Beware the Kraken! - Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by Blackmuse, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Looking for a bit of feedback on this one... I've never made a Belgian before and this one is a doozy! I still make extract recipes with steeping grains so bare with me here. For the steeping grains I steep in a separate pot at 150 degrees for 30 minutes. Then I pour the "tea water" into my brew kettle and then rinse the grains with another 3/4 of a gallon of water also at 150 degrees into my kettle.

    I don't do anything for water chemistry as I just use my well water which runs through a brine tank, softener and filter. It tastes good so I use it.

    Anyway, I am mostly curious if the hop schedule looks good and if the adjuncts are fitting or way off. I made a Dopplebock with Magnum in the past and loved it so I figured I'd go with that here... I had Saaz originally but it needed like 7 ounces so I switched to Magnum. It will be an expensive beer so if the Juniper and what not doesn't fit then I'll just cut them. This will be for myself, brother and father - we all like malty type beers but also really enjoy high alcohol beers for sipping.

    Thanks in advance! Be brutally honest please.

    http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/r ... he-kraken-
     
  2. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    Here are a couple of thoughts.

    With that high a gravity you need to make a proper yeast starter or use more vials. That's a lot of sugar for one vial to handle. Also, if you can, keep your ferment temps down around 68 F to keep the alcohol form becoming hot and solventy.

    If you want you could just use plain sugar instead of the Belgian candy sugar. The special B will give you the color, and caramunich and biscuit will mask any flavor from the candy sugar, as will the spices.

    Another minor thing, those spice additions may detract from the malt and ester profile. That might be something you add the second time you brew this. I find that brewing a good base beer comes first, then I will tweak the next recipe if needed.

    One last thing, using extract and sugar in a partial boil, if you save half the extract and all of the sugar for a late addition (last 10 min or so of the boil), this will improve the hop utilization.

    The yeast pitching rates and ferment temperatures are important. The other stuff is just my humble opinion.
     
  3. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Chessking,
    Thanks for the input!
    Good call on the yeast - I should have mentioned that I have a 2L starter with 2 yeast packs planned. I'll double check it across Mr. Malty but this program says that is a good starter. (MrMalty says 1.5 L with 2 packs) - I made my own stir plate last year out of some scraps I should post that on here somewhere - fun project.

    I should be able to keep a good handle on the ferm temps (raised ranch in NH so downstairs stays pretty cool). I'm kind of planning this for a possible Fall brew, winter drink. Temps in the basement should be 60 or so... I have a ferm chamber I can regulate to 68 if needed.

    I was talking with my brother about the sugar instead of the belgian candy. I'm glad you brought it up - I will definitely use it if you feel that the steeping grains will mask the flavor. If I do that do you think I should up the munich to say 12-16 oz? Maybe 8 oz of Special B? I've done some late additions in the past but hadn't thought of trying it here... Do you think I should try to hit for a higher IBU? Or are thinking maybe I should do late additions and switch back to Saaz?

    I think that you are right on the adjuncts. I might just do away with them until I'm happy with the outcome of the base beer. Maybe I should just keep the licorice - pretty safe yeah?
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Adding to Chessking's feedback, if you want the spices, make a spice tea by boiling them in a spice bag in water for ten minutes or so. Then add the tea slowly to the beer before bottling. That way you can control the spice level. You'll probably want to do that in the bottling bucket.
     
  5. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea Nosybear! I could definitely try this... I'd be able to bottle about half the batch and then mix the tea mix in to suite the rest! Thanks.
     
  6. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    The thing with the candy sugar is there is not much left over after the ferment. especially with the lighter colored products. Its fine to use, and it will give some flavor, but I found simple sugar works as well and is cheaper. My recipe is for all grain and I use a pound each of the Caramunich and Special B, as well as a pound of Aromatic and a half pound of Melanoidin. The Melanoidin can give a similar taste as the dark candy sugars.

    As far as hops go, its what you like. I use 2.5 oz hallertau as a 60 min addition and that's it. This style is not supposed to have a strong hop flavor or aroma presence, only enough bittering to balance the malt and sweetness. But like I said do what you like there. Hop and spice to your taste.

    Something else you could try if you are adventurous. Make your own candy sugar. Randy Mosher in "Radical Brewing" has a process of putting white sugar and a small amount of water in a sauce pan and heating it up to boil away the water WITHOUT stirring, as that would create crystals that you don't want. Continue to heat, as the syrup browns, and when you reach the color/ flavor you want pull it off the heat and add cold water to stop the process. Then add to your boil. I haven't done this so I'm just suggesting.

    Other possible additions to give you some dark fruit, plum, raisin flavors: Molasses, Treacle, Blackstrap, Turbinado Sugar and Date Syrup.
     

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