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Belgian Dark Strong

July 11, 2015

Despite some misgivings (complex grain bill, no candi syrup, high mash temp) I’m going to brew a Belgian Dark Strong ale using Jamil’s recipe from c. 2007.

Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew day (7/12/15)

Cooldown:

<140:  4:13
<100:  8:45
<80:  14:11
<70:  21:32
stop @69:  23:04

Added remainder of D2 candi syrup leftover from Dubbel (~4 oz).

OG: 1.084, much lower than 1.107 goal.  Likely ran off too much since 2 gallons were left in kettle after filling fermenter.  This combined with the likely fill of the fermenter beyond 5 gallons means I left a significant amount of sugar behind.  I.e., 2 gallons left behind + >5 gallons in the fermenter results in >7 gallons brewed when 6.25 gallons were planned.

Using Beersmith’s ‘Dilution Tool’ indicates having too much volume would account for only ~11 points (diluting 6.25 gallons of 1.107 wort with 3 quarts of water yields 7 gallons (what I ended up with) at 1.096) => ~12 points unaccounted for.  Generously adding a quart for fermenter overfill (leading to 7.25 gallons brewed) accounts for an additional 4 points leaving 8 points.

Other than poor sparge, what would account for this?  Maybe it’s small enough to be in the error (i.e., homebrewing isn’t an exact science).  It makes me wonder though if high gravity sparging/mashing is more lossy?

Fermentation

Began in Rubbermaid in garage with garden hose water @ ~68F.  Overnight, rose to 72F despite ice packs with slow blowoff tube bubbling.  By lunch, temperature had increased to 74F and bubbling had likewise increased to good rate.  Decided to move to smaller Rubbermaid in the garage fridge with aquarium heater.  After about 3 hours, temp had dropped to 69F, bubble rate was not noticeably affected and krausen had worked its way up to the neck (and had started getting through blowoff tube to jar of sanitizer).

Hopefully initial high temperatures don’t negatively affect the beer.  Will try to slowly ramp temp up as fermentation abates.

Sample after 11 days:  1.030.  Pretty sweet, but pretty darn good.  Hopefully it continues to attenuate and dries out, but it might not be horrible if it didn’t drop too much.  Not sure how much “to-style” it would be, but it could still be pretty good, maybe a bit like a barleywine.  I had feared/expected a high finish to this, but hopefully it can get a little lower.

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From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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