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Old 10-04-2010, 02:43 PM   #1
rexbanner
 
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As soon as I get my thermapen, I am going to brew my magnum opus. I am really having the hardest time formulating the recipe, however.

I really love Chimay Red. I want this beer to taste like it, but recipes for dubbels really vary a lot. I've researched this pretty thoroughly in Brew Like a Monk, and I've looked at a lot of different dubbel recipes and compared them.

Chimay Red is a malty beer, but it's incredibly smooth. I want to duplicate the taste, so I don't want it to be too malty. I don't really like strong dark ales and I want to keep this beer firmly in the realm of a dubbel, without what in my opinion is a cloying maltiness that is present in strong darks.

So, basically I have decided on 7 lbs pilsner malt, 1 lb wheat, 1 lb sugar. I'm fine with that, but I can't decide on how to achieve my desired level of maltiness.

I was thinking .5 lbs caramunich and .5 lbs special B. Would that be enough? Or should I add something else, like let's say .5 lbs aromatic and/or .5-1.0 lbs munich? I don't have any experience using aromatic and it kind of makes me nervous, but it seems very appropriate for this recipe. If I were to add all of these, it would basically be Jamil's recipe. Has anyone brewed that? How would it compare to Chimay Red? It seems like it might be a bit too malty for my taste.

The reason I am having so much trouble is that this is not very familiar territory, but also because a lot of "Chimay Red Clone" recipes I have looked at seem pretty off. If I were a betting man, I'd wager they're way too malty. A lot of them don't match up with what Hieronymus says is in Chimay Red at all. I don't want a less alcoholic strong dark.

Thanks for any advice. I should probably just resign myself to the fact that my first dubbel probably won't be exactly what I want, but because this beer takes so long to mature, I'd really like to end up with something that I really like.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:06 PM   #2
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You need to get some Belgian Dark Candi Syrup. 3/4 lb of it. No table sugar, mash low for 90 min, 149. The special B and caramunich are good.

Jamils recipe is good, but it's a little too light IMO. I leave out the table sugar, and it's perfect. Not cloying at all. You do have to make sure you mash low and long. I love WY3787, it's not the Chimay strain, but it will attenuate like no one's business.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
Thanks for any advice. I should probably just resign myself to the fact that my first dubbel probably won't be exactly what I want, but because this beer takes so long to mature, I'd really like to end up with something that I really like.
My dubbel was six weeks old and won a silver at the state fair, scored a 38. I find that as long as your fermentation is good, beers are ready to drink a lot sooner than most say around these web forums.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smizak View Post
You need to get some Belgian Dark Candi Syrup. 3/4 lb of it. No table sugar, mash low for 90 min, 149. The special B and caramunich are good.

Jamils recipe is good, but it's a little too light IMO. I leave out the table sugar, and it's perfect. Not cloying at all. You do have to make sure you mash low and long. I love WY3787, it's not the Chimay strain, but it will attenuate like no one's business.
I don't understand how its possible to hit the targeted SRM of 10-14 that beersmith gives using so many SRM-contributing ingredients. I am at 15 with just a half pound of special B and caramunich, and if I used dark candi it would push it way high. I don't care that much, but I'd like to understand how this works. Unless beersmith is wrong, then most dubbel recipes out there end up way too dark.

Also, how does leaving out sugar make something lighter? Also, I'm pretty sure Chimay uses table sugar.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
I don't understand how its possible to hit the targeted SRM of 10-14 that beersmith gives using so many SRM-contributing ingredients. I am at 15 with just a half pound of special B and caramunich, and if I used dark candi it would push it way high. I don't care that much, but I'd like to understand how this works. Unless beersmith is wrong, then most dubbel recipes out there end up way too dark.

Also, how does leaving out sugar make something lighter? Also, I'm pretty sure Chimay uses table sugar.
He said that he found the original recipe too light, and when he left out the table sugar then he preferred it. Corn sugar ferments out completely, leaving little to no residual body. Leaving it out and aiming for the same OG is going to give you a higher FG and a fuller mouthfeel.

 
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:36 PM   #6
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I suggest using the .5 lb of aromatic which will give you the color you want. I'd also suggest carmelizing the sugar yourself (sugar + water + acid + heat = carmely sugar), which will allow you to control the color of the sugar and, I believe, makes some of the sugar less fermentable.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilishprune View Post
He said that he found the original recipe too light, and when he left out the table sugar then he preferred it. Corn sugar ferments out completely, leaving little to no residual body. Leaving it out and aiming for the same OG is going to give you a higher FG and a fuller mouthfeel.
Yessir, that's right. It was too dry (1.008) and a bit alcoholic with the sugar.

IIRC, my dubbel was a little over the SRM for style, over 17. The style guidelines as of 2008 say 10-17. You could use 1/2lb of syrup and bump the special b up a couple ounces. Don't leave out the aromatic. Really enhances the maltiness without adding a ton of fermentables.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smizak View Post
Yessir, that's right. It was too dry (1.008) and a bit alcoholic with the sugar.

IIRC, my dubbel was a little over the SRM for style, over 17. The style guidelines as of 2008 say 10-17. You could use 1/2lb of syrup and bump the special b up a couple ounces. Don't leave out the aromatic. Really enhances the maltiness without adding a ton of fermentables.
This all makes sense now. I'll try Jamil's recipe, minus the table sugar, with a lb of wheat thrown in.

Thanks a lot for your help!
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:59 PM   #9
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Use a little aromatic or, as some homebrewers do, a little honey malt.

 
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:23 AM   #10
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Have you tried decoction mashing? It's a contentious topic, and I'm sure people will disagree, but I think you can wring a lot of malt flavor out of 2-row by decocting, instead of using a 'specialty malt soup' to get the flavor.
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