Friday, May 16, 2014

The Abbot (Belgian Dark Strong Ale) -- Brew Day

Upon our recent return from Belgium, I've been dying to do a re-brew of my Belgian "quad" recipe that has been styled off of some of the Westvleteren XII clones floating around.  After being fortunate enough to try the real thing, I had some takeaways that I wanted to implement for my next go at it.

I had previously mashed at 149f for my quad as that's what the recipe called for and the style is usually quite dry.  When tasting the real thing, I couldn't help but notice that the mouthfeel was a lot fuller than the one that I had produced.  I decided to step up the mash temp a touch to 152f and to try to control some of my mash chemistry better than the first time around.

The grain bill is quite large on this beer, so I finally got to test out the seams on my custom-built BIAB bag.  Needless to say, it worked perfectly.  After some slight acid additions to the mash to correct pH, we got the boil underway.  The wort had a beautiful color that was only enhanced when I added the belgian candi sugar after the boil.

Also, this is my first brew using my new PET Big Mouth Bubbler.  This thing is just nasty.

The Abbot (Belgian Dark Strong Ale)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.092
Est FG: 1.013
Est ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 41
SRM: 37

15.0lb Belgian Pilsner Malt
1.50lb Caramunich Malt
0.75lb Belgian Biscuit Malt
0.38lb Aromatic Malt
0.25lb Special B Malt
0.18lb Chocolate Malt
2.00lb Belgian Candi Sugar, Dark (add after boil)
1.00lb Belgian Candi Sugar, Amber (add after boil)

1.0oz Northern Brewer @ 60 min
1.0oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker @ 30 min
1.0oz Styrian Goldings @ 30 min

1300ml starter of WY3787 Trappist High Gravity (Westmalle)

Mash @ 152f for 90 min

5/15/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Had to add additional acid again to lower the mash pH into the correct range.  Perhaps I should get my water chemistry rechecked?  Overshot my volume a bit and gathered 8.5gal of 1.054 wort for a 71% efficiency -- only slightly off recipe so I'm just going with it. Ended up with 5.5gal of 1.085 gravity wort as I didn't have time to boil down as much as needed (the trouble with brewing on a weeknight....)

5/28/2014 -- Split and racked into 3 gallon plastic carboys.  One stayed clean, the other got 0.5oz of medium toast French oak cubes.

7/15/2014 -- Bottled the clean batch with 3.0oz of corn sugar for 2.8 vol of carbonation.

7/19/2014 -- Bottled the oak aged batch with 3.0oz of corn sugar for 2.8vol of carbonation.  Judging from the taste going into bottles, the oak aged portion has the potential to be the best beer I've brewed yet.


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