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Old 01-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #1
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Default Experimental Black Currant Ale...

So I was daydreaming and decided that a dark black currant beer would be tasty. I can get quart jars of black currants up at the polish deli down the street. Anyhow, here is kind of what I was thinking. I think it would be kind of like a black currant stout. Does this make any sense?

Extract Recipe, 5 Gallons:

3 lbs amber DME
3 lbs dark DME (these and the amber I have on hand from other projects)
1 lb Wheat DME (for improved head retention)
1 lb Belgian CaraMunich or Special B (for aroma)
1 lb Crystal 80-150L (for extra sweetness, color and to balance the acidity of the fruit)
1 lb toasted rolled oats (for toastiness and body)

Yeast: Saflager S-04, or S-33 or T58- still not sure

Hops: small bittering addition (dont want to much bitter) and late aroma addition. I was thinking of Galena or Bullion to reinforce the black currant aroma.

Fruit: 2-3 quarts of black currants added to the secondary. These contain sucrose as well, so I'm expecting to raise the gravity slightly as well as drying out the beverage somewhat. Might make it a little cidery, but maybe a little vinous which i think would not be amiss.

Does this plan seem solid or do I need to tweak further?

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Old 01-04-2012, 05:31 PM   #2
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More specifically, should I ditch the aroma hops? Will the hop aroma fight with the fruit flavors?

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Old 01-17-2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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Well, here is my final plan, any thoughts from our educated members here before I brew this weekend??
Do I have too much Special B in there? Should I try to convert the oats, or just steep? I don't think haze will be a problem since I'm anticipating an inky black color as well...

The Dark Crystal, "Belgian Style" Dark Ale with Black Currants and Forest Fruits
Extract Recipe, 5 Gallons:

3 lbs amber DME
3 lbs dark DME
1 lb Wheat DME
1 lb D-180 Belgian Candy Syrup
1 lb Belgian Special B
1 lb Briess Carmel 2-Row, 120L
1 lb toasted rolled oats

Yeast: Safbrew T-58

Hops:
.25 oz Pacific Gem 60M
.25 oz Pacific Gem 20M
.25 oz Pacific Gem 10M
.25 oz Pacific Gem 5M/Flameout

Chill wort, add cold water, 70F; pitch rehydrated Safbrew T-58

Secondary, add 3 jars (quarts) black currants or sour cherries (or a mix)
Add additional fruit, 2 lbs frozen raspberries, 1 lb frozen black berries

Predicted OG (before fruit addition): 1.074
(Total OG with fruit): 1.093
Predicted FG: 1.023
Predicted ABV: 8.5-10%
Predicted IBU's: 26

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Old 01-17-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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I think the idea of black currents in a dark ale is an intriguing idea. My only thought is that special "b" with crystal 120 is 2lbs of pretty similar crystal malts. It's a lot, but maybe you like it this way? I'd worry about it being overpowering, but I could be off base. At any rate, update this thread as you get along with the brewing. I'm curious to hear how it turns out.

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Old 01-17-2012, 08:50 PM   #5
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I'm considering scaling it back to 1/2 lb of each. I want it sweet, but not cloying...

Basically I'm looking to layer the 'dark fruit'/dried fruit flavors from the dark malts with the fresh fruit flavors from the fruit.

Will definitely post updates!

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Old 01-17-2012, 11:29 PM   #6
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I don't get much sweetness from crystal malts that dark, generally, but they do lend a strong flavor (and a slight aroma) that can overpower other flavor elements. I think those flavors would likely work well with currants, but maybe doing 1/2lb of each would be the safer move. Anyway, that's just me feeling, so do what makes most sense to you.

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Old 01-18-2012, 04:33 AM   #7
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Awesome, thanks! Appreciate the feedback.

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:15 AM   #8
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Looks tasty. I'd agree on cutting back the dark caramels, especially with the dark candi. Currants sound really good here, and the Pacific Gem is a great hop to complement them.

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Old 01-23-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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I finally brewed this this weekend! Kept everything the same as the above, but dialed down the dark carmels to .5 lb crystal 120 and .25 special b. Also, converted the toasted oats with 1 lb 2-row pale, my first mini-mash! When the specialty grains were steeping, got a huge molassas like odor. It seemed strong, but I think it will mellow in the mix. Hops are where I want them I think. Should be able to detect them in the nose and flavor without the hops being predominant, but they should be there. I didn't notice the berry flavor when I was boiling the wort, but I'm getting a certain fruitiness out of the airlock.

I used a 16 oz starter with the T-58 and fermentation was evident in only a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, no I am having trouble sourcing the jars of black currants that are usually readily available. I may go with black currant nectar or black currant syrup, depending on what I can get.

I think this is going to be good beer!

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Old 01-23-2012, 07:21 PM   #10
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Let us know, my family chicken recipe uses red currant and it is killer, I was thinking of how to work it into a beer and this could be a good testing ground

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