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Old 10-05-2010, 03:19 AM   #1
mhot55
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Default Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue) Questions

Just did a batch cloning 5 gallons Chimay Blue after researching various different recipes.

13.25 lbs Pilsner
1.00 lb flaked wheat
8 oz. caramunich
7 oz. aromatic
4 oz. special B
2.5 oz. chocolate
2 lbs Dark Candi Syrup
.5 oz Galena (60 min)
.5 oz Hallertauer (15 min)
.25 oz Hallertauer (2 min)
1/8 tsp grains paradise (15 min)
1/8 tsp grains paradise (2 min)
1/2 tsp orange peel, bitter (5 min)
5 tsp yeast nutrient
2 tsp yeast energizer
WY1388 (Belgian Strong Ale)

Mashed 149* @ 70 minutes

MEASURED OG= 1.090

Fermentation Schedule. Plan on leaving roughly 3 weeks in primary with ambient temp 63-67*, minimum 1 month secondary, minimum 1 month bottle

Here are questions I have:

1- Understand that 9% alcohol is expected but have seen differing OG and FG results (1.080-1.016 and 1.092-1.024). I anticipate around 1.020-1.022 FG. Fermentables should be high because of mash temp (149*). Does the yeast crap out? Should i use yeast nutrient at all during fermentation (end, middle)? I used yeast nutrient and energizer during boil.

2- I have seen some suggest need 6 months of conditioning. I understand it will be drinkable after a few months but gets better with age. Will it be too harsh after 3 months? I would've liked to have had this around Christmas (brewed OCT 4). Also had seen some people recommend adding fresh yeast to secondary. Is this advisable? Wouldn't it "dry"out the beer?

3- Finally bottling. What volumes of CO2 should I look to hit? Again there are different recommendations- I have seen 2.8, 3.0, and even 3.5 (even though style ranges between 2.3-2.9). Chimay seems to be highly carb'd for a belgian dubbel. Also, should more yeast be added at bottling or will there be enough suspended? I have made a few high gravity IPA and Specialty beers using different yeasts ranging from 1.080-1.090 and haven't needed to add yeast, but haven't used WY1388 with this high an OG before. Also have seen differing opinions on priming- all corn sugar or a mixture of corn sugar and candi syrup/ invert sugar. Ideas??

I know this is specific and long winded, but after research figured this would also help those who have seen different ideas also, as well as some questions that haven't been answered.

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:35 AM   #2
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Chimay is highly carbed. I would guess 3.5 to 4.0 volumes, but at those volumes you would need to use the thick Belgian beer bottles, since from what I understand regular homebrew bottles are only specified to hold 3.0 to 3.5 volumes at most.

I think with your fermentation schedule you will not have to add yeast. It would be necessary if you bulk age it for a longer period (4+ months).

I made my first Belgian Dark Strong about 10 weeks ago (6 weeks primary, 4 weeks in bottles), and it still has not even begun to carb. From what I have gathered, it will take at least 3 months for it to even carb up. I just used regular table sugar for 3.0 volumes.

You can save a lot of ca$h if you make your own Candi Syrup. It's easy and tastes great.

Also, to get high attenuation, you can increase your fermentation temperature over the course of the week, say from 65F to 80F. Gradually adding the candi syrup to the primary also helps.

Make a big starter and aerate the wort well. I made a small beer first (Patersbier) with Wyeast 3787 (Westmalle yeast) and pitched the Belgian Dark Strong on the yeast cake. Don't think you should worry about yeast nutrient.

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Old 10-05-2010, 11:14 AM   #3
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Already made the batch. Had syrup, plan on making own in future. Also did the huge starter. Thing started taking off within 3 hours!
I planned on using Belgian bottles. Would Grolsch/ Flip Top bottles also work with that high of a carbonation? They are thicker than standard bottles.
This is going to be my most expensive batch by far. Most grain I've used, gotta buy Bottles, corks, and a floor corker. Now I have another question. Any other alternative to "portuguese" or "italian" floor corker or are hand corkers too difficult (especially for a whole batch)? Any difference between the corkers?

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Old 01-09-2011, 09:19 PM   #4
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bottled this 5 weeks ago. Just itching to crack one. Wound up being 4 weeks primary, 5 weeks secondary. Pitched some yeast in bottling bucket to help with carb. Bottled with 3.3 vol CO2. Took a swig at bottling, remember it being way too green and harsh. The son of a bitch fermented all the way down to 1.012 (OG= 1.090) giving me over 10% alcohol. When I finally do crack one, i'll share my opinion. Hopefully i can forget about this until next winter, or at least the fall. Guess i need t make more "quicker" turn-around batches.

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Old 01-29-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
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Finally couldn't wait. Cracked one open after 4 weeks primary, 5 weeks secondary, and 8 weeks bottle conditioned. It tastes real good, but still a little young. Aroma is what you would get from a belgian plus raisins. Can smell alcohol a touch. not strong but present. Body is medium with nice strong CO2 (3.2 volumes). You can feel a bit of sweetness, but finishes slightly dry. Taste is what you smell- dried fruit/ raisins (or prunes) with a nice malt sweetness. The yeast characteristics (spicy, fruity, phenolic) share the stage with the malt (malty, raisins), but take a second role. Alcohol is present, but at the end. Nothing overpowering just a nice warmth at the back-end. The warmer the beer gets, the more the malt flavor comes through and seemingly hides the alcohol. I think I'll let it sit for a few more months just to mellow out a little. It's not harsh, but does has a little bit of a bite to it. VERY COMPARABLE TO CHIMAY BLUE!

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Old 01-30-2011, 12:31 AM   #6
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Thanks for following up on this recipe! I've been checking back from time to time wondering how it ended up.

Which bottles did you end up using?

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Old 01-30-2011, 02:00 AM   #7
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I really enjoyed reading your posts, especially #5 ("Finally couldn't wait.")

Glad you're happy with it and even gladder that you followed up to let us know you like the recipe. Seems like the most important thing to post, after the recipe itself, is a final impression.

I'm also curious to know which bottles you ended up using.

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Old 01-30-2011, 03:54 AM   #8
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i used belgian bottles. This batch cost $$$ with the bottles and floor corker i needed. But they look great. Corked a lot of big beers this winter (for me over 7%). They made great Christmas presents (just had to tell those i gave i needed bottles back- belgian bottles aren't cheap!)

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Old 01-30-2011, 04:25 AM   #9
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Awsomeness.

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