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.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

80-Schilling + Star Chamber

Checking up on a couple beers:

Younger's 1872 80-Schilling (Old British Beers)

Brewed 12/27/05. Bottle was a little foamy and kicked up sediment. I swear this is the last time I'll EVER dry hop with pellets. That makes the clarity much worse. Some EKG spiciness in the nose. It's a little bitter still. This was such a weird recipe and I think I may have to be really patient with it. I do think the Golden Promise malt did some nice subtle things here, but the hopping is drowning it out to some degree. The OBB beers I've made that are dark have been almost unilaterally excellent. This pale one I'm not sure about. I think that not all of these recipes have rational hopping rates. You can get away with a lot in an imperial stout, but not so much here. So, for now, it's frustrating. Damned good thing I didn't keg this.

Annoyed with a beer that was too hoppy, I thought I'd have a beer that's deliberately too hoppy. Hence, "Star Chamber" Double IPA. Brewed 11/20/05. This started at 1086 and made it down to 1017, for an ABV of 9.18%. IBU around 120. Bittered with Chinook, FWH and flavor addition with Columbus. 10.3 oz of hops in overall recipe. Finished with an oz each of Columbus, Amarillo, Warrior, and Simcoe at shut-off. Dry-hopped with a 1/2 oz each of Columbus, Warrior, Simcoe, and Chinook.

This has deliberately modest carbonation (I think double IPA's should never be fizzy), but the head is still pretty nice, leaving clinging lace. It's a pale, translucent amber color. The nose is dead gorgeous: brilliant, puckery citrus melded with a foresty resinous quality. I think these hops melded together really well. Seems to me there's two main approaches to the double IPA style. One balances hops with malt; the other balances hops with alcohol. Mine leans more toward the latter end, given its relatively modest final gravity. The palate is screamingly hoppy and just barely given a semblance of balance by a little maltiness and a belt of alcoholic warmth. Wow.

This is a style I could really get into--to me a really good double or triple IPA is totally comparable with a great barley wine. They may be even harder to balance though. I think my next crack at this should incorporate a little more maltiness. This could be done either by increasing the mash temp (only 149 here) and/or by incorporating another pound or two of Munich to deepen the malt profile. The wheat could go. This one was 8 lbs lager, 7 lbs Maris Otter, 1 lb Munich, 2 lbs Wheat, and 1/2 lb Carastan. I'm thinking I'll replace the lager malt with straight Maris Otter, drop the wheat or cut it to a pound, raise the Munich to 2 or even 3 pounds, and leave the Carastan as is?? Maybe mash at 151-2 instead?? The hops are a no- brainer: Just use lots of the best you can buy (these were all from And it's impossible to over dry-hop.

In the meantime, this is a fun beer to drink and should age decently.

P.S. The Brett Brux beer, now named "Reconciliation," is at a merry high-Brett-krausen. Can be a pretty vigorous yeast all by its lonesome. To correct for my atypically crappy efficiency (Damn beer, my friends, and Chinese food) I spiked it with a little boiled table sugar. Corrected OG should be about 1052 which is good enough to suit the parameters of my original recipe.


Blogger dingus said...

how much kreusen are you getting?

Here's the pellicle from my plambic

9:51 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

That's a bitchin' pellicle.

The brett fermentation has been surprisingly normal-looking. It took off pretty quickly. Formed a fairly large kinda starchy looking krausen that has now mostly died back. Wonder what the gravity is...

3:11 PM  

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