Friday, June 8, 2007

Belgian Strong Dark Ale - Recipe & Brewday Stats

I'm getting in the habit of reusing yeast for at least an additional batch. This time I'm reusing the Wyeast Ardennes from the Belgian Pale Ale to make a 3 gallon batch of Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It's been a kind-of crazy trying to come up with a recipe of a beer I've never brewed before, and have only infrequently tasted examples of.

The malt bill is pretty big, but there aren't any malts too strong or powerful. I'm not going for a very dark color. The SRM should end up at around 16.

With the Belgian Pale Ale, I added some minerals to the water. Without knowing the effect of those minerals, I will still go ahead with additions for this beer.

The beer will be racked into 3 jugs, so I've been pondering the idea of adding some kind of flavoring to one of them. Hops, fruit, or other spice? I'm playing with the idea of adding more juniper tincture at bottling. Anyone have any good ideas?

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Brewday 6/8/07

Grains & Sugar
5.0 lb Belgian Pilsner Malt
1.0 lb Vienna Malt
1.0 lb Munich Malt 10L
.31 lb Belgian CaraMunich 57L
.19 lb Belgain Special B 147L
.25 lb Wheat Malt
.75 lb Corn Sugar
.25 lb Jaggery

Hops & Spices
1.0 oz Styrian Goldings, 4.3%, pellets, 60min.
.25 oz Styrian Goldings, 3.5%, pellets, 60min.
.75 oz Styrian Goldings, 3.5%, pellets, 30min.

1 tsp Juniper tincture, steeped 6 months, 15min.
1/8 tsp Black Peppercorn, crushed, 15min.

Wyeast 3522 - Belgian Ardennes - reused 1+ cup slurry

Brewday Stats

Water Adjustment: .5 tsp. Gypsum, .5 tsp Calcium Chloride

H2O/Grain Ratio: #1 1qt/lb, #2 1.6qt/lb
Mash Ph: low
Sacch Rest Temp #1: 145*F
Sacch Rest Time #1: 45min. no conversion
Sacch Rest Temp #2: 157*F
Sacch Rest Time #2: 30min. good conversion, nice and sticky!

Mash-out Batch Sparge vol/temp: 2 gal/180*F

Pre-boil Vol: 4 gallons
Boil Time: 1.5 hrs
Post-boil Vol: 3.25 gallons

OG: 1.078
IBU: 35
Color: 15-18 (looks a lot lighter and golden)
Mash Efficiency: Approx. 78.8%

Fermentation Temp: 70-73*
Cost: $16.15, .50 cents/12oz., $3/6-pack

1. Mash Ph was pretty low (I think below 5), so when using darker malts with an intended hop bitterness, avoid Gypsum and Calcium Chloride in mash water, and add only to sparge water.
2. The 180* Mash-out Batch Sparge water wasn't high enough to bring the mash to 168*. It only got up to 158*.
3. The color looked very close to that of the Belgian Pale Ale I made a couple weeks ago, so I dipped .5 oz each of Roasted Barley & Chocolate Malt for a couple minutes for some more color. Unfortunately the old tea infuser ball must have had some oils on it.

Fermentation Progress:
6/14/07 - It's been fermenting consistently and actively at about 70-73*F. There's still a lot of movement this morning at a temp of about 68*F. I've never seen so much foam building up during fermentation. This Ardennes yeast strain produces a 5"thick and very creamy/frothy foam that sticks around for a very long time. It takes some agitation, at the end of primary, to settle it into the beer.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, deep copper with amber/brown highlights into a stemmed Belgian glass. A ½ inch dense, light tan head forms and diminishes gradually to a ring of bubbles around the glass with minimal lacing.
Aroma: Clean, sweet, mellow spiciness (clove, coriander), and mild alcohol.
Taste: Very much like aroma, clean with a smooth sweetness, moderate spice, mostly from yeast.
Mouthfeel: Definitely not heavy, a medium mouthfeel, and lower carbonation for a Belgian strong style.
Aftertaste: Jaggery sugar definitely contributing to a lingering aftertaste, with a faint juniper taste that builds as the time between sips increases. The both of these aftertastes build to an almost rubbery taste, then diminishes over time.
Drinkability: Aside from the low carbonation and peculiar aftertaste, it is very drinkable, especially given its alcoholic strength and lower carbonation.
Final Notes: The Ardennes yeast strain definitely prefers worts with higher gravity, as it shows off more spicy flavors. I'd definitely add much more Special B and try using very dark homemade caramelized sugar. Skip the Juniper tincture and use halved juniper berries, or try a new spice or herb.


Travis said...


I am going to be reusing my yeast for the first time in the next couple of weeks. I am doing an Oktoberfest and a Doppelbock back to back. Since they use the same yeast I thought I would try to reuse the Oktoberfest for the Doppel. Any suggestions or is it as easy as it sounds?

Ted Danyluk said...

Yeah, its pretty simple. Just rack all the beer off. Then pour in a little sterile water to loosen the yeast and trub. Before pouring the yeast out of any container I use rubbing alcohol and flame the opening. Pour into a mason jar. It settles nicely in the frig. Just pour off the water above and then pour the yeast into the new wort.

Two tricky parts. 1. Sometimes there's a lot of trub and hop junk. This stuff settles to the bottom and the smooth white yeast setttles on the top. So you can pour off teh good stuff a couple times if you want. 2. I usually don't know how much to add. They say .5 oz. thick/smooth yeast slurry per gallon, but I usually add a lot more. Just cause I know there's a lot of trub and hops and stuff in there too.

Also, it occured to me that I should brew the smaller test batches first before the main batch that I want the strain for. Just thought of that...Hmmm.

So a couple lagers...sweet. I already can't wait to brew them again. The Czech Pils I made is totally the best. I'll look for those posts. You must use a frig or something.

Travis said...

Nice, thanks for laying that out for me. It sounds easy enough, but as always with trying something new, you get a little nervous.

How log to suggest fridging the yeast in a mason jar?

Yea the brew wife gave me the green light on firing up the basement fridge so I am going to take full advantage!

The one brew i am actually getting excited about is the Doppelbock, I am going to go through the whole process, should make for a long hard brew day, but I think the experience will be good for me.

Ted Danyluk said...

It will settle into dense layers fairly quickly (1-3 days). To lightly agitate the jar a few times in the first hours helps it layer better. If you want to salvage just the yeast you'll have to pour off the water on top, then pour or perhaps spoon the layer of white yeast into another jar, and add some more sterile water. I've used the instructions at Wyeast. But I usually just pour off the water and then pour some yeast into the next fermenter. It last a good long while in the frig, so you don't have to use it right away. I was going to take a picture of the layers but already used it...maybe next time.