Belgian Dark Strong Ale Rochefort 8 clone (as close as you can get)!

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MagicLarry

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
Belgian Abbeyll (Wyeast #1762)
Yeast Starter
No, I\'m lazy and use two packs
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter
no
Batch Size (Gallons)
5.5
Original Gravity
1.078
Final Gravity
1.018
Boiling Time (Minutes)
75
IBU
26.2
Color
27.6
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
23 days @ 69-70
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
14 days @69-70
Additional Fermentation
Bottle condition for at least two months
Tasting Notes
It\'s everything you would expect from our monk brewing friends... great beer!
10.92 lb Pilsner (2 row) Belgian (2.0 SRM) 70.24%
1.73 lb Caramunich Malt (46.0 SRM) 11.13%
0.58 lb Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) 3.75%
0.58 lb Special B Malt (114.0 SRM) 3.75%
0.23 lb Carafa special dehusked (302.0 SRM) 1.47%
1.50 lb Dark Belgian candy sugar (100 SRM) 9.65 %
1.73 oz Styrian Goldings [4.20%] Boil 60 min
0.75 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.50%] Boil 30 min
0.39 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.50%] Boil 5 min
0.38 oz coriander seed Boil 5 min (Crush first)

MASH PROFILE

Protein rest Add 12.64 qt water at 156.2F to get 142F for 30min
Saccrification Add 11.23 qt water at 170.2F to get 154F for 60 min
Mash out Add 9.83 qt water at 205.6 to get 168F for 5 min
Begin Vorlauf then drain Mash Tun
Sparge with 0.73 gallons of water at 168F

Carb with 4.83 oz corn sugar

This is the award winning recipe by Hermann Holtrop from a Rochefort 8 clone comp that was held in the Netherlands. I think it's very close to the original Rochefort 8. A little darker then the original, but just as tasty... enjoy! If you can't find Carafa Special, Carafa l (337.0 SRM) will work well but will be a bit darker so scale back a bit.
 

Bernie Brewer

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Hmmmm now we two of the same recipes in this category. Monk-y-Shines is the same, almost word for word. we must have gotten our recipes from the same source.
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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I got the recipe from an article Herman Holtrop wrote about the competition. He wrote the recipe metric and I just converted it. As far as the similarities in the recipes... well you must have good taste in beer!
 

tronnyjenkins

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I made an extract version batch, converted from this recipe.
Transferred to secondary Sunday, so I'll keep ya updated as well.

Made my own roasty tasting Belgian Candy.
However, I decreased the Carafa. Mine is a nice clear, but decently dark color.

I haven't even tasted Rochefort 8, but figured if it was an award winning recipe how could you go wrong??
 

tronnyjenkins

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I think we ended up using .2lb. The LHBS just recommended barely backing it off.
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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I've never used corn. What does it add to the beer?
It's actually pretty neutral (depending on amount). I really only use it in cream ales and some times pilsners. I'm assuming Holtrop used it in his recipe to reduce a little bit of the maltiness, and up the ABV without having to sacrifice color (darker) by adding more grain. The first time I saw the recipe I wondered why flaked corn (doesn't seem to fit in a dark Belgian Ale), but I just went with it. I really don't know if it would make a difference with or without. If left out, you might lose a bit of sweetness, but I've never brewed the recipe without it and always had a great result.
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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I made an extract version batch, converted from this recipe.
Transferred to secondary Sunday, so I'll keep ya updated as well.

Made my own roasty tasting Belgian Candy.
However, I decreased the Carafa. Mine is a nice clear, but decently dark color.

I haven't even tasted Rochefort 8, but figured if it was an award winning recipe how could you go wrong??
So how did it turn out?
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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So I'm happy to say that this beer won 1st place at a local comp this weekend in its respective category. It was bottled May 14th, so a little over 5 months conditioning. Going to put most away until next fall/winter and taste then. For those of you who like a dark Belgian strong ale please give this one a try. Thank you Mr. Holtrop!
 

tronnyjenkins

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Mine turned out pretty well. I named it "Green Cap".
Since I have now gone all grain, I would like to try it again in the future, as it didn't taste very much like Rochefort.

I'd say it is my favorite out of all 5 extracts I attempted though.
 

Tall_Yotie

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How long for this brew does it need to age before it starts to actually taste like a Rochefort? Trying to figure out my patience.
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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It's decent after 2 months in the bottle, but if you can wait for it to hit the 5 month mark it starts to get really good. This recipe is a prime example of how bottle conditioning will affect the beers flavor in a positive way.
 

Tall_Yotie

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Apparently I can not be patient enough. I forgot the fermentation schedule, saw that the brew was at the SG reading I was expecting as a FG (1.014, bit drier), and thought it was 2 weeks (not 3) in the primary. So I racked at what I thought was 2 weeks, but actually it was 1 week! I guess I will just let the brew sit in the secondary for 4 weeks then, to make up for it.

Already tasting good though, despite a bit of a banana flavor that I was hoping to avoid. I guess even temperature control doesn't stop the yeast always from doing that. That paired with that I had to go with WLP500 as my LHBS doesn't carry the recipe's yeast nor WLP540.
 

Hex23

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I happen to have tried my first bottle of this recipe. It's only three weeks post bottling, but I just couldn't stay patient! I have to say that even this early it's almost spot-on. I did deviate a little from the recipe. I used 1 lb of D2 Dark Candy Syrup and 0.5 lbs of Dark Belgian Rock Candy. I've read about others using the Holtropp recipe doing similar. I just did a 5 week primary and did not add yeast at bottling time (I tried harvesting some from a Rochefort 10 bottle and failed). I also got a slight touch of banana flavor, but that is likely due to poor temperature control in the first 18 hours. I made a very large starter and fermentation took off in under 2 hours and made lots of blowoff. The temp reached 77 externally, then I placed in a swamp cooler to get external temp down to 68. I'll try to do a better job of temp control next time.

Anyway, thanks for posting this. I love Rochefort and this is an excellent recipe.
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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I happen to have tried my first bottle of this recipe. It's only three weeks post bottling, but I just couldn't stay patient! I have to say that even this early it's almost spot-on. I did deviate a little from the recipe. I used 1 lb of D2 Dark Candy Syrup and 0.5 lbs of Dark Belgian Rock Candy. I've read about others using the Holtropp recipe doing similar. I just did a 5 week primary and did not add yeast at bottling time (I tried harvesting some from a Rochefort 10 bottle and failed). I also got a slight touch of banana flavor, but that is likely due to poor temperature control in the first 18 hours. I made a very large starter and fermentation took off in under 2 hours and made lots of blowoff. The temp reached 77 externally, then I placed in a swamp cooler to get external temp down to 68. I'll try to do a better job of temp control next time.

Anyway, thanks for posting this. I love Rochefort and this is an excellent recipe.
Glad you like it! 5 weeks in the primary is never a bad thing. As far as the yeast harvesting goes, I've never really had any luck with it either. Wyeast #1762 is a fine yeast for the recipe and no harvesting needed!
 

JeffB

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Im trying to harvest some #8 today, Ill report back.
 

Hex23

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Awesome! Good luck. I think my major issue probably was keeping the beaker and stirplate in my basement where it's 60F. That's definitely not an ideal range for that yeast. I let it go about 8 days before I gave up. By that time the nasties had taken hold.
 

JeffB

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How does it taste now with the additional two months?
 

Hex23

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It's definitely getting even better with age. Flavors are melding more and I'm tasting some more pronounced plum/raisin. It has also lost any of the early hot-alcohol taste it had on the first tasting. The banana flavor seems totally gone. I'm going to do a blind side-by-side with a real Rochefort 8, but I'm going to try to wait until it hits the 5 month mark.
 

rtg

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I just made this too. Found a thread that stated that the protein rest was 20 lites at 155, then 5 liters at 210 for 60 minutes and then 9 liters at 210 again to mash out. I sparged with 3 more liters. I ended up with a more volume than I needed! I had an PM extract version of this going at the same time with:

7 # Light DME
2# Maris otter
1.5 # Dark Candi sugar
1.5 # Crystal 40 L
0.5 # Special B Malt
0.2 # Carafa Dehusked

I PM the grains in a 5 gal pot and got the temp to 143 then held that in the oven for 30 minutes, raised the oven temp to 155 for 60 minutes and then to 170 for 5. I then did a 1 gal sparge and added the fluid from the Maize that had been boiled for 30 minutes.

I ended up with one all grain batch, and the rest mixed .

I will keep you all posted on the results.
 

Hex23

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I just made this too. Foung a thread that stated that the protein rest was 20 lites at 155, then 5 liters at 210 for 60 minutes and then 9 liters at 210 again to mash out. I sparged with 3 more liters. I ended up with a more volume than I needed!
Those temps are clearly strike temps. Was the thread you got that from using the same equipment as you did? How did your rest temps turn out?

I debated alot about how to mash this recipe. The 143/144 rest is not really in a protein rest range. I've found sources that call that temp zone an intermediate rest. I would think that temp range might be to increase fermentability which is important for such a high OG beer. I was going to just try a single infusion saccrification mash since I know my base malts were all well modified. But I'm not enough of a mash expert to know whether there was some good reason for the mash schedule called for by Holtrop, so I tried to follow it exactly, but based on my equipment's specific heat. I hit my mash temps pretty well, except for the mash out which missed 170 by about 10 degrees.

I had an PM extract version of this going at the same time with:

7 # Light DME
2# Maris otter
1.5 # Dark Candi sugar
1.5 # Crystal 40 L
0.5 # Special B Malt
0.2 # Carafa Dehusked

I PM the grains in a 5 gal pot and got the temp to 143 then held that in the oven for 30 munites, raised the oven temp to 155 for 60 minutes and then to 170 for 5. I then did a 1 gal sparge and added the fluid from the Maized that had been boiled for 30 minutes.

I ended up with one all grain batch, and the rest mixed .

I will keep you all posted on the results.
It will be really interesting to hear how they compare. I'm sure lots of people will be interested in a PM recipe for this.
 

rtg

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Here is the link that I used. I mashed according to the schedule listed on this link: And buy the way, my motivation was to prove to another so called home brewer, who failed on an all grain attempt at a R 10 clone, that after a few 10 dollar belgians at a local pub, that I would be the one who could do this...I did not tell him that I only had thus far brewed partial mashes at the most ;)...

http://www.szwayabrown.com/BeerAndMud/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/Rochefort_8_Clone.html

Since this was my first all grain, I chose to just be a student and follow the directions and learn .. I constructed a simple mash tun out of a cooler with a braided hose...

My strike temps were a bit high on the protein rest to about 146 so I stirred and let the stuff cool off. Eventually it went down to 141. The next rise got me to the exact temp of 155...as did the last Mash out to 168....

Anyways, I also did not mention that I just purchased 40 # of Maris Otter so I used this after having my wife use a coffee grinder ( newly purchased for this) to grind out 11 # of this ;$... .. Anyways I did not have a belgian base malt available, and I believe that the Maris Otter is pretty good stuff for a base malt, and probable does not need any protein rests...but as you have pointed out that my step mash probable was just a long 2 step saccrification. In any event, there was no more starch conversion on an iodine test after this ...

Have you found any real differences between the highly modified base malts on your finished products..is there a difference between the British and Belgian 2 rows?

Thanks...
 

Hex23

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That reference is to the original pro-mash recipe from Holtrop or some variant of it. Here is a page describing more of the original history behind this: http://www.reocities.com/iluvhops/brouwsel/rochefort8.html

It also contains a pro-mash recipe zip file, but I don't have a licensed copy of pro-mash. I just noticed that the boil time is 75 minutes. I only did 60 minutes. Not sure how I missed that. That could definitely make a difference.

I think the intermediate rest is definitely to increase fermentability, but the pure sugars should help take care of that. I only got my FG down to 1.010 and supposedly 1.008 is achievable.

I have no experience with Maris Otter, but I've heard it is a great base malt. I've used both British and Belgian 2-row, but unfortunately I don't have enough experience with switching between them in the same recipe to tell the difference. I'm sure some folks have an opinion.

Keep us up-to-date. It will be interesting to learn more about how different techniques affect the outcome. I wish I knew how it tastes without the D2 since that stuff is so expensive, but I saw a post by Denny Conn where he claims that D2 syrup is key.
 

Tall_Yotie

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So it has been about 2 months since I brewed this, and it is great! I wouldn't say it is exactly like a Roch8, but it does have a lot of the similar tastes and notes. Part of that may be due to that I didn't carb it enough (too little priming sugar), so it doesn't get that added effect of a nice head and running bubbles. Still a wonderful brew, oh so tasty! The wife quite enjoys it as well.
 

jmm635

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Sorry to come into this thread a year late but I'm just thinking about brewing this Rochefort clone.

At bottling, you just carbonate with the listed amount of sugar? It's not refermented in the bottle?
 

Hex23

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+1. The original recipe refers to some beers in the contest adding yeast at bottling time, but it's not a part of the written recipe. I think BLAM says that's the way Rochefort is made. That's why I tried to harvest some yeast from a Roch 10. But since I failed at that, I just went ahead and bottled with priming sugar. I actually used 4.2 oz of priming sugar instead of 4.8 and mine is very well carbonated (almost too much). It actually carbed completely within about 3-4 weeks and that was after a 5 week primary. Honestly I doubt adding yeast at bottling time is necessary. I'm not sure it would make it any better. I'm happy with the end product.
 
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MagicLarry

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No yeast needed at bottling! As far as the amount of priming sugar used, It fits the style guidelines in Beersmith for the volume produced. I have made this quite a few times and would say carbonation is right on. I'm glad to see fellow Rochefort fans are happy with their final product.
 

Hex23

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I boiled mine 5 minutes. I don't remember exactly what I based that on. I might have gotten it from descriptions of others doing similar recipes. And I probably was thinking that since the syrup already has a caramel taste, I didn't want to over cook it.
 

Tall_Yotie

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I added mine at the end of the boil, heard it would add more of the fruit tones than caramel flavors. Seemed to work, 2 months later it had just the right flavors!
 
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I added mine at the end of the boil, heard it would add more of the fruit tones than caramel flavors. Seemed to work, 2 months later it had just the right flavors!
We tried this recipe with 1# of Candi Syrup, Inc's D-90 with 1/2 lb of the D-180. It brings out a rich caramel toffee aroma close to the original. It's very close an actual Rochefort 8. www.candisyrup.com
 
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MagicLarry

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Glad it turned out good for you! I have had nothing but success with this recipe, a must try for the Rochefort fan.
 

Tall_Yotie

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So this ended up being a bit under carbed, a fiasco I have been fighting on over/under as my DME for priming is unlabeled so I don't know its attenuation. Switched to corn sugar now, so no problems there.

Sitting at 5 months now, and oh is this tasty. Entering it in the local county fair, first competition, hoping to get some good notes. If I did this again I would use a different brand of candi syrup, will see how SUU's syrups work out on another brew.

I did a side-by side, and these were the differences:

-Real had a white head, mine had a slightly tan head
-Real had more deep fruit and cherry nose, mine had more dark sugar / caramel
-Mouth feel same
-Body slightly lighter on the real, but I upped my candi syrup from the recipe as I wanted a bit more towards the R10 than the R8

All in all a great brew, just could use more of those fruit tones than we all love from Belgian dark ales.
 
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MagicLarry

MagicLarry

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Did you refrigerate before sampling at 5 Months? Those amazing fruit notes come out when she's at a cool room temperature. Glad you are enjoying the beer it's one of my favorites to brew.
 
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