple sugar. Good attenuation is key to the style, and sugar helps, whether it's just table sugar or candy syrup. At the same time, 1.069 is not so high, and with your yeast, you'll probably get good attenuation no matter what.

I would not do a secondary. Just keep the beer in primary for 3-4 weeks, see that the gravity is stable, and then conduct your conditioning in bottles. Secondaries are good when you're making big additions (hops, wood, fruit), but you won't be doing that here, so it's just a chance for oxidation. (Autolysis is not a concern with Belgian yeast in a 7% beer.) And you'll have plenty of time for conditioning in bottles.

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Old 06-12-2014, 07:44 PM   #4
ill4delph
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Great timing with this post. Ill probably be brewing a Dubbel once I get settled in my new place. Id be very interested to know how your batch came out, as well as which dark sugar you chose to go with.

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Old 06-12-2014, 08:07 PM   #5
thegreatmaibockaddict
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Your recipe looks good. Make sure you do a starter and ramp up the yeast a bit. This will provide for a better start.

FWIW I did a dubble recently (recipe on my site). I ALWAYS transfer to secondary. I used WPL500 which supposedly is the Chimay yeast. Fermentation took about a week at 70F. (The beer was transferred and the yeast re-used in a tripel). The beer settled over the next 6 days and bottled and was ready to drink 4 days later (as the Brewshop owner was my witness!).

Transferring will assure that excess yeast will not end up in your bottles (over time can cause off flavors). Taste as you go along. You may find that the beer tastes like you want it too in way less time than you think. Don't age for the sake of aging as you are only depriving yourself pleasure. And it doesn't hurt to sample a bottle along with a commercial example for comparison's sake and to give yourself an idea of how you did and what you need to do to improve.

Good luck!

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Old 06-13-2014, 03:03 PM   #6
mloomis
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Thanks for the review / insights / suggestions and encouragement! I will post updates along the way -

Cheers

Marnie

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