I don't think I've ever posted to this forum, but I saw this thread and felt compelled to share information I found a while back when I became ... somewhat obsessed with this beer. This is a lot longer than I intended to write, but I hope this is helpful to someone out there.
The items immediately below are all translated from Getest en Geproefd, Deel 2 by Test Aankoop (ISBN 9789491778063), which I'm pretty sure is out of print. Someone on Hobbybrouwen.nl was kind enough to snap a photo of the TB page and share with me.
Colour: 9.8 EBC
Bitterness: 48 IBU (https://www.fattiunabirra.it/belgio/83-taras-boulba.html
claims 54 IBU!)
Cloudiness (troebelheid): 7.84 EBC
Apparent extract (schijnbaar extract): 1.99g/100g, or 2º P, so 1.008
Actual extract (werkelijk extract): 4.03g/100g, or 4º P, so 1.016
Original gravity (oorspronkelijk extract): 12.65g/100g, or 12.5º P, so 1.050 (the Italian site above notes 12ºP, think this is more likely)
In terms of hops, I'm pretty sure it's a combination of Saaz and Challenger. The CSI recipe looks tasty, and while he's noted that a sizeable amount of the hops they use are German, de Baets also says that Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is his dream beer. From what I've been able to gather, Harvey's uses Challenger in their best bitter. I have no idea where "De Lambikstoemper" gets his information, but FWIW he thinks it's Challenger too (Taras Boulba
In the second interview linked below (link broken), de Baets states that they use Belgian, Czech, and British hops at the brewery.
To me, fresh TB has an a bright, almost lemony flavour. In the interview with Bill Covaleski from Victory Brewing in the Brewer's Apprentice, he notes
“We’ve learned a lot of what we liked and very little of what we disliked. Say, how Tettnanger hops at a certain point become minerally and metallic. Saaz at a certain threshold is lemony and bright.”
I would love to know what that threshold is, and if that refers to kettle hops or dry hopping.
In the Walsh presentation, he claims that TB is brewed with 100% pilsner malt. I would be a bit surprised if this were the case, given the colour and appearance. I still think there's some malted wheat in there. But Vinnie Cilurzo (third link below in article list) writes:
"It’s such a simple beer—one malt, a couple of hops varieties, one yeast for fermentation, another for bottle fermentation."
So it seems possible. I'm assuming Vinnie has actually talked with de Baets about the recipe, and I do think it's simpler than many of the clone attempts that are out there. The yeast is doing most of the heavy lifting, but I honestly have no clue which one he's using.
I have no idea. For a while, I thought it might be the Duvel strain. Previously I wondered if it might be the Blaugies or Ardennes strains, but the latter tends to produce bright beers. Your guess is as good as mine.
45-62-72-78°C (based on A visit to Brasserie de la Senne
, which full of nice details); Derek Walsh suggested a single temperature infusion instead, but personally I don't think this likely.
Start at 21-22°C, rise to 26°C to encourage ester formation. Secondary fermentation at 23°C for 15 days. (same source as mash info)
Random links related to TB
https://www.brouwland.com/content/assets/docs/Brouwland Hip Hops final.pdf
A few weeks back I was lucky to spend a great deal of time in Brussels. The city is fantastic if you have never been. It embodies many of my favourite things – beautiful shopfronts, cultural …
(link defunct, tried the Wayback Machine, but no dice -- was a great presentation by Derek Walsh with info about TB on slide 43)
Interviews with Yvan de Baets
EP-137 Yvan de Baets of Brasserie de la Senne — Good Beer Hunting
“What Would Vinnie Drink?” His list is surprisingly devoid of the hoppy beers one might expect…
(fast-forward to 8m45s, he talks about Taras Boulba)
(episode of Tournée Générale, 2011-02-23, now blocked by the copyright holder, interview with de Baets was at 14 minutes in)
(in French, and paywalled)