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Old 03-20-2009, 03:08 PM   #1
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Default AHS - Best Grand Crew? Belgian Strong Dark Ale

So I've been looking at making a Belgian Strong Dark Ale

I've only had ONE in my life - Ale Asylum's Mercy and it was like WOW!!! Fireworks good.

Now I MUST make one and my MO is to buy a kit and then tweak it if I like it.

AHS has 8 clones - does anyone have experience with any of these??


Chimay Grande Reserve
Trois Pistoles (Unibroue)
Gulden Draak
Scaldis Belgian Special Ale (Brasserie Dubuisson)
Allagash Grand Cru
Kwak Pauwel Belgian Ale (Brouwerij Bosteels)
Duvel (Moortgat)
Delirium Tremens

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Old 03-20-2009, 03:37 PM   #2
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Call 'em up and ask for JB. He formulated a lot of the recipes and should be able to help you decide which one will suit your personal preferences.

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Old 03-20-2009, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinder12000 View Post
So I've been looking at making a Belgian Strong Dark Ale

I've only had ONE in my life - Ale Asylum's Mercy and it was like WOW!!! Fireworks good.

Now I MUST make one and my MO is to buy a kit and then tweak it if I like it.

AHS has 8 clones - does anyone have experience with any of these??


Chimay Grande Reserve
Trois Pistoles (Unibroue)
Gulden Draak
Scaldis Belgian Special Ale (Brasserie Dubuisson)
Allagash Grand Cru
Kwak Pauwel Belgian Ale (Brouwerij Bosteels)
Duvel (Moortgat)
Delirium Tremens
Several of those aren't strong dark.

Assuming the clones are accurate, why not buy one of each and see which you like best.
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:50 PM   #4
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I brewed the Chimay Grande Reserve Clone as a partial mash on January 18. Granted, two months is too young to evaluate a Belgian Dark Strong (those things need to age for quite a while), but this has been one of my least favorite AHS kits. As of now, it's barely drinkable, having an extremely harsh peppery taste, which I believe is partially due to the Paradise seeds in the recipe - an ingredient that is not used in the original. It's also very phenolic, when the original is more on the fruity/estery side. I used the White Labs 500 (Trappist) yeast and fermented it in the mid-60s, letting it ramp into the low-70s as fermentation was winding down.

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Old 03-20-2009, 04:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Assuming the clones are accurate, why not buy one of each and see which you like best.
Because I get 10% TOMORROW!

I'm leaning towards the Allagash Grand Cru
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:08 PM   #6
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So I've been looking at making a Belgian Strong Dark Ale
The "Number 8" from Northern Brewer that I've got conditioning right now was designed with the help of Stan Hieronymous (author of Brew Like a Monk) and has gotten really good reviews, but I can't vouch for it since it's not done carbing yet. It's a Rochefort 8 clone.

Narvin also has a great all-great Westvletaran 12 clone if you're AG.

Quote:
Chimay Grande Reserve
Trois Pistoles (Unibroue)
Gulden Draak
Scaldis Belgian Special Ale (Brasserie Dubuisson)
Allagash Grand Cru
Kwak Pauwel Belgian Ale (Brouwerij Bosteels)
Duvel (Moortgat)
Delirium Tremens

Allagash Grand Cru, Kwak, Duvel, and Delirium Tremens aren't BDSAs (they're Belgian strong gold/pale ales). I'm not sure about Scaldis.

You should definitely pick up a copy of Brew Like a Monk if you're interested in brewing this style.
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On tap: Saison Duphunk (sour), Amarillo Slim (IPA), Earl White (ginger/bergamot wit)
Bottled: Number 8 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Eternale (Barleywine), Ancho Villa (Ancho/pasilla/chocolate/cinnamon RIS), Oak smoked porter (1/2 maple bourbon oaked, 1/2 apple brandy oaked)


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Old 03-20-2009, 04:10 PM   #7
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Because I get 10% TOMORROW!

I'm leaning towards the Allagash Grand Cru
The original's a great beer, but it's not a BSDA. Belgian strong pales are also awesome, though. Just don't expect something similar to a BSDA.
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Bottled: Number 8 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Eternale (Barleywine), Ancho Villa (Ancho/pasilla/chocolate/cinnamon RIS), Oak smoked porter (1/2 maple bourbon oaked, 1/2 apple brandy oaked)

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Old 03-20-2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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Reading reviews in Beer Advocate and trying to compare the reviews to Ale Asylums Mercy it seems Allagash Grand Cru is the closest.

I really have almost zero experience with this style but I can not get Mercy out of my head.

The odd thing is that I have tasted Home brewed Duval and Kwak and really did not get much out of them - BUT then again I have not tasted THAT much GOOD home brew (only mine LOL). Most home brewers I know are still in either pure extract or poor AG brewers.

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Old 03-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Grinder12000 View Post
Reading reviews in Beer Advocate and trying to compare the reviews to Ale Asylums Mercy it seems Allagash Grand Cru is the closest.

I really have almost zero experience with this style but I can not get Mercy out of my head.

Again, you're talking about 2 different styles here, and it's sort of confusing.

Listing all those beers together is like saying you want a good IPA and asking whether it should be a clone of Stone IPA, Dogfish head 60, Bell's Two-hearted Ale, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, or Sam Adams Summer Wheat. Yeah, they're all American, but only half of them are IPAs and the other half are American wheats.

Half the beers you listed aren't in the style of beer you're asking about (the Allagash Grand Cru being among them).

Incidentally, "Grand Cru" is not a style of beer, it's just a name used for whatever beer the brewery likes--"Diekirch Grand Cru", for instance, is a Vienna lager (which is the same style as Sam Adams Boston lager).

If you make a Belgian strong pale when you want a strong dark, you're going to be surprised.

Allagash _does_ make an awesome BSDA called "Allagash Odyssey", FWIW.
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On deck: Little Bo Pils, Bretta Off Dead (Brett pale)
Secondary: Oude Bruin, Red Sky at Morning (Sour brown ale)
On tap: Saison Duphunk (sour), Amarillo Slim (IPA), Earl White (ginger/bergamot wit)
Bottled: Number 8 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Eternale (Barleywine), Ancho Villa (Ancho/pasilla/chocolate/cinnamon RIS), Oak smoked porter (1/2 maple bourbon oaked, 1/2 apple brandy oaked)

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Old 03-20-2009, 06:55 PM   #10
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HA - just found the problem - my spread sheet of all AHS clones did not sort correctly and I have Dark and Pale Belgians mixed.


Just going by what Beer Advocate says for the ones listed. And I WAS wondering about a few of those that seemed pretty darn LIGHT for a dark ale.

I did have a question and was wondering if "Grand Cru" was a style inside a style or just a name.

Ale Asylum is listed as a Belgian strong dark ale which to ME makes sense (not knowing any better). And since I have never seen a clone of Mercy it's all I have to go on. So . . . . .what up!

Beer Advocate says BDSA and Rate Beer says Belgian Strong Ale. Not arguing but where else do I turn to.

I see Rate Beer has Mercy as a Abt/Quadrupel. hmmmmmm

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Bottled! Award winning East India Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Milk Stout, Saison fermenting at a nice controlled 85 degrees (up from 70) as it should be - weird isn't it.


Last edited by Grinder12000; 03-20-2009 at 07:21 PM.
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