Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Acolyte (Trappist Single/Enkel) - Brew Day

While I was in San Diego a few weeks back for a buddy's bachelor party, I ordered up a tulip of Societe Brewing's The Harlot.  Described on their website as an "extremely easy to drink, crisp, light and dry Belgian Extra", The Harlot is a classic example of a fluffy, floral, relatively low alcohol Belgian beer.  I also was fortunate enough to grab a bottle of Westvleteren 6 Blonde while I was on a trip with the ol' lady in Brussels.  This beer definitely runs on the hoppy end of the spectrum with the characteristic blend of spice contributed by the hops and Belgian yeast.

I've been wanting to brew a "middle-ground" between the two of these wonderful beers in an attempt to really dial-in my process for brewing foreign, non-hoppy beers.  As much as I love a total hop bomb, they are notoriously good at hiding flaws in beers that a more subtle flavor profile wouldn't overwhelm.

In this spirit, I felt that a moderately hopped Belgian Single -- also known as an Enkel, Extra, Patersbier or Trappist table beer -- would be a wonderful addition to my recipe lineup.  The beer doesn't really enjoy a wide circulation as its history is generally described as a beer that Trappist monks brewed not for resale, but for their own consumption.  As such, due to the well-deserved following the Trappist monks have developed, a natural curiousity brewed as to what the masterful monks were keeping to themselves.  The style has started be swept up in a bit of a resurgence as American craft brewers seek out more obscure beers to popularize and thus differentiate themselves.

I found several recipes online proclaiming to be clones of various Trappist Singles, so I sort of pick and chose from all of them.  Although this recipe would probably benefit from a bit of wheat, I wanted to keep things simple for the first attempt.  The mash is straight Belgian pale malt with clear candi syrup added at the end of the boil.  The hops are stereotypically Belgian and will blend well with the Westmalle yeast (WLP530).

The pH on this one came in a little high but I was too lazy to do anything about it.  Mash efficiency came in on target and the boil proceeded as normal.

Oscar...mashed out
The Acolyte (Trappist Single/Enkel)
5.5 gallon batch - 60 minute boil
Est OG: 1.054
Est FG: 1.006
Est ABV: 6.33%
IBU: 30
SRM: 4.7

11lb Pale Malt
1lb Clear Candi Syrup @ end of boil

0.5oz Northern Brewer @ FWH (15 IBU)
1.0oz Hallertauer Mittelfruh @ 20 min (8 IBU)
1.0oz Styrian Goldings @ 12 min (7 IBU)

1000ml starter Abbey Ale WLP530

Mash @ 148f for 60 min

7/16/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Mash pH came in a bit high, no adjustment made.  Recorded mash efficiency of 72%.  Forgot to adjust recipe for AA% on hops, but tossed some NB shortly after I realized the mistake.  Gathered 5.5 gal of 1.051 wort, slightly low was it seemed my boil off was less than normal.  Pitched yeast starter and Clarity-Ferm in the high 60s.  Fermentation began within 5 hours.

7/18/2014 -- Really glad I threw a blow off tube on this one.  Even with a decent amount of headspace, this one is throwing off a buttload of goo.  I know the Westmalle yeast is voracious, but I was surprised how violent the initial fermentation was given the gravity.

11/7/2014 -- And here are some tasting notes.

1 comment:

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