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Old 01-27-2013, 11:40 PM   #1
DrakeSuperbus
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Default Belgian Dubbel not Belgian enough

I brewed the following beer: http://www.tastybrew.com/newrcp/detail/832 with the problematic exception of having to use White Laps 550 (Belgian Ale) instead of the Abbey yeast that the recipe called for. The lhbs was out of it, and I didn't have time to wait to have it shipped because I wanted to get my brew in the fermenter before going on vacation. The lhbs was also out of the specific hops and specialty malts I needed, but I was able to get close approximations and don't think that they seriously affected the final product as much as the yeast change.

The result is a beer that is not nearly as fruity/estery as I hoped. It has a faint background of it, but it just doesn't taste as overtly Belgian as I wanted.

It spent ~6 weeks in primary (I underpitched the yeast and it took forever to finish) and has been in the bottle for around 2.5 weeks. If I age this out a few more weeks, is anymore fruityness going to come through, or should I just drink it all now?

My understanding is that conditioning tends to mellow flavors, so I'm worried that if I sit on this for a couple of weeks I'll lose what little Belgian flavor I have.

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Old 01-28-2013, 12:03 AM   #2
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I think your right on the money with yeast being the reason it doesn't have the flavor profile you are looking for. Aging does tend to mellow flavors, but I don't think a few weeks would mellow it that much. I think what you have though is close to as good as it's gonna get. At least as far as your yeast flavor profile is concerned... Sorry bro...

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Old 01-28-2013, 12:06 AM   #3
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What temp did it ferment at? That will make all the difference in the world.

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Old 01-28-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
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The fruit related esters will mellow with time unfortunately. That said, once the other various young beer flavor components start to dissipate you may have a beer that is very good. One thing about Belgian's is that you cannot judge them while they are young, you will wake up 6 months later and have a completely different beverage in your hand and swear that it isn't the same beer.

If you like fruit, my experience is that WL500 is the most intense followed by 530 and then 550. Those are my main three Belgian yeasts that I have brewed with.

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Old 01-28-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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The room it was in was around the mid 60s during fermentation.

If the fruit isn't going to come out, then I am just going to start drinking them now. I enjoy the flavor and it's actually a very drinkable beer as it is, so it's not like I'm going to be forcing them down out of spite.

It's kind of like getting sausage instead of pepperoni on my pizza. It's still good; it's just not exactly what I wanted.

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Old 01-28-2013, 01:14 AM   #6
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If you fermented in the 60's the fruit will not come out. The key to brewing Belgians is temp control of the yeast. The best thing to do is pitch at the low end of the recommended temp range and SLOWLY raise the temp. THis will give you the flavor you are looking for.

I would suggest that you leave your beer to age for for another month and taste it again. Belgian yeasts almost act like wine yeasts and definitely improve with age. You will be surprised.

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Old 01-28-2013, 01:41 AM   #7
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You have a couple of issues:

1 - You fermented too low. you want to get that yeast around 75 F (no higher or you could get fusels).

2 - You used WLP550. 50 is more a 'spicy' Belgian yeast rather than a fruity one.

It is not going to get more fruity! However, I have found Belgians do improve with time. You might want to keep a few bottles hidden away for 6 to 12 months to see how the flavor develops for yourself. You will kick yourself for not keeping them all for that long.

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