"Realfort" 6, 8, and 10 (Rochefort Recipe Discussion)

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Big Monk

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First, excellent work with this. I spent the last hour when I should have been working reading all the linked threads.

For homebrewing purposes, what would you use in place of "wheat starch"? Flaked wheat seems to be what people in the other threads used. I've used wheat flour before and it worked fine, but it's messy to work with.
 
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First, excellent work with this. I spent the last hour when I should have been working reading all the linked threads.

For homebrewing purposes, what would you use in place of "wheat starch"? Flaked wheat seems to be what people in the other threads used. I've used wheat flour before and it worked fine, but it's messy to work with.
Probably corn starch. From my previous post:

Amidon translates to Starch and in this case we know from BLAM and other sources that it is Wheat Starch. In BLAM, the change from maize to Wheat Starch is quoted as having to do with "concerns about genetic modification" which given the Abbey, may have been driven by religious concerns. I would say that Wheat Starch and Corn Starch may be interchangeable here. That would be up to the brewer.
I would think you could use corn starch here. BLAM doesnt come right out and say that they used to use corn starch, but the fact that they are reference starch in particular, and they used to use maize, points toward the fact that corn starch may have been used.
 

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And if you'd prefer not to support the corn industry, as apparently Rochefort doesn't anymore?
 
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And if you'd prefer not to support the corn industry, as apparently Rochefort doesn't anymore?
Well if it's based on moral grounds as opposed to the religious ones I assume Rochefort has, then I would say to procure wheat starch, like Rochefort does. You can get it online very easily. An alternative would be a wheat flour with lower protein content.
 
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I edited the OP to include my stab at Rochefort 6, 8 and 10.

The 8 and 10 are scale ups of the basic structure of the 6, except with a percentage of Special B and mixed sugars.
 
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One thing I forgot to discuss was the use of coriander. I'll discuss here and attach it above as well.

Typically homebrew dosing for coriander is 1 ozm/5 gallons, typically dosed near the end of the boil. That translates to a dosing rate of:

~1.5 g/l

The assumption I made was that the volume to the fermenter for Rochefort is ~75 hl or ~7,500 l. Since they are using 1 kg of Coriander in the above recipe sheet, that would make thier dosing rate:

1,000 g / 7,500 l = 0.133 g/l

That is much less than typically shown in homebrew settings. It also matches the advice given by Gumer Santos in BLAM. It is all about subtlety and you should dose accordingly.
 
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A little more sleuthing turned up that Aramis hops may have replaced the Hallertau sometime around 2015.
 

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Good stuff. It's worth noting that Pursuit of Abbeyness' attempts to "be inspired by" Rochefort 10 have concentrated of late on getting the sugars right, it seems to be a really vital part of the story for those big beers.

I think the coriander thing may partly be a function of timing and ingredients - some of the coriander available from supermarkets is pretty miserable dried up stuff, whereas no doubt the stuff you buy by the kilo is rather better. Also the main flavour compounds in coriander are the same terpenols that contribute to the flavour of Citra, Mosaic etc and I suspect that you're losing a lot of them by putting them in the boil, whirlpooling coriander would be more effective?
 
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Good stuff. It's worth noting that Pursuit of Abbeyness' attempts to "be inspired by" Rochefort 10 have concentrated of late on getting the sugars right, it seems to be a really vital part of the story for those big beers.

I think the coriander thing may partly be a function of timing and ingredients - some of the coriander available from supermarkets is pretty miserable dried up stuff, whereas no doubt the stuff you buy by the kilo is rather better. Also the main flavour compounds in coriander are the same terpenols that contribute to the flavour of Citra, Mosaic etc and I suspect that you're losing a lot of them by putting them in the boil, whirlpooling coriander would be more effective?
I think Turbinado and Raw Cane Sugar are the way to go. Also CSI Brun Fonce.
 

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And this goes in the mash? Mixed in cold water, and then brought to mash temp? I'm highly intrigued.

Based on the above percentages, that's roughly a pound and a quarter of corn starch in a 5 gallon batch. That just seems like a sludge fest waiting to happen. Has anyone tried this?
 

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I've never attempted to brew Rochefort or even thought about it, but I've drank way too many to count and even have a 1.5l of Rochefort 8 in my cellar. I always wondered about the finish on this beer. One thing that fascinated me with Rochefort was the tart/tangy/dry finish that it has and I've read people contribute it to minerals, but I've played with minerals enough in my beers to know that there was no possible way that the finish was contributed to this. When I read that you're adding Coriander I was intrigued as to how your beer finishes.
 
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I think I’m going to revise the recipes tomorrow to
And this goes in the mash? Mixed in cold water, and then brought to mash temp? I'm highly intrigued.

Based on the above percentages, that's roughly a pound and a quarter of corn starch in a 5 gallon batch. That just seems like a sludge fest waiting to happen. Has anyone tried this?
Yes. It has to be mashed. It’s pure starch.

I’ve used wheat starch before. I tend to no sparge and have pretty high water to grain ratios so I didn’t have any issues. You might want to increae your water to grain ratio a bit to make sure things don’t get too thick.

I’m considering revising the recipes in the morning to remove Special B from the 8 and 10. Most of what I can dig up shows a timeline from BLAM to around 2015 and it seems that both the 8 and 10 are strictly scaled up versions (with varying sugar % and combinations, i.e. cassonade and sucrose) of the 6.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Special B (I didn’t always!), but I want to stay as true to the actual recipes as I can.
 
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I've never attempted to brew Rochefort or even thought about it, but I've drank way too many to count and even have a 1.5l of Rochefort 8 in my cellar. I always wondered about the finish on this beer. One thing that fascinated me with Rochefort was the tart/tangy/dry finish that it has and I've read people contribute it to minerals, but I've played with minerals enough in my beers to know that there was no possible way that the finish was contributed to this. When I read that you're adding Coriander I was intrigued as to how your beer finishes.
Rochefort adds coriander as well, so I can’t claim any original thoughts on that one. My research and proposed recipes are aimed a staying true to the actual recipe(s).
 
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Good stuff. It's worth noting that Pursuit of Abbeyness' attempts to "be inspired by" Rochefort 10 have concentrated of late on getting the sugars right, it seems to be a really vital part of the story for those big beers.
His attempts are, let’s say, interesting.

I’m not quite sure where he is getting his info/inspiration from but I noted a few things:

1.) Molasses just seems inappropriate to me in a Trappist inspired Ale or clone;
2.) Getting the color correct is easy once you realize they use a Sinamar type malt extract colorant;
3.) Roasted malts are inappropriate to me in a Trappist inspired Ale or clone;
4.) Attenuation is on the low side;
5.) Pepper?!?!

Not ragging on the guy but wondering if we are aiming for the same Rochefort 10?
 
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I revised the first 2 posts of the thread to reflect some further sleuthing from last night and changes to the recipes.
 

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His attempts are, let’s say, interesting.

I’m not quite sure where he is getting his info/inspiration from but I noted a few things:

1.) Molasses just seems inappropriate to me in a Trappist inspired Ale or clone;
2.) Getting the color correct is easy once you realize they use a Sinamar type malt extract colorant;
3.) Roasted malts are inappropriate to me in a Trappist inspired Ale or clone;
He seems to have started with BLAM and then experimented from there, but he does seem a bit more concerned with the spirit of Belgium (eg using cheap local sugars rather than £££/$$$ attempts to replicate Belgian sugars) than a literal clone. Without the lightbulb of a colourant like Sinamar or similar then he's chasing colour with flavourful ingredients, in the same way that USians mistakenly try to use crystal to colour match British beers that are coloured with caramel. But at the same time I think he's on to something with trying to make "basic" sugars more flavourful with caramelisation etc, so in that regard playing with sugars is more authentic than using eg Special B.

4.) Attenuation is on the low side;
He's using 1762 which attenuates the Wyeast standard wort to 77%, rather than WLP540 which attenuates the White Labs standard wort to 82%. Maybe with the actual Rochefort (multi?)strain he would do better. But to be fair he's explicitly been trying to up the FG a little after overdoing the attenuation a bit for his taste in previous brews.


5.) Pepper?!?!
Got a lot of the same compounds as coriander, there's a good summary of the various "peppers" here - Fuller's throw in 1kg into their imperial IPA at flameout.
 
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He seems to have started with BLAM and then experimented from there, but he does seem a bit more concerned with the spirit of Belgium (eg using cheap local sugars rather than £££/$$$ attempts to replicate Belgian sugars) than a literal clone. Without the lightbulb of a colourant like Sinamar or similar then he's chasing colour with flavourful ingredients, in the same way that USians mistakenly try to use crystal to colour match British beers that are coloured with caramel. But at the same time I think he's on to something with trying to make "basic" sugars more flavourful with caramelisation etc, so in that regard playing with sugars is more authentic than using eg Special B.



He's using 1762 which attenuates the Wyeast standard wort to 77%, rather than WLP540 which attenuates the White Labs standard wort to 82%. Maybe with the actual Rochefort (multi?)strain he would do better. But to be fair he's explicitly been trying to up the FG a little after overdoing the attenuation a bit for his taste in previous brews.




Got a lot of the same compounds as coriander, there's a good summary of the various "peppers" here - Fuller's throw in 1kg into their imperial IPA at flameout.
I'm certainly not trying to disparage what he is up to. To each their own. Those were just the things that jumped out at me.

It strikes me that he is after more of the Quadrupel thing. Or more of a Westvleteren thing rather than Rochefort.
 

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Brilliant, absolutely brilliant and interesting as well! Just out of curiosity why does corn starch need mashed vs tossed in boil? Really awesome read and I have a bunch of other questions, but I will reserve them for until I brew it. I have a hard time picking what I want to brew and right now I am leaning towards colonial brown ale. One question I have is does sinamar have flavor? Thanks again for the work, I love recipes from breweries and they are hard to decipher so I appreciate your doing the work for us.
 
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Brilliant, absolutely brilliant and interesting as well! Just out of curiosity why does corn starch need mashed vs tossed in boil? Really awesome read and I have a bunch of other questions, but I will reserve them for until I brew it. I have a hard time picking what I want to brew and right now I am leaning towards colonial brown ale. One question I have is does sinamar have flavor? Thanks again for the work, I love recipes from breweries and they are hard to decipher so I appreciate your doing the work for us.
Corn starch or wheat starch have to be mashed because they are starch. They require conversion to become sugar.

As for Sinamar, at the levels most would use it, there should be no flavor impact at all.
 

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I see POA has written a response to this thread :
https://pursuitofabbeyness.com/2019/02/26/on-clones-colour-and-cassonade/

“Roasted malts are inappropriate to me in a Trappist inspired Ale or clone”, disregards their presence in, for example, Achel’s beers and, according to Hieronymus again, in St. Bernardus Abt 12, “for aging stability”.

I suspect, however, that the objection to “molasses” might be a simple matter of mistranslation from English English to American English.

When someone from the US says “molasses”, they tend to mean the syrupy waste product from refining cane sugar. In the UK we are more likely to call that “treacle”. For us, “molasses” tends to mean “molasses sugar”, which is simply the least-refined of the raw cane sugars available on the market, the one with the highest molasses content. As the photograph in my post last February showed, I use molasses sugar from Billington’s for both colour and flavour, supplementing a larger body of ordinary brown sugar which is there mostly for fermentation.
Can't argue with the quote from Noel Blake :
“Think like a Belgian, brew like a monk. That is, make a distinctive beer that is expressive rather than imitative, and dedicate yourself to it as if there is nothing else in life.”
 
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I see POA has written a response to this thread :
https://pursuitofabbeyness.com/2019/02/26/on-clones-colour-and-cassonade/


Can't argue with the quote from Noel Blake :
“Think like a Belgian, brew like a monk. That is, make a distinctive beer that is expressive rather than imitative, and dedicate yourself to it as if there is nothing else in life.”
It's an interesting response to say the least. I disagree with how esoteric people try to make recreating these beers. It's about extract content, flavor, and color. The monks don't generally care how they get there as long as flavor is preserved. If I could summarize the most important points:

  1. Get the extract right, i.e. quality and quanitity;
  2. Get the color right without using roasted malts;
  3. Get the sugars right for a particular beer;
  4. Proper fermentation and attenuation;

To each their own. I never meant to rag on the guy. He obviously took it that way. I myself have my own ideas and original recipes that keep the spirit. This discussion was solely about Rochefort and the research, I think, is thorough and backs up my ideas. I don't make any specific claims about other Trappists beers (Chimay, Westmalle, etc.) and my comments detailing my own opinions on these beers relates to my original recipes.

If POA is tuning in, he may find more detailed info here:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=33089.0

The AHA post is the most current as I had issues with the edit button timing out here at HBT.
 

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To each their own. I never meant to rag on the guy. He obviously took it that way. I myself have my own ideas and original recipes that keep the spirit. This discussion was solely about Rochefort and the research, I think, is thorough and backs up my ideas.
FWIW I didn't see anything on either side that looked like "ragging", just robust but respectful debate between two fans of abbey beers. We all benefit from the research that you share with us.
 
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FWIW I didn't see anything on either side that looked like "ragging", just robust but respectful debate between two fans of abbey beers. We all benefit from the research that you share with us.
He sounded a bit miffed. I left a comment on that blog post and it's still awaiting moderation. It was never my intention to disparage him, that's for sure.

I'm with you. I think it's a good discussion. I think that he took some of what i said and pegged me as a beer cloner. That's not really my thing. I have a pretty idiosyncratic method to these beers and Rochefort is the only one i have ever had enough info on to even attempt to clone.
 
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According to the Homebrew Chief old paper based on brewery visit they use Pilsner malt, 5% of wheat starch, Caramel malt, dextrose and dark cassonade
Mash schedule is:
Protein rest 122°F/50°C
Saccharification
Mashout 170°F/76°C

Hops (“Belgian and German Noble”) added in 90 min boil at 80 and 10 mins
Sugar added 15 min before boil end

Fermentation starts at 66°F/19°C up to 73°F/23°C

Not sure about the date of the visit.
 
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According to the Homebrew Chief old paper based on brewery visit they use Pilsner malt, 5% of wheat starch, Caramel malt, dextrose and dark cassonade
Mash schedule is:
Protein rest 122°F/50°C
Saccharification
Mashout 170°F/76°C

Hops (“Belgian and German Noble”) added in 90 min boil at 80 and 10 mins
Sugar added 15 min before boil end

Fermentation starts at 66°F/19°C up to 73°F/23°C

Not sure about the date of the visit.
I believe around 2007. That’s when the Brewing Network show aired.

I’d say no caramel in the 6. I’d brew the 8 and 10 as I have them listed above and if you feel the need to add a caramalt in, I’d go with Special B or CaraAroma in small amounts to taste.

Given what the color has been like recently in the production beers and the flavors, I can really only see this making a difference, and only maybe, in the 10. I would definitely steer clear of any roasted malts and only use caramalts over 100 °L, which doesn’t leave much.
 

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While I was buying some Rochefort beers for further research:drunk:, I noticed that the shops state different OGs compared to the ones you give.

Are your OGs from BLAM?

The OGs for 6, 8 &10 according to the shops are 16,5°P; 20,8°P and 24,5°P.

It's common for German shops to state the OG, so I wonder which one should be trusted if trying to reproduce something similar to a Rochefort.

And thanks for the work, helps a lot, my first try was a miserable failure.
 
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While I was buying some Rochefort beers for further research:drunk:, I noticed that the shops state different OGs compared to the ones you give.

Are your OGs from BLAM?

The OGs for 6, 8 &10 according to the shops are 16,5°P; 20,8°P and 24,5°P.

It's common for German shops to state the OG, so I wonder which one should be trusted if trying to reproduce something similar to a Rochefort.

And thanks for the work, helps a lot, my first try was a miserable failure.
Yes, the O.G. values I quote are from BLAM. The ones you show seem very high but I’ll look into it.
 
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While I was buying some Rochefort beers for further research:drunk:, I noticed that the shops state different OGs compared to the ones you give.

Are your OGs from BLAM?

The OGs for 6, 8 &10 according to the shops are 16,5°P; 20,8°P and 24,5°P.

It's common for German shops to state the OG, so I wonder which one should be trusted if trying to reproduce something similar to a Rochefort.

And thanks for the work, helps a lot, my first try was a miserable failure.
I checked the Merchant du Vin website (the North American distributor for Rochefort) and thier Numbers align more closely with BLAM.

I’m not sure where your shop got it’s numbers from. The 10 in particular seems very high, as well as the 8.
 

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Hm, that's strange. I wonder where the online shops get their numbers from.

Well, the 6 is my main priority right now, so I'll just start somewhere between 16.5°-17°P
 

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To really get the final product "right" wouldn't it be necessary to make sure that the ratio of extract (from the grain) vs. the added sugar is the same as for real Rochefort? To do this would require knowing the mash efficiency at the Rochefort brewery, as well the homebrewer's typical mash efficiency. Anyone have any insight into Rochefort's mash efficiency?

Brew on :mug:
 
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To really get the final product "right" wouldn't it be necessary to make sure that the ratio of extract (from the grain) vs. the added sugar is the same as for real Rochefort? To do this would require knowing the mash efficiency at the Rochefort brewery, as well the homebrewer's typical mash efficiency. Anyone have any insight into Rochefort's mash efficiency?

Brew on :mug:
The original analysis I did in Excel accounted for their grain weight, known volumes and an educated guess at what their efficiency would have been.

While it’s true there could be differences in beers made with ratios with huge deltas compared to Rochefort, I can’t see it making a huge difference here. I’ve gone down the whole “Sugar as a % of Grist weight vs. Sugar as a % of Extract” thing and found that it’s essentially a wash, i.e. if a home brewer doses sugar based on extract they tend to be adding more sugar by weight than the larger brewery with higher efficiency.

It’s best to stick with dosing by % weight. Or maybe I have that reversed.

The more conservative would be to dose by extract because the final product would have less sugar because of lower grain extract.
 

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does anyone know if they bottle with the same yeast? I've made beers with the bottle dregs and the starter behaves much differently (huge krausen) and tastes way fruity ... actually nicest, most fruity starter beer I've ever tasted. I've made a bdsa, imperial stout and neipa with it and all were great beers.
 

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The original analysis I did in Excel accounted for their grain weight, known volumes and an educated guess at what their efficiency would have been.

While it’s true there could be differences in beers made with ratios with huge deltas compared to Rochefort, I can’t see it making a huge difference here. I’ve gone down the whole “Sugar as a % of Grist weight vs. Sugar as a % of Extract” thing and found that it’s essentially a wash, i.e. if a home brewer doses sugar based on extract they tend to be adding more sugar by weight than the larger brewery with higher efficiency.

It’s best to stick with dosing by % weight. Or maybe I have that reversed.

The more conservative would be to dose by extract because the final product would have less sugar because of lower grain extract.
I did some calculations for the Roch 10 recipe, and for a mash efficiency of 90%, the percent of extract from the mash would be: 78.85%, and from added sugar 21.15% of total dissolved solids in the wort. If mash efficiency were only 75%, and the recipe unaltered, the percent of extract from the mash would be 75.65%, and added sugar 24.35%. The ratio in the first case is 3.73 extract/sugar, and the second case 3.11. Is that enough to worry about? IDK. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Brew on :mug:
 
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