Westvleteren 12 clone: Rapid single decoction?

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SethMasterFlex

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This weekend I'm brewing Candi Syrup Inc.'s clone of Westvleteren 12.

http://www.candisyrup.com/recipes.html

They state that Westvleteren 12 has subtle leather and brown sugar notes. They say that they were not able to obtain these flavors from a traditional single or double decoction. Rather, they achieved this flavor profile by using a "rapid" single decoction, which browned (not burned) the malt:

8 lbs Pale Malt
7 lbs Pils
3 lbs D-180 Candi Syrup
1.090

Protein Rest - 122F 25 mins
Sacch rest - 157 90 mins
Mash Out (2gallons) - 165 10 mins

A few questions on this:

1) Does this mean turn the burner up as high as it goes to reach boiling quicker?
2) Am I to assume that they did not perform a sacch rest on the decocted portion or a very short one?
3) If that's the case, is there enough enzymes left in the mash to fully convert everything?
4) Only a beta sacch rest is done on the mash. Wouldn't this leave too many unconverted sugars in a big beer like this, or does the 3lbs of syrup balance this out.

Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this.
 

digitalhifi

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I'm curious about this as well. I will send them an email and see if they respond.
 

digitalhifi

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Alright, got a reply from the guys at Candi Syrup inc.

Hi,
I'm hoping you can shed some more light on your mash technique in your efforts to clone Westvleteren 12.
1) What do you mean by a rapid decoction? Are you refering to the temperature rise time or the length of the decoction boil?
2) Only a beta sacch rest is done on the mash at 157*. This doesn't leave too many unconverted sugars in a big beer like this? It seems like you should calculate your decoction to give a lower mash temp, maybe around 150-152* to ensure the beer is dry. What were the FG measurements of some of your batches brewed with this recipe and mash temp?

Great questions! Our Westvleteren 12 clone trials have gone through a great many changes. To some extent our brews are always works in progress. I'll try and give you the answers that we've discovered on decoction and mash temps thus far on this recipe.

A rapid decoction will be performed "onto" a hot, pre-heated kettle. Literally 'crashing' mash onto the hot kettle and then heating it as quickly as possible (without burning) to create a rapid maltose caramelization. Think of it like a form of culinary deglazing. This will have a notable affect on the final ale adding an almost sweet leather palate much like an actual St. Sixtus Westy 12.
Hiding alcohol in a high gravity ale like a Westy 12 is an art so it can be done in a number of ways. Our use of a high mash is to assure plenty of poly-sacc's and is key to our trial brews. The mouth-feel needs to be medium-high to chewy. Mashing high will get the mouth-feel and hide a strong alcohol content allowing the flavors of the ale to hit the palate without noticing the alcohol first.

Also, as an aside, we've concluded that Brewers Gold is likely the more authentic bittering hop rather than Northern Brewer. Look for a new recipe release soon.
 

ewsaemann

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Hey, guys.
I'm also curious about the high mash temp. Has anybody tried this yet. The response I got was FG will be relatively high, 1.012; this is high? He also said the mash temp doesn't affect FG. Is there any truth to that? Rather, yeast pitch rate determines FG.
How to Brew has a chart of max attenuation for various sugars at different mash temps. Glucose drops to just under 80% at 157F, but maltose stays pretty constant up to that temp. Does the ratio of glucose to maltose have something to do with the mouthfeel he's talking about?

Eric
 

bdgrfrisch

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I felt I needed more clarification and this was the reply from CSI....
________________________________________________
Q - Just a follow up question on the Westy 12 recipe.
On the decoction, it sounds like you are taking the amount of the mash needed to raise the mash temp from 122F to 156F and putting that into an already hot kettle and bringing to a boil as fast as possible. Is that correct and how long is it boiled? Is that then put back into the mash to raise the temp from 122F to 156F? And then allow that to rest for 90 Min?

A- Yes, that's it exactly. If you want more polysaccs for a heavier mouth-feel adjust the 156F mash time back to 60 minutes.
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This is on my list of things to brew, but it'll be a while.
 

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