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Old 02-15-2012, 10:00 AM   #1
ploppythesausage
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Default Help with strong dark Belgian partial

Having got myself a bigger pot (15 litres) and had a bit of help with BIAB partial-mashing from these forums I've decided to give a strong dark Belgian a go as my first partial mash.

I'm a big fan of Quads, Belgian scotch ales such as McChouffe and other dark beers and am looking to go somewhat in this direction (De Struise Pannepot looks interesting too). I'm not looking to do a clone, just something malty and Belgian-y.

The plan I'm formulating involves mashing some Belgian pale malt with some Special B, maybe some wheat, in the 15 litre pot. I understand the ratio for grain to water is roughly 1:3. I'll put as much grain in here as possible.
I also have a 9 litre pot I will fill with mash-temp. water to tea-bag (sparge) the grain-bag into.
I will then do my boil adding hops and adjuncts and DME as normal and combine these two pots in the fermenter.

With my very limited setup how much grain and DME should I use to get a good strong beer (anything approaching 10% is ideal)?

I will probably add some brown sugar and maybe some honey also, some coriander and orange peel. I was also considering caramelised raisins and I have seen small amounts of apple juice being added to recipes as well which I might try.

Hops-wise - something noble, just for bittering, maybe a touch near the end of the boil too.

Yeast - the key to a good Belgian. I've been thinking about this and reckon I'll go with a dried yeast. T-58 sounds interesting (used in Pannepot, well, De Struise house-strain is topped up with T-58) as it's peppery and spicy but I'm concerned that it does not ferment very low. Either that or S-33?

There will be no temp. control, I'm just going to leave it somewhere relatively warm-ish and let it do it's thing.

Any thoughts/help would be great. Thanks!

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Old 02-15-2012, 12:24 PM   #2
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A nice Belgian sounds good.....

Mash as much grain as you can and then use the extract to get to the OG you want. If you don't have some brew software get some to help you figure out the amount needed. Or you can post how much you can mash and I can plug the numbers in to get you where yuo need to be.

Your BIAB plan sounds good. I would keep it simple for the first one. Pale, some Special B (4-8oz) and some sugar (about 15%). I would not recommend brown sugar for a Belgian. Use plain white sugar, or even turbinado. I do a simple Belgian that is very good and use turbinado for the sugar. If you can get candi syrup you can use that also. I like to let the fermentation go for a few days (4-5) and then add the sugar. This lets the yeast work on the wort and eat the more complex sugars and then go crazy again with the sugar addition. Just boil the sugar in a small amount of water, cool and add to the fermenter.

I like my Belgians simple so I would avoid the spices, but it is your brew so if you do add spices go light with them. They should not overpower the yeast. Let the yeast be the star.

I have never used T-58 so I cannot help you there. My favorite Belgian style yeast is 3787. A tip for using Belgian yeasts is to pitch on the low end of the recommended temp range and slowly let the temp rise. Give the yeast plenty of time to finish up. Belgian yeasts can take some time to get the last few points of attenuation. I usually go about 6 weeks before I even check on the brew.

After you bottle it. let it condition for several months. One of my first Belgian brews, I drank most of it pretty young. It was good. I put some away and forgot about it for about 6 months and the beer was sooooooo much better. I just tasted one of that batch that is almost a year old and it is amazing.Now I am pissed that I drank so much of that batch early. I now don't even taste the first one until 2 months in the bottle.

Brewing Belgians is not for the impatient. They take time but can be sooooo good.

Good luck with your brew.

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Old 02-15-2012, 12:51 PM   #3
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Age it...... it gets better. I brewed a Belgian Triple as a baby beer and the beer went from being really good at 4 months when I bottled to outrageously good at 8 plus months! Now I'm down to two (quart) bottles left, one I'll open for when he turns one and the last one that will be waxed for him when he becomes 21.

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Old 02-16-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great advice. I think I'll aim for about 4Kg of grain in 12 litres of water (hopefully that will fit) for the mash and 1-2kg of DME. Still unsure of the yeast. I may go for the 3787 as you suggest. I'm really looking forward to this. I'll probably use plain white sugar and perhaps some golden syrup. I'll give candi syrup a miss this time round to keep costs lower (though i'm saving loads just byt switching to grain from extract).

Thanks!

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Old 02-16-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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3787 is what I used for my triple. Also used almost ~1 kg (2 pds) of white sugar with no problems!

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