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.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Brewing update

Well, brewing is catching--my colleague in the math department just made his first batch. As for me I've just bottled my very robust porter, for which I have high hopes. Though, like a novice recipe writer, I got carried away with the specialty malts, I think it's going to be pretty good. Tasted still, at bottling obviously, it was quite roasty, but not vegetal or out of control (as it seemed when I transferred it to secondary). The Willamette dry hopping, though it cost me like a 1/3 of a gallon 'o beer, added a pretty nice extra note and rounded out the overall aromatic profile. Will I ever make another beer without dry hops??? Wait, I'm planning a Belgian Dubbel. I -cannot- dry hop that. Period. End of story.

So the next beers go like so. Next weekend I brew a Saison beer, working off a recipe in Radical Brewing. It'll have a couple spice additions: orange, coriander, and grains of paradise, the last courtesy of Katrina who's sending them from California. Then, after I rack that out of secondary I'll throw my not-yet-devised Dubbel on the lees. Not sure how big I want the Dubbel to be. Should it be a mild Chimay Red-ish affair or a big-ass Rochefort 10 kinda thing? Must decide in the next day or two and then order grain and shit from MoreBeer and/or Northern Brewer. After that I'm planning another use-the-yeast-twice thing. Basically, I'll take the pale ale grain bill I got from the super-cool head brewer at Smuttynose (Thanks Dave!!!) and I'll hop it up just a touch more with Chinook and Cascade--maybe no dry hops on that one. A last-second addition might do it better. Then the lees from the secondary will theoretically be the perfect way to start a big-ass barley wine I'm building around roughly Big-Foot-ish parameters. That one will be dry-hopped to shit with Chinooks, and Cascades, and Centennials.

My english mild has just gotten bottle conditioned and I kinda like it. I built it based on what I remember/know about McMullen's A.K. Though I've later learned that A.K. is actually pretty adjuncy-heavy, with both corn and sugar in it. So mine is sort of a slightly denser all-malt version. I call it D.A. Mild. The Dude Abides, man. It's very light--might not even have 3 percent a.b.v. The nose has a little flowery hit of Kents. It could use a little more body but there's a nice, lingering tea-leaf thing going on in the finish. Delicately bitter. Little whiff of toffee somewhere or other. Considering it's the first recipe I ever wrote from scratch, based on a beer I can barely remember, it's not too damned bad. Also a nice test case in the interesting things that can happen when a relatively pale beer has a small percentage of dark malt (chocolate in this case). As odd as it may be to dry hop a mild, I'm glad I did because the Goldings are a critical part of this. I like the nose and the finish the best--were I to brew another mild I'd probably do something to plump up the palate just a touch. Maybe a dash of carapils for body, or crystal for sweetness, or just another 1/2 a percent alcohol. But, all in all, well done old bean.

On one other note, my friend Wayne gave me FOUR CARBOYS--and pretty nice looking ones at that--which he procured for $12. Retail value new would be 80-100 bucks. Shit yeah. He wants to brew but can't for various logistical reasons. So we're gonna split ingredients, use those extra carboys, and brew either an oatmeal stout (his favorite of my previous brews) or some sort of wheat beer (probably a teutonic Hefe-Weizen). So there's a blog posting. Does anyone actually read this shit??


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