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SpanishCastleAle

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I'm about to order the ingredients for a Belgian Dubbel but wanted to clear some things up first.

I plan to bottle-condition it and I'm assuming that I'll need to add yeast at bottling time. What is the easiest/most fool-proof method for bottling a ~7% ABV beer that's been in a secondary @ 50o F for a month? I haven't bottled in...almost forever.:eek:

Do I use the same yeast? If I try to use a 'regular' ale yeast at bottling is it just gonna peter out due to the high alcohol?

Is it preferable to add the corn sugar (or dark syrup if I decide to go to the trouble) after fermentation takes off? I realize it's probably not necessary @ ~7% ABV but will it make for healthier yeast? Will it make the yeast tend to ferment the 'more difficult' sugars a little more? I'm wondering if the yeast see all that simple sugar (at pitching time) and decide to take the lazy route and don't fully ferment the more complex sugars...is that even an issue?

Lastly, when reading articles I've read that you can use pale or pils as the base...but then you need Aromatic, Biscuit, Special B, Munich, Caramunich, Crystal and also people use brown malt and even small amounts of roasted barley. Thanks for narrowing it down.:D I don't think I need every one of those (but some are essential I imagine...like Special B). I've also read that the Crystal might not be the best choice. In any case, which do you consider essential to a dubbel and which if any do you think are not (perhaps even not appropriate)?

Any help appreciated. Thanks!
 

IowaHarry

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I would expect the yeast to still be active. I have never had to add more yeast to bottle. You should be using a yeast appropriate to the style so it can handle the higher alcohol levels you can find in a dubbel.

I see pils as a common base malt which I believe calls for a protien rest as well. A dubbel is dark dark dark so something has to bring it. Dark belgian candi sugar as well. Look over some of the recipes in the recipe forum for tips to the odd malts that would be appropriate.
 

carnevoodoo

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I would expect the yeast to still be active. I have never had to add more yeast to bottle. You should be using a yeast appropriate to the style so it can handle the higher alcohol levels you can find in a dubbel.

I see pils as a common base malt which I believe calls for a protien rest as well. A dubbel is dark dark dark so something has to bring it. Dark belgian candi sugar as well. Look over some of the recipes in the recipe forum for tips to the odd malts that would be appropriate.
I will agree with the yeast still being active. I've had good luck with bottle conditioning up to about 10% with the Belgian yeast strains I've used. My favorite for this style is the 530 from White Labs.

Pils is more true to style, but I find that pale malt works ok in a dubbel. Pils is more necessary when you're making a delicate beer. However, if you do use pils, you don't need a protein rest. A single step mash is perfectly fine. I would suggest a longer boil due to the increased DMS levels in pils.

As for ingredients... You're fairly right on with the specialty grain. Look at any recipe and you'll see that. I've never used roasted barley in mine. Seems a little out of style to me.

Adding sugar can be done at boil in a recipe like this. You're going to get good attenuation, especially if you ramp up your temperatures over time. I wouldn't bother with corn sugar if you are going to use sugar. Just use regular table sugar. If you're going to use dark syrup, I'd suggest the regular dark candi syrup. The D2 is way too fruity for a dubbel. If you are thinking about using it sometime, though, I would say go for it. It adds a great level of complexity.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks for the responses. I had intended to use Pils and skip the protein rest for the reasons you stated. Thanks for the boil time tip.

I plan to use either Rochefort (WLP540/Wyeast 1762) or Westmalle (WLP530/Wyeast 3787) yeast. I was leaning towards the Rochefort at this point.

I wouldn't bother with corn sugar if you are going to use sugar. Just use regular table sugar. If you're going to use dark syrup, I'd suggest the regular dark candi syrup.
Some threads/people say it doesn't matter where others say the dark syrups def add some flavors that regular corn/table/rock candi sugars don't. If the dark syrup makes a difference then I want to use it.

A dubbel is dark dark dark so something has to bring it.
I thought the Special B did the heavy lifting regarding color?

Just as a quick test I ran this grain bill thru an online calculator and got an SRM of 26 (20 is supposedly max for the style):
10# Pils
1# Aromatic
1# Biscuit
1/2# Special B
1# Dark Candi Syrup

1.071 OG @ 75% efficiency (5 gal. batch)

If I sub 1# of cane sugar for the dark syrup it's SRM = 17 (which appears to be perfectly in-style). Even half syrup/half cane is SRM = 22 which is still too dark. How the heck do you get a decent amount of Special B and dark syrup in there without getting too dark?

Does that grain bill look OK for a 5 gal. batch? Does anybody think Munich malt is a must in a dubbel?
 

carnevoodoo

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I like a little munich from time to time. It will add a red tint to the beer and a bit more of a malty, sweet profile. If you are going to add munich, I'd cut the special b to 1/2 pound and use 1/2 pound of munich.

Using Dark syrup, you're going to get darker beer. I made a dark strong sort of a beer with a bottle of D2 and it went from light amber to looking like a dark strong. If you are concerned with being exactly to style, then you may want to limit it, but the flavors the syrup imparts are really awesome.

And yes, the Special B will darken it up just fine.

Edit: I also see a difference in flavor when it comes to the syrup. Not so much the candi rocks.
 

gtweath

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True dubbels use dark syrup for MOST of the color. Don't go overboard with a bunch of different malts...Pils or pale, a little special b, a little aromatic and dark syrup, allowing the yeast to provide flavor. Also use some corn or cane sugar to lighten the body. Don't use roasted barley. Dubbels are dark reddish or brown, but not inky black.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks gtweath...that's exactly what I was looking for. So simplifying the grain bill:

11# Pils
1# Aromatic
1/4# Special B
1/2# dark candi syrup
1/2# cane sugar

1.071 OG @ 75% efficiency (5 gal. batch). Predicted SRM = 17. At 78% apparent attenuation that should be ~7.1% ABV.

No Biscuit, no Munich, and only 1/4# Special B.
 

Shawn Hargreaves

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A pound is a lot of aromatic - I'd cut that to half. Anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of special B should be good.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks Shawn...I've never used Aromatic that I can remember.

The thing about 1/2 pound of Special B is that if I also use dark candi syrup I can only add about 1/4 pound of it before the whole brew is too dark. I originally had 1/2 pound Special B but gtweath said that MOST of the color should come from the dark syrup so I had to cut it back to 1/4 pound.

Here's a recipe I found that is allegedly JZ's from Brewing Classic Styles:

6.75 gallon batch, 85% efficiency, OG - 1.065, FG - 1.012, ABV = 7.0%, SRM = 22

10.6 lbs. Belgian Pils
1 lbs. Belgian Munich
.5 lbs. Belgian Aromatic
.5 lbs. Belgian Caramunich(R)
.5 lbs. Belgian Special B
.75 lbs. Dark Candi Syrup
.5 lbs. Cane Sugar

Yeast: White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale

However, at SRM = 22 this is above the guidelines for color. That looks like 81.5% apparent attenuation...do these Belgian yeasts really pull that off?
 

Shawn Hargreaves

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I used half a pound of aromatic in an amber, and it was tasty but on the extreme side of the spectrum. I'd be wary of going higher than that.

Regarding color, I wouldn't worry too much about the style guidelines unless your main aim is to win competitions. "Style" for Belgian ales is a slippery concept: in fact many of the finest Belgian brews are way outside the BJCP guidelines!

Belgian yeast can attenuate incredibly well if you treat them right: good pitching rate, good temperature control (rising toward the end of fermentation), and a highly fermentable wort (low mash temp and lots of sugar).

I've never managed to get 81% attenuation, though! Jamil does well not just because he has good recipes, but also because his process and fermentation management are spot on.
 

Whisler85

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i would stick with the half pound of special b, and go with half a pound of the aromatic- biscuit is optional but fairly similar to aromatic as far as color is concerned

dont be afraid to use the full pound of syrup- JZ's dubbel calls for 3/4 pound syrup PLUS 1/2 pound of cane sugar- use too little of these sugars and the body will be too heavy

i would also definitely use munich/vienna and/or caramunich/caravienna- the malty flavors they give you would be much missed- they are sort of a bridge between base and specialty malts

also, if you are worried about enough yeast in the bottle, try adding some of the fermentis safbrew T-58 its a belgian style yeast that is dried (so it will be much cheaper) and you dont have to worry about flavor too much since it is just for carbonation

also, if you look through "brewing classic styles" jamil has the guidelines for each style before he gives you the recipe, but a lot of his recipes dont fit all the parameters he gives- he must just worry more about taste than fitting the guidelines
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks for the help. I don't have to stay within style guidelines but I just find it a bit more challenging. It's too easy to just go out of style whenever your recipe happens to take it there. This brew is a great example because if I use the amounts of Special B and dark Candi Syrup that most people recommend...it's too dark. So the challenge is to make the brew 'just as good'...but within the color (and other) guidelines.

Regarding the syrup...I'm trying to use as much as possible while not getting too dark...then using cane sugar for the rest. Maybe I can shoehorn some more in there.:)
 

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Nice thread! Let me make a few observations.

1. If you can tell the difference between 20 and 22 SRM, you're a better judge of beer color than anyone I've ever met. ;) I wouldn't worry about that parameter.

2. Both Aromatic and Special B are very potent specialty grains. A quarter pound of each in 5 gallons is enough, IMO.

3. Don't worry about reseeding yeast for bottling. It may take longer, but there will still be sufficient yeast in suspension to carbonate the beer. Just be patient.

4. 80+% attenuation can be accomplished with the yeasts you listed. Be certain to pitch an appropriate amount of yeast and manage the ferment. Control temperatures and keep an eye on it. I've personally fermented Trappist High Gravity to well over 13%ABV.

Cheers,

Bob
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks NQ3X. I can't tell the difference between 20 and 22...but the higher I go the smaller my fudge factor.:D

I just placed the order and got some extra specialty grains just so I'm covered (seemed silly to not get a pound of biscuit/caramunich/etc for only $1.80/pound). I'll have to find a use for what I don't use...I ordered lots of extra Pils too.

I wonder why certain yeast strains that are supposed to be the same are a 'seasonal' yeast from White Labs but a regular strain at Wyeast? This site from MrMalty says the WLP540 and Wyeast 1762 are the same Rochefort strain but it's only available seasonally from White Labs. I feel better having a rigid vial shipped but since the WLP540 is unavailable I got the Wyeast 1762 (Belgian Abbey II).
 

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I assume seasonal strains are ones that don't sell enough to be worth producing year round. As yeast needs to be reasonably fresh, and there is presumably a minimum volume that can reasonably be cultured, it would make sense to only occasionally grow up a batch of the more obscure strains.

Note also that even where White Labs and Wyeast started with the same strain, these are subtly different due to the way they isolated and cultured the yeast. Knowing the origin of a strain gives you a good clue as to how it will behave, but some people have noticed differences between White Labs and Wyeast strains that originated at the same brewery.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks Shawn. I have noticed other inconsistencies with those yeast cross-references. I think it was Wy2206 Bavarian Lager and White WLP820 Oktoberfest (I just found this out with my Vienna Lager)...Wyeast listed the AA as 73%-77% but White Labs says 65%-73% (basically at the other end of the lager spectrum) even though they are supposedly the same strain.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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I made my own dark candi syrup for my upcoming dubbel...thread about it (with pic) is here. I have no idea if it's like D or D2...but it's dark and not burnt so I'm using it. 3/4 pound of this stuff in a 5 gal. batch seems like a lot though.
 

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I just drank my first all grain beer last night. A dubbel.
11 lbs pils
1 lbs aromatic
3/4 lbs special B
1 lbs dark candi sugar (the stuff that looks like crack)
It is a deep red but not dark. The malts are barely perceptible at this point, the yeast steals the show. I imagine in a few months the malts will come through more but only time will tell. I used the same yeast you are using and hopped it in the neighborhood of 15-18IBU
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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Cool bbrim!

Right now my recipe is tentatively (5 gal.):
10# Belgian Pils
1# Belgian Munich
.5# Belgian Aromatic
.25# Belgian Special B
.5# SCA Dark Candi Syrup (SCA is Spanish Castle Ale ;))
.5# Cane Sugar

At 75% eff. and 78% AA that should yield:
OG - 1.068
FG - 1.015
SRM - 17
ABV - 6.8%
Keeping IBUs in the low/mid 20s, no hop flavor, very light noble hop aroma.

This is similar to scaled down version of JZ's except I'm using a little less Special B and not using any Caramunich (although I have some if I change my mind).
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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The latest Zymurgy arrived in the mail and inspired me to steal my first pour last night...it's 2 months early but I wanted to give it a try. This is already an awesome beer. The malt/fruit complexity is amazing. I wanna just start drinking it now but I'll try to be good and wait. If it already tastes amazing is it really gonna improve that much more?

I ended up doing this:
8.5# Pils
1# Lt. Munich
.25# Carapils
.25# Aromatic
.25# Caramunich
.25# Special B
.5# Dark Candi Syrup
.5# Cane Sugar

Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II (Roquefort)
~27 IBU with Hallertau
Soft water
Decoction Mash

OG - 1.070
FG - 1.011

This recipe is very close to one of the recipes in that artcle in Zymurgy...just by coincidence (and help from HBT!).:mug:
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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No, I wussed out and kegged it. I haven't bottle-conditioned in so long and didn't want the carbonation to be anything less than perfect...so I kegged it. I do plan on bottling some from the keg...but that's not the same thing.

One day I'd like to get some of those bottles that you cork (and cage I guess) but that's down the road a bit...someday.
 

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I don't have a keg setup, and I'm trying to decide on the bottling as well. Not gonna get the right CO2 vols. with my bottles, need to score some champagne splits.

FYI, I contacted Wyeast about using a different strain for bottling, they recommend it for bigger belgian beers. They claim that the yeast can get crapped out after ripping through the sugars so fast, coupled with the alcoholic enviroment. I used 3787 and it was a crazy ferment, blew off for two days, but it stopped immediately and dropped in like 12 hrs.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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I used 3787 in a Tripel. I haven't even tasted that one yet but the Enkle I brewed to propagate the yeast is very spicy (from the yeast). I could see how that 3787 spice could be addictive! It's very nice.

TBH, I'm not sure how much fruitiness I'm getting from the yeast in this Dubbel. There's just so much going on in that department and I used Special B and Dark Candi Syrup which both have ripe fruit going on. I assume the fruity aroma is more from the yeast and the ripe fruit flavor is more from the Special B/DCS. It's not like it pummels you with fruit though...it starts out kinda fruity but then finishes drier than you'd expect. 'Complex' is the best word I can think of.
 

smizak

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My recipe is very similar, special-b and dark syrup too. I wasn't impressed with the hydro sample at two weeks, but it was obviously flat and green. It finished pretty dry, 1.010 from 1.072, and I didn't detect any higher alcohol or harshness so I'm pleased. I'm gonna have to soak that carboy for a week, there's so much yeast globbed up in it!
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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That doesn't surprise me about the hydro sample not tasting very good. That 3787 is FUNKY when it's young. The Tripel I brewed with it stunk up the bathroom really badly and I didn't even have the stomach to taste the hydro sample. The 1762 didn't stink up the room like that at all. I think it's just the spice from the yeast...given time it'll probably be awesome.:rockin:

I think it's one of those things that's nasty in excess but in the right amount it's awesome.
 

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Hey Spanish I was just "searching" HBT to come up with Dubbel recipes and info. BINGO!! This post has it all. You and I were right in step with our double decoc lager brews this winter but seems you got ahead of me with the Dubbel:) I'm hoping to brew this for the nextfall/winter drinking season. Great post and will post when I brew. You did a decoc mash, what temps and decoc amounts did you use? I'm thinking 149F for mash temps? Single decoc?
Thanks Charlie
 
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I did what I call an Combo Infusion/Decoction mash. And I haven't tasted enough brews using it to really comment on the effectiveness and I'm always tweeking. But here's how it goes, you'll have to figure your exact volumes, don't worry about being too exact on the decoction volumes, and just add heat anytime you come up low on the temps:

1) Heat water in step 4 to near boiling. Important to do this first.
2) Strike with an approx. 0.8-0.9 water:grain ratio (qt:lb) to rest @ 99o F just long enough to measure/correct pH.
3) Immediately pull thick-mash decoction (all grain, about 0.75 qt per pound of grain, so if 10# grain bill pull ~7.5 qt decoction). I use a strainer to get all grain and leave the liquid behind.
4) Infuse decoction with approx. the same amount of water used in step 2 @ 212o F to rest @ 158o-160o F for 5 min, test for conversion. Check mash temp before you add the last couple of quarts just to make sure you don't overshoot. It's about perfect on my equipment.
5) Boil decoction for 40 min. You shouldn't have to add any water during the boil but monitor it and add some if required.
6) Add decoction back to mash to rest @ 148o-150o F for 60 min, test for conversion. Again, monitor temp when adding the last couple of quarts and don't overshoot. It's about perfect on my equipment.
7) Pull thin-mash decoction (all liquid this time, try to get about the same volume as the strike water volume) and boil for 12 min. I press a collander down into the mash and scoop liquid from inside the collander.
8) Add decoction back to mash to mash out @ ~168o-170o F.
9) Lauter/sparge with appropriate amount of water to achieve target volume.

I try to go from doughing-in to adding the first thick decoction back to the mash as fast as possible. Don't worry about complete conversion for the decoction...you'll get it all later. I used to rest in the protein rest range here but decided to try resting in the acid rest range...I didn't like leaving the mash at protein rest temps for all that time I'm piddling with the decoction.

I'm doing a DunkleWeizen this weekend and I'm gonna try some sort of Hockhurtz decoction...I think a protein rest will be OK with this grain bill (essentially 50:50 Wheat malt-Dark Munich).
 

balto charlie

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I did what I call an Combo Infusion/Decoction mash. And I haven't tasted enough brews using it to really comment on the effectiveness and I'm always tweeking. But here's how it goes, you'll have to figure your exact volumes, don't worry about being too exact on the decoction volumes, and just add heat anytime you come up low on the temps:

1) Heat water in step 4 to near boiling. Important to do this first.
2) Strike with an approx. 0.8-0.9 water:grain ratio (qt:lb) to rest @ 99o F just long enough to measure/correct pH.
3) Immediately pull thick-mash decoction (all grain, about 0.75 qt per pound of grain, so if 10# grain bill pull ~7.5 qt decoction). I use a strainer to get all grain and leave the liquid behind.
4) Infuse decoction with approx. the same amount of water used in step 2 @ 212o F to rest @ 158o-160o F for 5 min, test for conversion. Check mash temp before you add the last couple of quarts just to make sure you don't overshoot. It's about perfect on my equipment.
5) Boil decoction for 40 min. You shouldn't have to add any water during the boil but monitor it and add some if required.
6) Add decoction back to mash to rest @ 148o-150o F for 60 min, test for conversion. Again, monitor temp when adding the last couple of quarts and don't overshoot. It's about perfect on my equipment.
7) Pull thin-mash decoction (all liquid this time, try to get about the same volume as the strike water volume) and boil for 12 min. I press a collander down into the mash and scoop liquid from inside the collander.
8) Add decoction back to mash to mash out @ ~168o-170o F.
9) Lauter/sparge with appropriate amount of water to achieve target volume.

I try to go from doughing-in to adding the first thick decoction back to the mash as fast as possible. Don't worry about complete conversion for the decoction...you'll get it all later. I used to rest in the protein rest range here but decided to try resting in the acid rest range...I didn't like leaving the mash at protein rest temps for all that time I'm piddling with the decoction.

I'm doing a DunkleWeizen this weekend and I'm gonna try some sort of Hockhurtz decoction...I think a protein rest will be OK with this grain bill (essentially 50:50 Wheat malt-Dark Munich).
Thanks, WOW! I will have to read then re-read this. Why boil some water to add to thick mash for decoction. Why not a thin mash take half and bring to boil. Maybe this speeds up the process? Looks like an interesting process. How long does the entire brewing take....6 hours? Thanks again Spanish. I'll post and ask more questions when I am ready to roll.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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It's mainly just to speed it up and specifically shorten the low-temp rest as much as possible. I originally did this with a protein rest (no acid rest) and I didn't like leaving the mash at the protein rest temp for so long...so I devised this combo decoction/infusion mash. Infusing the thick decoction get's it up to conversion temp faster and shortens the protein/acid rest of the main mash. A potential side benefit is that the low-temp rests (acid/protein) benefit from a thick mash and the sacc rest benefits from a thinner mash (or so I've read)...and that's exactly what you get doing this.

Also, FWIW I've measured the pH of the decoction after the infusion and it was still good...maybe 0.1-0.2 points higher. But that will depend on your water and grain bill.
 

syd138

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Regarding the question about adding yeast at bottling time..

I just bottled a dubbel. I had it in the primary for a month.. the secondary for a month.

Bottled it last week.. opened it 6 days later just to see how it was doing, and it was very well carbonated.
 

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I'm working on a Dubbel recipe using 530 loosely based on Jamil's.

Just had one thing to add: SCA, you were worried about color. Are you using BeerSmith's default color for the syrup? It is way up there at 275 SRM I think. D2 Dark is only 100 SRM though. I will be making my own most likely, so neither of us will really know what color we have, but it may very well be much lower that 275.

Maybe you could add 5% of the syrup to 5% of the water volume (in the fermenter) and get a rough idea of where your color will be due to the syrup.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

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hammacks,
I used 80 SRM just because that's what the D and D2 syrups are rated at. I'm guesstimating it's 12-ish SRM.

Also, I've never used BeerSmith, I use a spreadsheet I made a long time ago.
 

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Regarding the question about adding yeast at bottling time..

I just bottled a dubbel. I had it in the primary for a month.. the secondary for a month.

Bottled it last week.. opened it 6 days later just to see how it was doing, and it was very well carbonated.
Good to know, I bottled without re-yeasting, we'll see how it goes.


As to the Beersmith SRM values, I used 80 for the D syrup when I did my dubbel and it's spot on color wise.
 
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