Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Belgian Strong

Trying to work out the logistics of brewing my Belgian Strong Ale next weekend... The recipe in Mosher seems almost too simple. Pilsner malt, corn sugar, Saaz and Styrian Goldings. But there's not a lot to these beers either. I'm tasting a Duvel right now and, basically, I'm smelling a light dose of estery yeast by-products, a little whiff of pear, a relatively ephemeral breezy hop aroma, alcohol, and a very, very clean bready hit of malt. Should I try for this kind of ultra-clean profile, or fiddle around a little and think of beers like La Chouffe and add a spice or two, maybe just one nutty character malt (aromatic?)? The ingredients I can get -can't- be as good as those Moortgat can get, so perhaps I'm screwing myself by trying to do something that minimalistic. Sort of like making fettucine alfredo with boxed pasta and pre-grated cheese... But I did order Belgian Pilsner malt and European hops. And I do have the ideal yeast. Perhaps I should just try it and do a spicier, Chouffier beer later. On the plus side my aging situation is pretty good right now. Will do, following up on what Michael Jackson reveals about the Duvel process, a nice warm primary, followed by a couple days moving the carboy around the house and basement, cooling gradually and heading toward a couple weeks at 30 degrees (which will either involve the refrigerator in the garage, or the more volatile space under my cellar doors. I'll do a very warm bottle conditioning for a week or two and then stick the bottles in the coldest corner of the basement for a couple months--would ideally by 40 degrees, but that's a hard temperature to find inside or outside around here... Hmmm... I hope it works. Oh well, it's not like it's a hugely expensive beer. Worst-case scenario (barring contamination), I ought to have a nice strong, drinkable beer. I just worry about getting the complexity and the desired cleanness.

In other news I think I no longer have time to watch movies. Might cancel Netflix for a while. Sigh...


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