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, March 21, 2005

Running out of brew time

Curse this summer fellowship in LA. It's good for my career and will be a fun change of scene. But I'm going to miss Lisa, I'm going to miss comfy laying around the house, and it's going to fuck my brewing schedule. There's not a lot of time left. This weekend is needed for social time and the weekend after that is in Boston. I may need to do a crafy, very neat, weeknight brew otherwise I'll lose one of my yeast strains. I think (and I need to check this with my accountant) that I'll squeeze in a barley wine and bottle my IPA mid-week. The IPA is on hops and if I leave it too long it'll get out of hand. Then I can just forget about the barley wine as it will take a while to ferment and then can age in carboy forever. After I get back from Boston I think I'll brew three weekends in a row to finish out those yeast usage patterns. First a Dubbel immediately after bottling the Singel (4/9). Then a beer for my party on the lees of the oatmeal stout, which I'll also bottle for the party (4/16). Then a Tripel on the the Dubbel lees on 4/23. A party on 4/30 or 5/7, probably the latter. The party will have a simple Old British Beer from keg, plus supplies of Cat's Paw Pale, Oatmeal Stout, maybe some early Belgian Stout, remnants of Saison, and some fully matured Doctor Duvel and Twiggy Pilsner.

So that leaves me with three recipes to write over the next few weeks, plus a little fine-tuning of my barley wine hopping if needed. 1) I already have grain for the Dubbel. Design a beautiful, subtle, relatively deep-colored, Westmalle-esque grain bill. Hop very delicately. 2) Design a big but tightly articulated trippel. Will probably go a little hoppy for the style as I dislike overly fat trippels. That'll be Belgian Pils malt, sugar, some delicately controlled specialty malt, and moderate quantities of Saaz, Styrians, maybe Hallertau or, as Michael Jackson implies, Tettnang. 3) Design something that'll mature quickly in a keg, be easily approachable for others, allow me to play with Old British Beers, and, cheapo that I am, use the English ale yeast from my Oatmeal Stout.

Pause: George Gale Christmas Ale. Interesting. Cork finished, which shows in the aroma. Very highly spiced--cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Relatively light for the alcohol content (8.5 abv). Pretty acidic in the finish. Interesting. Not my thing entirely. But interesting.

OK, so back to number 3 above. Browsing through Old British Beers. OK, crap. I forgot almost all the beers I wanted to make from that are gigantic. And almost all require weird malts that I have to home toast. This is cool, of course, but requires a little research to work out plans or the requisite substitutions if necessary. And, shit, I'm also learning that kegging is slightly complicated. . . Maybe it's best to make this a simple, low-personal-investment beer.

Flipping through Mosher: Simple Belgian Pale Ale? Old Nut Case Brown Ale or own spin thereon? Rye Pale Ale? Tire-Biter Bitter?

Rye is a pain in the ass, though I do want to do it eventually. The nut brown ale type thing appeals to me a lot, but I'm leaning toward a simple, moderate Belgian pale. Never mind that that fucks up my yeast usage plan. Well, it's five bucks. I'll think about it. Must make up mind in a couple of days. Either a simple, warming, malty brown, or a malty, just barely hop-balanced, delicately spiced De Koninck type thing. The extra cost being a vial of White Labs basic Belgian Ale if I'm combining it with a keg order from MoreBeer. Must consider for another 24 hours.


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