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Darker Biere de Garde Recipe?

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Omahawk

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Hey all. Looking for input and experiences making a Biere de Garde on the darker side of the style. I made one on the lighter side a few years back, and thought I’d amp up the medium toasted malts this time.

I’m hoping to avoid the darker caramel flavors, so I’m using a lighter Caravienne for the slight caramel contribution.

1.072 SG, 25 IBU, 17 SRM

8 lbs Pilsener malt 2SRM
3 lbs Munich malt 10SRM
1 lb White wheat malt 2SRM
12 oz Caravienne 22SRM
6 oz Special roast 50SRM
3 oz Carafa Special III 470SRM
1 lb dark brown sugar in boil

1oz Perle at 60 minutes
1oz Hallertauer at flameout

WLP011 European Ale or WY 1007 German Ale

Shooting to have it finish at ~ 1.01 SG.

Thanks for your input and experiences!
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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Planning to do single infusion mash at 148F/64.5C to keep it dry.
 

SoCal-Doug

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The Biere de Garde is an tough nut to crack. There are more definitions and interpretations than carter has liver pills. My understanding is it is basically the French version of a farmhouse ale (notice I did not say Saison, there was a difference in France compared to French speaking regions of Belgium). They sometimes used a lager yeast and was brewed in the winter for consumption during spring planting and fall harvesting. Hence the name "Beer to keep" or "beer for keeping". From what I've read, very few were "dark dark" but generally darker than a farmhouse ales or saisons. Darker golden was most common and they did not have the variety of grains that we do now. None of the ales, saisons or Biere de Garde's were high alcohol. The purpose was to hydrate and refresh those that worked the farms and fields. Not get them $hitfaced. They were meant to be more sessionable as we think about it now, and fairly low hopped, typically with a earthy and floral type like Saaz. Some had no hops at all because they had no access to hops, and they used spices instead.

My recommendation would be to stay with a good Pilsner malt and wheat. Use some Special B (or similar) for deeper color and robust character rather than all the "burnt barley". Definitely 148 max on the mash, single infusion is fine. Dry that puppy out as best you can. At this point you have a fork in the road. A high attenuating saison yeast (3711 or Dupont type), a very clean ale yeast, or lager it. Any of those would be true to style depending on the region so that's up to your tastes. Pay no attention to flocculation or clarity. There was no such thing back then.

I'm not a fan of sugar additions to farmhouse ales, saisons or Biere de Garde's. My opinion is it's an American thing to boost the alcohol and give a perception of dryness. Use hearty flavorful grains, mash low, attenuate high, and use the right yeast.

Just an opinion and some wont agree :)
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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The Biere de Garde is an tough nut to crack. There are more definitions and interpretations than carter has liver pills. My understanding is it is basically the French version of a farmhouse ale (notice I did not say Saison, there was a difference in France compared to French speaking regions of Belgium). They sometimes used a lager yeast and was brewed in the winter for consumption during spring planting and fall harvesting. Hence the name "Beer to keep" or "beer for keeping". From what I've read, very few were "dark dark" but generally darker than a farmhouse ales or saisons. Darker golden was most common and they did not have the variety of grains that we do now. None of the ales, saisons or Biere de Garde's were high alcohol. The purpose was to hydrate and refresh those that worked the farms and fields. Not get them $hitfaced. They were meant to be more sessionable as we think about it now, and fairly low hopped, typically with a earthy and floral type like Saaz. Some had no hops at all because they had no access to hops, and they used spices instead.

My recommendation would be to stay with a good Pilsner malt and wheat. Use some Special B (or similar) for deeper color and robust character rather than all the "burnt barley". Definitely 148 max on the mash, single infusion is fine. Dry that puppy out as best you can. At this point you have a fork in the road. A high attenuating saison yeast (3711 or Dupont type), a very clean ale yeast, or lager it. Any of those would be true to style depending on the region so that's up to your tastes. Pay no attention to flocculation or clarity. There was no such thing back then.

I'm not a fan of sugar additions to farmhouse ales, saisons or Biere de Garde's. My opinion is it's an American thing to boost the alcohol and give a perception of dryness. Use hearty flavorful grains, mash low, attenuate high, and use the right yeast.

Just an opinion and some wont agree :)

First off, thanks for the thoughtful reply. Good stuff in here to consider. Today is a good day, as I’ve started it off by learning. I googled what “more ______ than Carter’s has liver pills” meant. Very interesting origins: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter's_Little_Liver_Pills. :yes:

I should have noted that I’ve never had a good version of a Biere de Garde, which makes my search more difficult than usual. I’ve had Jolly Pumpkin’s version which was much more of a sour than what I want. So I’m only interested in this style based on what I’ve read. Mostly due to the fact that it’s such a unique beer. Your post added to the “lore”.

I agree on yeast - I’m hoping for neutral character. I’d read somewhere (Jamil?) that the European Ale yeast is neutral and appropriate. In addition to the two options I noted, it’s crossed my mind to try a basic lager yeast like Saflager 34/70 at my current basement temp of 60. Don’t care about flocculation on this one. I’ll likely add gelatin at kegging time.

The sugar comment makes sense, given the age and origin of this beer. However, it makes me wonder if the expectations for dryness on this beer are unreasonable and historically inaccurate. With a grainbill that includes some Carmel malts, the noted dryness level seems unreasonable without simple sugars or adjuncts.

I’m with you and the roasted grain note. Adding the dehusked carafa was my compromise to get color. But it always feels like cheating. Despite my preference for avoiding the darker Carmel flavors, I’m considering a combo of Special Roast, Caramunich, and Special B to get the darker copper color. Should still get ~ 15 SRM which is about what I was shooting for.

Thanks, Doug!:rock:
 

SoCal-Doug

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Whoops, sometimes I slip with a phrase that might be a bit out of date. Sorry about that :)

For me, it's fun to dig into origins and try to be more authentic. But honestly at other times I taste a brew and think "I don't care whats in it or if its accurate to style, that's fricken yummy". Some of my favorite beers are Belgian/French and German/Czech. If you have a good bottle shop in your area, maybe do a little googling on the imports available from that region and pick up a few different bottles. Have a personal tasting then zero in on what you found to be most tasty. Compare all the clone recipes you find around the interwebs and see what's common to them.

Keep us posted on your progress and results!!!
 
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Omahawk

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Whoops, sometimes I slip with a phrase that might be a bit out of date. Sorry about that :)
No need to apologize. Fun to read up on the history of “snake oil”!

For me, it's fun to dig into origins and try to be more authentic. But honestly at other times I taste a brew and think "I don't care whats in it or if its accurate to style, that's fricken yummy". Some of my favorite beers are Belgian/French and German/Czech. If you have a good bottle shop in your area, maybe do a little googling on the imports available from that region and pick up a few different bottles. Have a personal tasting then zero in on what you found to be most tasty. Compare all the clone recipes you find around the interwebs and see what's common to them.
Agreed about history vs beer I want to drink. I like the idea of a 7% dry malty beer, even if the 18th Century French farmers weren’t drinking EXACTLY that beer. It’s a unique combination and I’m going for it.

I’ll definitely check out the local bottle shop and see if they have the real French version (I see Castelain and De Saint-Sylvestre are more common imports).

My LHBS is looking into getting the WLP 011 ordered for me today. If not, I’ll probably just go the Alt bier strain.

Brewing in a week or two. I’ll post recipe and results.
 
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Omahawk

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The European Ale yeast came in, so here is where I’m at for recipe:

9.5 lbs Pils malt
3 lbs Munich 10
1/2 lb Special Roast
1/2 lb Caramunich II (60 L)
3 oz Carafa Special II

1oz Perle @60 min
1 oz Hallertauer Mittlefrueh at flameout

1.5L starter for WLP 011 European Ale

SRM = 15
IBU = 26
OG = 1.064 with 70% efficiency on no sparge
Mash at 147F

I eliminated the brown sugar and am getting my desired copper red color from the Caramunich II, Special Roast and Carafa Special dehusked. Dropped the wheat just to simplify.

Planning to brew after Christmas.
 

SoCal-Doug

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Brew it. Definitely let us know how it turns out. It sounds like a malt and caramel forward, fairly dark ale. The yeast is clean but a low attenuator.
 
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Omahawk

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Brew it. Definitely let us know how it turns out. It sounds like a malt and caramel forward, fairly dark ale. The yeast is clean but a low attenuator.
I saw in the other thread that you step mash yours. Do you do that for dryness, conversion, or for pH reasons?
 

SoCal-Doug

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I saw in the other thread that you step mash yours. Do you do that for dryness, conversion, or for pH reasons?
Acid rest: Yup. Tried it without it, pH hits about 5.6. With it, I get about 5.3. The pH is also adjusted and well mixed before the protein rest begins and that's a good thing for that objective, as well as being stabilized long before the Sacc rest. I could use lactic or phosphoric acid... but in all these years, the recipe hasn't broke so why fix it. I push the button for the next temp and pour another cup of coffee while I watch it work, I'm not in a hurry :)

Protein rest: There are no under-modified malts in use so technically a protein rest is not required for enzyme activity or conversion. However, some malts that suffer from clarity and chill haze issues, can be mitigated with a protein rest. I found this to be very much the case with my grain bill. It will also "thin" out some brews and that is exactly what I wanted to do. In order to maintain that thin and dry character but still have some head retention, I added back in a pinch of CaraPils.

Sacc rest: 148, maybe 149, depending on where the moon is, seems to be about right. That temp versus the Dupont and the 3711 blend, and there wont be much left in a week. I'm surprised the 3711 doesn't break down the wall of the fermenter (that stuff really is attenuationly midevil).

Good malt flavor. Dry as hell. Funky but not overpowering yeast character. Light floral/citrusy hops. That was my goal. It probably took 6 or 7 test batches to nail it.
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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You may want to check out the Domaine Du Page clone recipe that was featured in BYO magazine, a you tube video and a discussion here on HBT:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/two-brothers-domaine-dupage-recipe.142820/

I brewed my own version w/Wyeast French Saison yeast and it came out pretty good but could probably use some tweaks.
Thanks for sharing. I haven’t had that beer before - I notice the high mash temp - is this beer pretty “thick” body? I know that WLP 550 attenuates more than my European Ale yeast.

I was interested in the recipe and entered it in my BeerSmith. I only get 10 SRM with that recipe, but I like the simple grain bill.
 

madscientist451

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The original post asked about the darker side of the style, you could use the above clone recipe and tweak it somewhat, depending on what flavors you are looking for. Its been a while since I brewed it, so I can't remember a whole lot about the body.
Not sure if I'd use the 550 yeast on this, but that's just my preference.
One way to "darken" the clone recipe would be to pull the first 3-4 quarts of runnings and get it boiling in a side pot while your fly or batch sparge is going on, basically reduce it until its thick and dark. You'll have to constantly stir it and watch it so it doesn't get scorched. Then add that thickened goo to your main boil. You'll have to adjust your sparge water to make up for what is lost to evaporation in your side pot boil.
 
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Omahawk

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Not sure if I'd use the 550 yeast on this, but that's just my preference.
I agree. I’m going for malt neutral with slight esters at most.

One way to "darken" the clone recipe would be to pull the first 3-4 quarts of runnings and get it boiling in a side pot while your fly or batch sparge is going on, basically reduce it until its thick and dark. You'll have to constantly stir it and watch it so it doesn't get scorched. Then add that thickened goo to your main boil. You'll have to adjust your sparge water to make up for what is lost to evaporation in your side pot boil.
I hadn’t thought of doing a pseudo-decoction. Good idea. I might work that in - my Carafa addition seems like cheating.
 

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Very good discussion on Bière de garde. It is not easy to find. I am currently putting together a recipe after a long and ventrous reserach travel around the Interwebz. I also agree on knowing the history and modern facts and then brew a beer I might like in that range.

@Omahawk How did your beer turn out?

@SoCal-Doug What is your experience on bioling time? I am leaning on 120 minutes to get the OG and som more colour and malenoid characters.
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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Very good discussion on Bière de garde. It is not easy to find. I am currently putting together a recipe after a long and ventrous reserach travel around the Interwebz. I also agree on knowing the history and modern facts and then brew a beer I might like in that range.

@Omahawk How did your beer turn out?

@SoCal-Doug What is your experience on bioling time? I am leaning on 120 minutes to get the OG and som more colour and malenoid characters.
Just saw this. My notes indicate that I didn’t like it early on (at 2-3 months age) due to some “misbalance” between malt flavors and hop flavors. I did 3:1 CaCl to gypsum on water additions so it should have accentuated the maltiness. It really dried out (1.062 to 1.008) in attenuation. I noted that at about 6 months it got some oxidation and mellowed our the harsh edges.
 
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