Any one brew the Tafelbier?

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g_rath

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I was thinking about making this and was just wondering if any one has made it and how it turned out. Sounds like a good lawnmower beer with a Belgian twist.
 

SnickASaurusRex

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I don't know what that is. Could you post more info? Maybe a link to a product or a description.
 

Ego Archive

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This months Zymurgy had an article with a "Schoolhouse Tafelbier" recipe, that might be what the OP is referring to. After looking at the article, I have to admit that I'm curious as to how bold (Flavor wise) I could make a 2-3% beer.

I'm thinking if you used a good amount of Vienna, and the carmelizetion method, you might be able to fake the body....
 
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g_rath

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Yes that was what i was talking about. I tried to edit my post but something was messed up and I didn’t have time to mess with it.
So I just decided to try it for fun. I will let you know how it turns out.
 

MVKTR2

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Time to Zombify this thread, after all it's one of 4 hits I got when googling Tafelbier! :D

My question is the same as the OP, has anyone attempted this brew? It appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of Zymurgy. Apparently the back story is that in 2001 there was a Belgian Pilot program to replace sodas with low alcohol bier in schools, about 2%. The result was apparently termed Tafelbier.

Original Recipe below:
Note 1 gallon of first runnings are to be caramelized/boiled for 1 hour.

For 5.5 gallons:
3.75 lb Belgian Pilsner Malt
1.0 lb Caravienne Malt
0.25 lb Aromatic Malt
0.5 oz Saaz 3.2% (60 min)
1.0 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (5 min)
Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale

OG = 1.025
IBU = 7.2
SRM = 6.0
 

Nugent

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Tafelbier, "table beer"...must be a variation on a theme for "table wine" aka Blue Nun, et. al. :confused:
Blue Nun ... shudder ... my nana used to drink that, or dry white with a teaspoon of sugar in it. Ugh.

Seriously though, a very interesting idea and story about serving it to school kids. When I see my students have a can of soda and a packet of chips at 9 am, really how can this be worse for them? Wouldn't fly up here either - our booze laws are even more 'temperate' than those in the US.
 

STEVENJAN

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I actually made a low alcohol beer. 1# Wheat DME with 1 cup Corn sugar in a 2 gal. primary (I used my Mr. beer Barrel) It is 2.2 abv It tastes ok.
It is a little thin. I drink it when I am really thirsty but I don't want a quick buzz. I have a couple of bottles left.
I would try some flavor enhancers like the pepper in the Zymurgy recipe. I think it has endless possibilities. How about some orange oil? Just thinking out loud. I might try an amber DME or a dark. Something with a little more body. Put some honey in it maybe.
 

MVKTR2

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My idea was to brew this with a slightly different grain bill to try for more body/mouthfeel. Also thought I'd add a little homemade candy syrup to keep it in the belgian tradition. I'll probably hit this recipe in a couple months.

% LB OZ Grain
60% 3 2 Belgian Pale
19% 1 0 Belgian CaraVienne
7% 0 6 Belgian Candy Sugar Light info
7% 0 6 Wheat, Torrified
6% 0 5 Belgian Aromatic

.325 oz Tradition @ 60 Min 6AAU

Yeast WLP 550

Essentially I took the original recipe, added wheat for a little body (might need to add more), candy sugar for character, & reduced the base malt to offset the other additions.

Has anyone brewed it?

Schlante,
Phillip
 

MVKTR2

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Funny, I'll actually be making this recipe this weekend, but I'm going to do it with pilsner extract and wing it. It might turn out terrible, who knows.
Terrible? I doubt it. I think the key is to mash at 155 and make sure you have enough specialty malt to keep a decent mouthfeel.

Keep us updated on how it turns out! Inquiring minds that want to brew this or something similar want to know!

Schlante,
Phillip
 
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I made this and put it on tap. I thought it was fantastic.

Upright Ale - All Grain 5g
2# Maris Otter
1# Victory
1# Crystal 90L
0.5oz Fuggle @ 60m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 10m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 5m
1 packet Fermentis S-04

OG 1.013
FG 1.003
IBU: 11.7
ABV: ~2%
 

Nugent

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I made this and put it on tap. I thought it was fantastic.

Upright Ale - All Grain 5g
2# Maris Otter
1# Victory
1# Crystal 90L
0.5oz Fuggle @ 60m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 10m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 5m
1 packet Fermentis S-04

OG 1.013
FG 1.003
IBU: 11.7
ABV: ~2%
Could you describe what it's like? What do the high percentages of specialty malt do to the flavour?

A more 'British' style mega-low alc beer does appeal to me more.
 
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The British twist is what I was after when I made it. I used the specialty malts in large percentage because I needed to add a lot of flavor and body, or rather the perception of greater body, without having a lot of added sugar that would increase the gravity. The last thing I wanted was a watery low ABV beer. The final product has bread and nutty notes that are countered with bitterness of the hops and the floral aroma of the late addition.

Although the malts catch the eye in the recipe, the beer really highlights the Fuggle hops, or at least my batches always have. I keep a keg of this on tap pretty much all the time and have found that I frequently reach for this in place of soda. Good luck.
 

Nugent

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Alright. Cool.

Is it safe to assume that you mash fairly high to get more body? Any other process tips that you have found important?

Thanks a lot. Keen on trying this.
 

jangelj

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I made this and put it on tap. I thought it was fantastic.

Upright Ale - All Grain 5g
2# Maris Otter
1# Victory
1# Crystal 90L
0.5oz Fuggle @ 60m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 10m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 5m
1 packet Fermentis S-04

OG 1.013
FG 1.003
IBU: 11.7
ABV: ~2%
Hmmm, how bout an extract version?
 

MVKTR2

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Hmmm, how bout an extract version?
While you could do something like this with extract, it probably won't be optimal due to a thin mouthfeel. That's the reason for much discussion about higher mash temps in so many low abv beer threads here, you need to do it to control the fermentability of the wort and thus the 'wateriness' factor. However a work around might be to add any number of the products available for adding mouthfeel.

As for a recipe I'm too lazy to do that! Solution? Go to hopville.com and enter in the specialty malts, hops, & yeast in the amounts specified. Then add light liquid or dry extract, whichever you prefer, till you get an OG matching the recipe. Voila you've made an extract recipe.

Schlante,
Phillip
 

Sithdad

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I believe they originally served Tafelbier in schools prior to 1991 and then switched to juice, I imagine like Hawaiin Punch. I believe the instances of child obesity went up significantly so that may be why they are trying to go back to the tafelbier.
 
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I mashed higher than I usually do, like 157-158, and I used a slightly thicker mash to try to get some extra body out of it. There isn't a lot of available sugar in the recipe so if you tend to have lower efficiency on your system you may want to tweak the grain amounts to ensure there are enough fermentables. Good luck!
 
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I don't do much with extract lately, but after you asked I decided to take a look at it. I think I've got a bit of an idea, I should be able to brew it up tomorrow. I'll let you know when I get an idea of how it turns out.
 
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Here is the extract attempt. Should be able to make it tomorrow or the next day depending on how long my Cascade Lager brew takes. I'm using items on hand and trying to replicate the original as best I can. It will probably end up a bit lighter in color though.

1.25# Light DME
1.25# Amber DME
8oz Malto Dextrine
4oz Victory - Steeped 30m @ 168F
4oz Crystal Malt 120L Steeped 30m @168F
0.5oz Fuggle @ 60m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 10m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 5m
Safale S-04

I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

MVKTR2

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November, do keep us updated. Even though it's not tafelbier I think we all would like to know how it turns out. If you haven't brewed this yet, I suggest upping your victory and carmel malts, as anything you can do for body will be good. Also be careful of making it too bitter as this can add to a small bier feeling thin, or at least that's my experience.

Schlante,
Phillip
 

Babachewy

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I did something sort of like this last year, I ran off a small beer after making a Tripel. Sugar was added to bring the gravity up to 1.030. It was brewed with WLP550 and spiced with coriander and black peppercorns.

It was watery with zero Belgian yeast character. The pepper dominated the flavor. Still, not the worst thing I've ever brewed, pretty refreshing. If I did it again in the future I'd run it off of a stronger beer and add some crystal malt, but no sugar.
 

Nugent

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I'm planning on making a half batch with leftovers of what I'm calling, with help of my friend whose family is Dutch, Engelstafelbier (sp? gr?). Here's what my plan is -

2.5 gal batch (I've been itching to use my 16 l carboy)

1.5 lbs. Gambrinus ESB malt
0.50 lb. Crystal 70-80L
0.50 lb. Biscuit

0.25 oz. Fuggles @ 60
0.25 oz. Fuggles @ 10
0.25 oz. Fuggles @ 5

Wyeast 1968

Est. OG - 1.026
Est. FG - 1.007
SRM and IBU both - 12.4

Planning on following Deathbrewer's stovetop, grain bag method. Being conservative on efficiency at 70%. I normally get 75%-78% with my mash tun. Will mash at 156-158 for 45 mins.

Will keep in touch with this one. Any thoughts would be welcomed and appreciated.
 

JNye

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I made this and put it on tap. I thought it was fantastic.

Upright Ale - All Grain 5g
2# Maris Otter
1# Victory
1# Crystal 90L
0.5oz Fuggle @ 60m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 10m
0.25oz Fuggle @ 5m
1 packet Fermentis S-04

OG 1.013
FG 1.003
IBU: 11.7
ABV: ~2%
thats a cool recipe but i calculate the ABV @ 1.3%. I might try this but shoot for 2% by upping the MO or adding Munich...maybe some biscuit:cross:
 

Nugent

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So, in the process of having a brewday as bad as I had way way back in the early days, I managed to get the leftover-grain half-batch of the Engelstafelbier brewed. Hit the expected OG (1.026) and 71% efficiency - not bad for using a new system for the first time.

With all of the c%ck-ups that I had today, the paranoid side of my personality figures it'll be infected; the hopeful, optimistic side says "Wyeast 1968, don't fail me now!!"

We'll see. Sitting in a swamp cooler at 64 degrees.
 
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I had a long brew day. I did an AG IPA first and then started on the small beer. Turns out that I didn't have any extract on hand so the attempt at an extract version would have to wait. I did make another batch of the all-grain Upright.

As for the 1.3% calculation, I'm not sure, Beertools says 1.99 at 75% effeciency. All of the batches that I have made before have come out to about 2%. If you wanted a bit of insurance, I would say bump the Maris Otter to 3 pounds and that should be enough to cover the difference. Though, the idea of adding a pound or so of Biscuit malt sounds like a good idea too. Let me know how it turns out.

Nugent- Sounds like your day went better than mine. Good luck and keep me posted.
 

JNye

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I used Beersmith and your OG and FG, I didn't enter the malts. Shouldn't be any differences on the calculation, but i dunno who's is right. I read a little about Victory and it sounds to similar to Biscuit, so if i do this I prolly won't add the biscuit.
 

Nugent

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So, bottled this morning and had a sample. Started at 1.027 and finished at 1.008, so it should be about 2.5% ABV.

Nice colour from the crystal malt. Clear as a bell from the 1968.

Though obviously flat, it's quite good. The crystal comes through as the dominant malt characteristic, but the hopping was enough that there is balance. While it is a bit watery (at least uncarbed it is), it isn't thin by any means. The specialty malts and high, short mash did the job of building body for such a low alc beer. It's a bit like a 'milder' mild. We'll see what three weeks of bottle conditioning does.

The saga continues ...
 

MVKTR2

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Thanks for the update Nugent. I'm guessing that the most important aspect of the recipe on this approach is yeast selection, it's got to be a very flavorful strain to add complexity to such a simple product. Will be following your progress as it will be more than a month maybe 2 before I get around to brewing up one. I'm probably going with a belgian approach though I may go with a saison... who knows!

Glad yours turned out with a 1.008 fg, not too dry for such a small brew.

Schlante,
Phillip
 

Nugent

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Well ... 16 days in the bottle and figured that it was time to have a go.

Still needs a bit of time to carb up, but certainly not flat.

- Malty, slightly sweet aroma (not surprising with the amount of crystal)
- Slightly sweet, toasty/bready flavour. Very malt forward (again, not surprising). No significant bitterness, but enough there.
- The choice of a character-filled English yeast was a good idea. Fruitiness of the yeast is balancing out the potential harshness of the high amount of crystal.
- Certainly not thin, but the lack of alcohol as an element of the flavour is not very apparent.

In all, I'm very pleased with this as a first try. I would certainly make this again. Will have to taste a few more to get an idea of what I'd change next time, but this has the potential to be a regular brew. Something to have with lunch, the nights where light is best or the last one of the night.

Will maintain updates. Good luck to everyone else with this.
 

Shooter

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Well, I just sampled the tafel bier, 3 1/2 weeks in the bottle. It's much better than I anticipated. I made it with pilsner dry extract and wasn't expecting much. I was really worried about mouthfeel. I wanted to add 4 oz of maltodextrine, but didn't have any on hand at the time. However, it doesn't really seem thin. The beer started around a 1.026 and dropped to around a 1.006 in the end. It's a fairly carbonated bottle, but it's not too bad actually. The pepper flavor is mild, but the yeast did add a few interesting notes. Honestly, I think I'll brew this again. I may tweak it a little, but I think I've found a pretty decent, low ABV, summer beer.
 

jangelj

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Well, I just sampled the tafel bier, 3 1/2 weeks in the bottle. It's much better than I anticipated. I made it with pilsner dry extract and wasn't expecting much. I was really worried about mouthfeel. I wanted to add 4 oz of maltodextrine, but didn't have any on hand at the time. However, it doesn't really seem thin. The beer started around a 1.026 and dropped to around a 1.006 in the end. It's a fairly carbonated bottle, but it's not too bad actually. The pepper flavor is mild, but the yeast did add a few interesting notes. Honestly, I think I'll brew this again. I may tweak it a little, but I think I've found a pretty decent, low ABV, summer beer.
mind sharing you recipe?
 

Shooter

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mind sharing you recipe?
Sure, it was the standard recipe online and found at the beginning of the thread. I just substituted extract, with a couple of very minor changes, hops were a little higher AAU, but only a little. I just did it as a partial boil recipe on my stove top, because I was too lazy to drag out the propane burner.

Batch Size: 5.5 Gallons

3 lbs Pilsner DME (All-Grain substitute 3.75 lbs Pilsner Malt)
1 lb Caravienne
.25 lb Aromatic
.50 0z Czech Saaz (4.0% AAU) - 60 minutes
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper – 5 minutes

Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale

OG 1.028
FG 1.006
IBU 7
ABV 2.9%

The recipe calls for taking the first gallon of runnings and boiling to reduce by half to caramelize it. Since this was an extract version, I didn’t really have that option. I ended up doing a three gallon boil with half the DME and the hops for 60 minutes and, in a second pot, boiled the remaining DME in a gallon of water, but I’m not sure how much I got from that really. I carbed the sample bottle to around 2.5 volumes.

I sampled a little more of it last night. It’s not bad, I think there’s room for improvement and I think I’m going to play around with it a little. Like I said, it’s not overly thin, though I think 4 oz of maltodextrine might still be an improvement. I also don’t think the pepper came across that strong and really think I could have used a little bit more. I’m just happy to have found a low ABV beer, other than a mild, that seems to have some possibilities.

It would probably be improved by doing a grain version and caramelizing that first gallon of runnings. I might try that, but I'm kind of looking for an easy version of this recipe that I can keep on hand most of the time. So, if I can tweak the extract version a little, I'll probably stick with it.
 

MacBruver

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I randomly found a reference to tafelbier when I was looking through the wikipedia article on Belgian beers.. I will definitely be trying this! I may try to squeak a few more IBU's in there... nothign crazy, bump it up to 15 or so, and then add a touch of dry hopping for some nose.
 

randomsample

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I'd like to get in to making small beers, and I'll be watching this thread closely.

The closest I've gotten was my first all grain (BIAB). I somehow turned BM's Centennial Blonde into something lighter than BMC. Refreshing, if not particularly flavorful.
 

JNye

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i used the 3rd runnings of the saison furtif recipe and came out with 2.5 gallons of 2.5% alcohol. I hopped it to about 18 ibu and it turned out wonderful. I also had to boil the hell out of it just to get my OG so that may have helped with mouthfeel. But you would NEVER guess it was very low abv, but you could drink 2-3 after work and feel just fine. I used white labs 360 if that matters.
Next time i'll make more...
 

JKaranka

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At 2.5%+, IBU 7+ and a combination of crystal and biscuit malts I would say this is a British mild!

You can try the Finnish 'kotikalja' that is fermented for 24 hours (then cold crashed), uses rye malt, bakers yeast and no hops... that definitively is a beer for kids!
 

MVKTR2

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I've made at least 4 or 5 sub-3.5% abv offerings. I think generally when brewing simplicity helps. However in smaller biers which I probably have brewed 60% sub 4.5% abv biers, it generally helps to have a fairly complex grain bill.

For instance victory malt to enhance the bready character, 2 varieties of caramel to add complexity on that front, etc. Just a thought.
 
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