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 26, 2006


Gotta love Trappist singels--as a concept, even if one never gets to taste the genuine articles. I'm sipping my first crack at the style for beer planning help.

I'm in a bit of a brewing slump and have been feeling dejected about a few beers. In the next few days I'll do a bad beer tasting and post on two or three failures. In my crazy December burst of productivity I think quality control suffered. To cheer myself up, I thought I'd maybe brew a singel, as I rarely seem to go wrong with Belgians and I've had this pack of 3787 languishing in the fridge that I meant to have used by now.

My first singel was fermented with 3787. It was 1050 (FG 1011) with 37 IBU of Hallertau and Spalt (sizable late additions) on a frame of pilsner malt, with a lb of Belgian Biscuit, a 1/2 lb of wheat, and a 1/2 lb of candi sugar.

The 3787 phenolics took a while to chill out, but they have. The biscuit malt makes a pronounced impact, maybe too much--very toasty presence in the nose and a little burnt tinge to the palate. It's interesting, but could be toned down. Hop aroma is very pleasant, underlain with the eastery depth of the 3787. Killer yeast, by the way. There's a really pronounced herbal aroma I can't quite name. Very annoying that I can't. It's very "green" though.

I think for my next attempt, I'll head somewhere else. I think I'll lose the Biscuit and go for a very elemental malt base. How about 50% German Pils and 50% Belgian Pale? With maybe a little sugar for attenuation? Just as a curiosity, I think I'll model it loosely after Westvleteren Blond, which I've never had. I'll thus target OG 1051, FG 1008, and 41 IBU (data from Brew Like a Monk). For hopping, I think I'll bitter with Northern Brewer and flavor and aroma hop with Styrian and Halltertau. From there, the recipe practically writes itself, yes?

This yeast cake will go on to make a tripel a la Westmalle and at least one Westvleteren inspired beer using that funky new Belgian sugar syrup I'm itchin' to buy.


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