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, March 13, 2005

Glorious Left-Overs

So I have odd amounts of way too many goofy malts around and most of them are cracked and need to be used. Plugging all of them into ProMash and twiddling around produced what I think will be a playfully random attempt at a playfully random style: Belgian Stout. My vague, vague goal is to produce something vaguely resembling Brasserie Ellezelloise Hercule Stout, a beer I described as follows a couple of years ago:

"Hercule Stout is a marvellous, dead black, brilliantly dark headed, imperial stout-esque Belgian ale. It is warmingly alcoholic with roasted, toasty, coffee chocolate flavors, and some teasing leathery, sort of sagebrushy notes. As it warms up I get something rather paradoxical, which is an herbaceous minty note, something cool and strident riding across the deeper aromas. Deep but lively finish. Exceptional."

I discovered on-line that this has 9% alcohol; I'm imagining a starting gravity of 1084 and a final gravity of 1016 or so? I could easily use this grain for a conventional stout, but where's the adventure in that? Plus I have an appropriate Belgian strain making the rounds through my trappist-style beers: Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity.

Using ten pounds of pale malt as a starting point, incorporating the entire kitchen sink of random quantities of roast, crystal, and other specialty malts, I produced the following rough recipe:

Assuming 80% efficiency:
5.5 gallons.
OG 1086
SRM 46

10 lbs Pale
1 lb Crystal 60
.8 lbs Oats
.5 lbs Crystal 75
.5 lbs Crystal 120
.5 lbs Roast Barley
.47 lbs Special B
.44 lbs Munich
.25 lbs Carafa II
.25 lbs CaraMunich
.25 lbs Aromatic
.2 lbs Black Patent
.15 lbs Chocolate
1 lb Brown Sugar (or some sort of sugar)

Hopping is an interesting one. This is obviously a malt-balanced stout but it needs enough bitterness not to be a caramelly, chocolatey goo-fest. I'm leaning toward my default bittering hop, Northern Brewer. An ounce and a half would produce 50 IBU's. That might be close.
Since my tasting notes emphasize a high, greenish element somewhere, I'm leaning toward a judicious little hit of Kent Goldings, or Saaz, or Fuggles, or whatever I have handy, maybe an ounce of whole flowers at 5 or 10 minutes. Ferment with 3787 and age on oak chips. Recipe might also benefit from a little bit of wheat too. That sounds pretty good I think. All I need to do is track down the base malt.


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