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Old 09-03-2013, 04:22 PM   #1
WarblyTremolo
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Default Recipe Critique - Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Hi All - looking for feedback/hints/tips for this brew. Shooting for something highly malty in the St. Bernardus Abt 12 neighborhood. Brewing with filtered Chicago tap water. All calculations from iBrewMaster 2. Here we go.


Style: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Anticipated OG: 1.089
Estimated FG: 1.020
IBU's: 24.82
Color: 22.2 SRM
Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Size: 7.11 Gals
Batch Size: 5.00 Gals
Preboil OG: 1.065
Boil Time: 90 minutes

Grains:
12# Dingemans Pilsen (73.85%)
1# Dingemans Special B (6.15%)
1.25# Cane Sugar (7.69%)
2 lbs. D-45 Candi Sugar (12.31%)

Hops:
1 oz Saaz @ 60min
.5 oz Target @ 30min

Yeast:
3.5L starter of Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity

Additions:
7 g Salt (Mash/Sparge)
.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15min
1 ea. Whirlfloc @ 15min

Mash:
Dough-In @ 70F, slow rise to 148F Sacch Rest for 75min
Mash-Out @ 168F for 10min
Fly Sparge @ 168F for 20-30 min

Fermentation:
Pitch yeast at 68F and allow to slow rise to 82-84F. Primary for 14 days.
Rack to Secondary for 8 weeks at 50F.
Bottle w/Fresh Yeast (might even spring for 375mL champagne bottles just for fun)

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Old 09-06-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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Anyone?

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Old 09-06-2013, 06:11 PM   #3
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Surprisingly good. Most people try and way over complicate this kind of beer and you haven't done that. By salt, I'm assuming you don't mean NaCl. I woudn't use target @ 30 personally. I can see using it for bittering, but I'd stick with Saaz, EKG, or Styrian. I would start the fermentation much cooler. I'd shoot for 62, 64 tops. 64 might be better for this strain, I haven't used it. If you ramp 2˚ per day, the beer should be done in 5 days. 1.020 is also higher than I would expect it finish, I'd think 1.012 is more likely. If you don't have O2, consider using t-58, it's the same as WLP500 (Chimay Strain, not sure what wyeast calls it). Dry yeast doesn't need O2, it's already got the phenols that liquid yeast need O2 to create. Sugars shouldn't be calculated as part of the grain bill. Grains should add up to 100%, sugars should be a percentage of total fermentables. That's not your fault, it's the software you are using. You've got sugars as 27% of your fermentables which is a little high. 20% is the max I'm comfortable with. Personally, I'd use 1 lb d-90 & 1 lb d-180 (with enough sugar to get 20%) but I like a darker BDSA. Have you looked at the recipes on Candi Syrup Inc's webpage? They've got some well tested clones, not that you want to do a clone, but they can help to give you a feel for how beers you may have tried would be made at home and a better idea of what you'll get with different syrups.

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Old 09-07-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe
Surprisingly good. Most people try and way over complicate this kind of beer and you haven't done that. By salt, I'm assuming you don't mean NaCl. I woudn't use target @ 30 personally. I can see using it for bittering, but I'd stick with Saaz, EKG, or Styrian. I would start the fermentation much cooler. I'd shoot for 62, 64 tops. 64 might be better for this strain, I haven't used it. If you ramp 2˚ per day, the beer should be done in 5 days. 1.020 is also higher than I would expect it finish, I'd think 1.012 is more likely. If you don't have O2, consider using t-58, it's the same as WLP500 (Chimay Strain, not sure what wyeast calls it). Dry yeast doesn't need O2, it's already got the phenols that liquid yeast need O2 to create. Sugars shouldn't be calculated as part of the grain bill. Grains should add up to 100%, sugars should be a percentage of total fermentables. That's not your fault, it's the software you are using. You've got sugars as 27% of your fermentables which is a little high. 20% is the max I'm comfortable with. Personally, I'd use 1 lb d-90 & 1 lb d-180 (with enough sugar to get 20%) but I like a darker BDSA. Have you looked at the recipes on Candi Syrup Inc's webpage? They've got some well tested clones, not that you want to do a clone, but they can help to give you a feel for how beers you may have tried would be made at home and a better idea of what you'll get with different syrups.
Thanks for the feedback. I've never used Target in the past, so I'm going use it at 60m and the Saaz at 30m in different quantities to reach the same IBU.

I will be using O2, so yay for wyeast.

The water I brew with has about 7 ppm of sodium. Brew like a monk lists westvleteren as using water that is at 125ppm sodium. My feeble understanding is that higher sodium = more maltiness in the finished beer. First, is that correct and second, what is the best way to get my water up to that area?
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:50 PM   #5
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I agree with TN Gabe on this one. I like the more simple recipes. I also prefer noble hops in my Belgians. Your BU:GU ratio is right where it should be.

I have used 3787 a lot and his suggestion to pitch at 62-64 is a good tip. Let the temp slowly rise after a couple of days. 3787 is known for taking off fast, but then taking a very long time to get the last few points of attenuation. Ramping up the temp and giving it plenty of time to finish will assure that it is done. One of the first times I used this yeast, I thought it was done as the gravity reading for a few days were stable. Unfortunately it was mot done and I ended up with highly overcarbed beer. Now any time I use it I make sure to give it more time than I think I need. Nice choice of yeast though.

I also agree with the suggestion to use D-90 or D-180 (or a combo of the two) will give you a very nice BDSA. They both have great flavor. 20% is about my upper limit for sugars too, but I did one with 25% that did come out great.

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Old 09-08-2013, 02:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beergolf View Post
I agree with TN Gabe on this one. I like the more simple recipes. I also prefer noble hops in my Belgians. Your BU:GU ratio is right where it should be.

I have used 3787 a lot and his suggestion to pitch at 62-64 is a good tip. Let the temp slowly rise after a couple of days. 3787 is known for taking off fast, but then taking a very long time to get the last few points of attenuation. Ramping up the temp and giving it plenty of time to finish will assure that it is done. One of the first times I used this yeast, I thought it was done as the gravity reading for a few days were stable. Unfortunately it was mot done and I ended up with highly overcarbed beer. Now any time I use it I make sure to give it more time than I think I need. Nice choice of yeast though.

I also agree with the suggestion to use D-90 or D-180 (or a combo of the two) will give you a very nice BDSA. They both have great flavor. 20% is about my upper limit for sugars too, but I did one with 25% that did come out great.
Well this has to be good advice as I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've agreed on something!
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:06 AM   #7
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Chloride gives you a maltier effect, not sodium. If you don't know your complete water profile already, I wouldn't mess with it other than perhaps adding calcium chloride and/or cutting with RO water. If it has made good beer for you in the past, it should serve you well for this beer. Adding 8-16oz of malted wheat can help take some of the boozy edge off of the beer.

3787 and darker candy syrups will give you a terrific quad. D-180 is fantastic stuff. Good luck.

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Old 09-09-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the great advice so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid
Chloride gives you a maltier effect, not sodium. If you don't know your complete water profile already, I wouldn't mess with it other than perhaps adding calcium chloride and/or cutting with RO water.
Here are last quarters numbers for Chicago water:

Starting Water (ppm):
Ca: 37.8
Mg: 13.6
Na: 10.1
Cl: 20
SO4: 29.9
CaCO3: 108

Question is, where do I alter it to get a maltier beer? I really need to just bite the bullet and buy a book on water chemistry.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:25 PM   #9
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Overall, I agree with the stuff these other folks are saying... generally good recipe but a few tweaks here and there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarblyTremolo View Post
Question is, where do I alter it to get a maltier beer? I really need to just bite the bullet and buy a book on water chemistry.
You could raise your mash temperature to get a maltier beer. Mashing at 148 will produce a very fermentable wort leading to a dry beer. Higher mash temps 155-160 will give you less fermentable sugars and will give you more residual sweetness in the finished product. 160 is probably too high for this style, but you could definitely go up to the mid-150's in a single infusion mash.

If you want to try a stepped mash schedule, that would be an option too, but that's beyond my level of expertise!
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_Brewer View Post
You could raise your mash temperature to get a maltier beer. Mashing at 148 will produce a very fermentable wort leading to a dry beer. Higher mash temps 155-160 will give you less fermentable sugars and will give you more residual sweetness in the finished product. 160 is probably too high for this style, but you could definitely go up to the mid-150's in a single infusion mash.
Funny you should post this. I've been re-reading 'Yeast' by Chris White and just got through the section on wort composition.

"One thing many brewers have been led to believe is that higher mash temperatures result in "maltier" beers, By this they mean that the beer has more malt sweetness. Higher mash temperatures do not develop more malt character or flavor, nor does it really result in much sweetness. The long-chain dextrins created at high mash temperatures are at most only very slightly sweet." p70

So a higher temp may give a less fermentable wort and definitely more long chain sugars, but the perceived sweetness (and maltiness) of the beer is dependant on a number of other factors.
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