Belgian dark/strong ale

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by Korpi Brewery, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. Korpi Brewery

    Korpi Brewery Member

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  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Unless you're using some really weird malts, there's no need for mash-in, glucan or protein rests - the maltster has already taken care of this for you, you don't have any flaked grains to contribute glucans and a protein rest with modern, well-modified malts may well eliminate any chance of a decent head on the beer. Just start with the first saccarification rest. Even with the hop schedule you have, this will still be a very sweet beer due to the low BU/GU ratio (26.5/89, or 0.3). I'd up the ratio to 0.5 using bittering hops (45 IBUs) to avoid a cloying beer. And you are using LOTS of salts in the beer. It should cover up any minerally flavor but I wouldn't guarantee it. Otherwise, it looks like a solid recipe. Please bear in mind that for this style of beer it's more how you ferment it than how you brew it so do be very careful to pitch at a low temp (around 63 Fahrenheit) and it rise over the course of the fermentation. One last hint: Yeast love candi syrup, so much so that it might stall once it gets to the maltose. Consider adding that later in the fermentation. And good luck with it!
     
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  3. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    for what it's worth on Belgian yeast strains, and telling us this recipe is inspired by Rochefort, WLP540 is the Rochefort strain. I prefer 500 Chimay like you've chosen, I think Chimay makes the tastiest Trappist.

    WLP500 - Chimay
    WLP510 - Orval
    WLP515 - De Koninck
    WLP530 - Westmalle
    WLP540 - Rochefort
    WLP550 - Achouffe
    WLP570 - Duvel
     
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  4. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    wait also, your water profile is extremely high in all mineral categories.. I'm not the best expert on this, but from my understanding Belgian Trappist breweries use a much softer profile. Let the malts and yeast do all the talking, scale back the water additions a lot.

    Chimay (boiled) - Ca: 30 Mg: 7 Na: 7 SO4: 21 Cl: 21
    Rochefort (boiled) - Ca: 28 Mg: 10 Na: 6 SO4: 32 Cl: 17
     
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  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Continuing Oliver's thought: If you need to get mash pH down to 5.4 after your water treatments, use acid. Either lactic or phosphoric work.
     
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  6. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    yes, and I see both Phosphoric and Chalk in the recipe, agents that will counteract each other.
     
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  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Yep, one of the things I noticed about the water treatment as well. Here's Water 055: You need a minimum of 50 ppm of calcium to help the beer clear and to provide for the yeast's needs. And that's it. Since you can't add calcium by itself, you then have to choose, do you want to add sulfate, chloride or both. It's a matter of taste, sulfate tends to emphasize bitterness, chloride tends to emphasize maltiness. In a beer as dark as a Dark Strong, you'll never notice the effect of the ions so don't worry about them. Once you have enough calcium, acidify to a mash pH of 5.4 - there's a calculator on this site to tell you how much to add. Too many people starting out with water treatment tend to attempt to make Alka-Selzer as brewing liquor and their beers taste like it. Minimalism is what you are after when treating water!
     
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  8. Korpi Brewery

    Korpi Brewery Member

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    Hi all and thank you very much for your responses. This was a quick learning curve and I'm happy that I've posted here.

    It seems I've missed a critical point about the water at Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy (Rochefort). It is in fact very saturated with calcium and very alkaline to begin with. The water is apparently treated with acid at the brewery. So adding all that chalk was a lot of nonsense. We did it anyway. 2 liters of carbonated water and some if not most of chalk was soluable. The rest was suspended in the water. We only used 10 grams of chalk and had to compensate with a lot more than 3mls of phosphoric acid. Won't do that again in a hurry. There's another discussion I've should've gone through before jumping in:

    https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/“rochefort”-water-profile.659345/


    As far as the mash steps go, there's a reason for steps in and around 50Cs. We always use these low temperature steps with pilsner malts. It helps to coagulate much of the protein gunk in the kettle and in the fermenter. We did achieve a 94% conversion rate but I wonder if the massive amount of protein trub left in the kettle was due to the added chemicals. We ended up discarding almost a quarter of the sweet wort and our brew day efficiency was a pathetic 50%. There was almost 7 liters of wort left in the grains after sparging. Should've drained it for 2-3 hours but didn't have the time or will for it. Another 3 liters was left behind in the kettle due to the protein trub and there's still a ton of floating trub in the fermenter. Piss poor efficiency on this one.

    On the positive side. Yeast was happy to kick off a party after 6 hours or so.


    Ended up doing a single batch, as the harvested yeast from Rochefort bottles died away. (Smelled like vomit after 5 days of constant care).

    Once again, thank you very much for your insights.
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Be cautious of taking yeast from bottles - often the yeast they use to condition the beer is not the yeast they used to ferment it.
     
  10. Korpi Brewery

    Korpi Brewery Member

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    True. This is in fact the case with Rochefort as well. It was an experiment if anything. Not really worth the effort.
     

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