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CZ's Belgian Dark Strong recipe build
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,634
    This discussion was created from comments split from: Need Help Brewing Beer?.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    thanks for the invite Azscoob, just got my next brew day supplies in for this coming Friday night. I'll be making a Belgian Dark Strong, inspired from a certain favorite John Carpenter flick, because its supposed to storm, and mostly because I love BDS, especially Rochefort 8 and 10. I would love to hear everyone's inputs - I've only been brewing for about 6/7 mo now - 5th all grain batch. I call it: "You just listen to the old Pork Chop Express here now and take his advice on a Dark and Stormy Night":

    Boil Size: 7.5
    Batch Size 5.5
    80 min boil - Azscoob - I know you've talked about DMS - I haven't noticed it yet. I'm bucking the 90 min boil again, unless you/anyone thinks its necessary
    Estimated OG: 1.097
    Estimated FG 1.024
    ABV: 9.5%
    IBU: 24.5
    SRM: 36.7 - not worried about staying within color guidelines

    Wyeast 1762 for 3 days at 65F
    Wyeast 3787 to bat cleanup - in carboy for 1 month until primed with 4oz cane, .75 oz turbinado solution in bottling bucket, added to 22 oz bottles with a couple 12 oz for monthly testing. Plan on tasting at 1, 2, 4, 6 mo. Save one for a year if I'm patient enough.

    Fermentables
    10lb Belgian 2-row -49.7%
    3lb Belgian Special B -14.9%
    2lb German Caramunich II -9.9%
    1lb Belgian Unmalted Wheat -5%
    .5lb Flaked Oats -2.5%
    .755lb D-45 Amber Candi Syrup -3.7% -15 min boil
    2.13lb Clear Candi Syrup -10.6% -12 min boil
    .25 lb D-90 Dark Candi Syrup -1.2% -8 min boil
    .5lb D-180 Dark Candi Syrup - 2.5% -5 min boil
    Wyeast Nutrient solution - 10 min boil

    Mash
    1. 125F 25min rest
    2. 135F 40min
    3. 145F 75 min
    4. 170F Fly Sparge
    5. Batch sparge until reach desired clarity

    Hops
    1 oz East Kent Goldings -46 min (4.8AA) 12.73 Total IBUs
    1 oz El Dorado -7 min (15.3AA) 11.78 Total IBUs

    Question 1: What do you think of starting with 1762 and cleaning up with 3787. I'd like the warming characteristics of 1762 (not too much!) but being that this is my largest brew to date, wanted the reassurance and beast-like qualities I've heard about with 3787,

    Question 2: What is optimal storage temperature for storing something this long? Is room temp (70F) too hot to store and will 1.5 or 2x the time, or is 55-65 better? Let me know!

    Question 3: My sugars are 18% of the boil. I've read 20% and less is best for a BDS but let me know if that is still way over the top. What do you think? I've read on some Candi Sugar sites that combing certain amounts of their various sugars will give the brew a nice complex depth. So far, I've read Raisin/Stone Fruit, Chocolatey, soft/mellow bitterness, slightly toasty is the way to go, and of course, when I drink a BDS, that's what I can tell. To me, BDSs are like drinking a warm hug/cozy. Its warming up now, but thought it would be the time to have it for next fall/winter.

    Question 4: I was sold on the El Dorado because it is supposed to be floral and have that stone fruit characteristic and the EK Goldings because I actually think of English Nut Browns a little when I drink a BDS - thought it would be a soft addition so the hops didn't overtake the malt, but just be balanced.

    Thanks in advance and thanks for having me.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,769
    I'll check my recipe building guidelines when I get home tonight, but off the top of my head 15% special b seems high.

    As far as aging, the best aging conditions are similar to those for wine. Around 60 degrees and stable.

    I've never used el dorado, so I'm not familiar with the flavor profile.

    You can get away with more sugars if you are using belgian candi or invert sugars, since they have a nonfermentable component and various flavors. If just just load a beer with 18% corn sugar you will be sad. 18% invert sugars will be fine, just use the darker sugars. I'd cut down the clear to about 1.25 lbs and up the darker candi.

    Welcome to the site
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    Lakewood said:

    I'll check my recipe building guidelines when I get home tonight, but off the top of my head 15% special b seems high.

    As far as aging, the best aging conditions are similar to those for wine. Around 60 degrees and stable.

    I've never used el dorado, so I'm not familiar with the flavor profile.

    You can get away with more sugars if you are using belgian candi or invert sugars, since they have a nonfermentable component and various flavors. If just just load a beer with 18% corn sugar you will be sad. 18% invert sugars will be fine, just use the darker sugars. I'd cut down the clear to about 1.25 lbs and up the darker candi.

    Welcome to the site



    Thanks for the info - you think the Special B might just completely take this one over and over power the yeast characteristics? Thanks for the heads up - this was a tricky recipe for me not having gone this big before - I actually had it at 10.5 abv at one point and thought it better to reduce the sugar than "have" to get to double digit ABV
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,634
    Welcome to the site! Pretty much what Lake said. From what I've read that is way too much Special B. But I don't have much experience with Belgian Strongs. Stick around and Ceannt will show up :D
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,634
    @CZs I moved this over here. Lots of great info.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    thanks C_dubbs!
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lemme dig into my BDSA recipe, I think I'm around 5-7% special-b in recipes I use it in.

    Though I am a fan of a touch of debittered black in my darker beers
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    Welcome CZ!

    I agree with the special B comments above .... keep it less than 10%.... 5 or 6% will give you the flavor ... anything more will overwhelm.... and will make it too sweet. It should be fairly dry for such a big beer
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    70 degrees is fine for ageing
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    You may have a bit too much caramunich in there too ..... I would cut it back to a half pound or so
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    I like the wheat in there ... good call
    I would personally skip the oats entirely though ... adds too much mouth feel for the style
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    Maybe make up the difference in what I have suggested to cut down on with munich malt .....
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    ceannt said:

    Maybe make up the difference in what I have suggested to cut down on with munich malt .....



    Thanks ceannt - very valuable input. If possible - what do you suggest for creating a larger abv while balancing the Special B, Munich, or other darker grains and using the sugar? This recipe formulation is a def step up for me in advancing my understanding - On one hand - I wanted it to be a 10-10.5 abv, but, am willing to go down in the 9.25-9.5 area for the sake of it being a better beer - I don't want to be on the low, low end of this style though as I'd like to compare it to between a Rochfort 8/10. Don't want too much overpowering Raisiny/sweet, however, don't want a lot of sugar to make up for it. Should I have used more Pils? I absolutely love the unmalted wheat - for slight haze and for authenticity's sake. However, blame azscoob for the oats lol. Ever since his Cottage House Saison I love the silkiness no matter what the style and kind of makes my beers my own. I understand what you're saying though - I have a tough time staying within guidelines when I find an aspect I enjoy.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    CZs said:

    ceannt said:

    Maybe make up the difference in what I have suggested to cut down on with munich malt .....



    Thanks ceannt - very valuable input. If possible - what do you suggest for creating a larger abv while balancing the Special B, Munich, or other darker grains and using the sugar? This recipe formulation is a def step up for me in advancing my understanding - On one hand - I wanted it to be a 10-10.5 abv, but, am willing to go down in the 9.25-9.5 area for the sake of it being a better beer - I don't want to be on the low, low end of this style though as I'd like to compare it to between a Rochfort 8/10. Don't want too much overpowering Raisiny/sweet, however, don't want a lot of sugar to make up for it. Should I have used more Pils? I absolutely love the unmalted wheat - for slight haze and for authenticity's sake. However, blame azscoob for the oats lol. Ever since his Cottage House Saison I love the silkiness no matter what the style and kind of makes my beers my own. I understand what you're saying though - I have a tough time staying within guidelines when I find an aspect I enjoy.


    I can understand the desire to use ingredients that you like in other styles!
    You want this style to be very highly attenuated.... low mash temps... long mash... etc. I like to mash at 148 or so for an hour and a half on these... too much crystal malts like the special B and caramunich kinda defeat this... you need some, but its easy to overdo.

    You can either bump up the base malt, or add plain old munich malt to get the abv up. Remember, with the lower mash temps, you will get more bang for your buck as far as apv goes than "normal", say than if you mashed at 154...

    Don't loose your mind trying to stay in the guidelines... but you want it "close enough" to tell what it is...

    You will get a good bit of flavor from the sugars, and the yeast... just a little special B and caramunich go a long way......
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    ceannt said:

    CZs said:

    ceannt said:

    Maybe make up the difference in what I have suggested to cut down on with munich malt .....



    Thanks ceannt - very valuable input. If possible - what do you suggest for creating a larger abv while balancing the Special B, Munich, or other darker grains and using the sugar? This recipe formulation is a def step up for me in advancing my understanding - On one hand - I wanted it to be a 10-10.5 abv, but, am willing to go down in the 9.25-9.5 area for the sake of it being a better beer - I don't want to be on the low, low end of this style though as I'd like to compare it to between a Rochfort 8/10. Don't want too much overpowering Raisiny/sweet, however, don't want a lot of sugar to make up for it. Should I have used more Pils? I absolutely love the unmalted wheat - for slight haze and for authenticity's sake. However, blame azscoob for the oats lol. Ever since his Cottage House Saison I love the silkiness no matter what the style and kind of makes my beers my own. I understand what you're saying though - I have a tough time staying within guidelines when I find an aspect I enjoy.


    I can understand the desire to use ingredients that you like in other styles!
    You want this style to be very highly attenuated.... low mash temps... long mash... etc. I like to mash at 148 or so for an hour and a half on these... too much crystal malts like the special B and caramunich kinda defeat this... you need some, but its easy to overdo.

    You can either bump up the base malt, or add plain old munich malt to get the abv up. Remember, with the lower mash temps, you will get more bang for your buck as far as apv goes than "normal", say than if you mashed at 154...

    Don't loose your mind trying to stay in the guidelines... but you want it "close enough" to tell what it is...

    You will get a good bit of flavor from the sugars, and the yeast... just a little special B and caramunich go a long way......


    great point about getting more bang out of lower, longer mash time - thanks, this really helps
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    CZs said:

    ceannt said:

    CZs said:

    ceannt said:

    Maybe make up the difference in what I have suggested to cut down on with munich malt .....



    Thanks ceannt - very valuable input. If possible - what do you suggest for creating a larger abv while balancing the Special B, Munich, or other darker grains and using the sugar? This recipe formulation is a def step up for me in advancing my understanding - On one hand - I wanted it to be a 10-10.5 abv, but, am willing to go down in the 9.25-9.5 area for the sake of it being a better beer - I don't want to be on the low, low end of this style though as I'd like to compare it to between a Rochfort 8/10. Don't want too much overpowering Raisiny/sweet, however, don't want a lot of sugar to make up for it. Should I have used more Pils? I absolutely love the unmalted wheat - for slight haze and for authenticity's sake. However, blame azscoob for the oats lol. Ever since his Cottage House Saison I love the silkiness no matter what the style and kind of makes my beers my own. I understand what you're saying though - I have a tough time staying within guidelines when I find an aspect I enjoy.


    I can understand the desire to use ingredients that you like in other styles!
    You want this style to be very highly attenuated.... low mash temps... long mash... etc. I like to mash at 148 or so for an hour and a half on these... too much crystal malts like the special B and caramunich kinda defeat this... you need some, but its easy to overdo.

    You can either bump up the base malt, or add plain old munich malt to get the abv up. Remember, with the lower mash temps, you will get more bang for your buck as far as apv goes than "normal", say than if you mashed at 154...

    Don't loose your mind trying to stay in the guidelines... but you want it "close enough" to tell what it is...

    You will get a good bit of flavor from the sugars, and the yeast... just a little special B and caramunich go a long way......


    great point about getting more bang out of lower, longer mash time - thanks, this really helps


    Glad to help out!
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,769
    FWIW, I would use the pilsen to boost the ABV. Munich isn't my first choice there, just because it has a more distinctive flavor.

    Basically the equation in my head is:

    More. Body. Less
    OG: Pilsen/2-row ---------- simple sugars


    Then add to that base the grains needed to achieve the flavor profile.

    If you overshoot your og after adding the flavor grains, then back off the OG components, but maintain the same ratio.

    The simple sugars component can be broken down into different grades and types to match the grain flavor proflie. (His is important in my mind -- don't try to add flavors with sugars, just balance and support existing flavors. When in doubt err on the side of using more straight up corn or table sugars, and add specialy grains to get the complex flavors of toasty, caramel, plum, etc. If you have them from grains already, they can be supported by the candi inverts.

    *soapbox off*
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    thanks Lakewood - my brew session is this Friday night so I was only able to get my hand s on Rahr 2 row to boost my base (made of Castle 2-row) - I'm pretty sure that would be ok. After taking everyone's info into consideration - I've re-arranged this sucker.

    Boil Size: 8 gals
    Batch Size 6 gals
    80 min boil
    Estimated OG: 1.113
    Estimated FG: 1.028 - increased body
    ABV: 11.15%
    IBU: 25.7
    SRM: 36.75

    Wyeast 1762 for 3 days at 65F
    Wyeast 3787 to bat cleanup - in carboy for 1 month until primed with 5oz cane, .75 oz turbinado solution in bottling bucket, added to 22 oz bottles with a couple 12 oz for monthly testing. Plan on tasting at 1, 2, 4, 6 mo. Save one for a year.

    Fermentables:
    10lb Castle Pils 2-row - 39.4%
    6.45lb Rahr Pils 2-row - 25.4% - this makes my base of Pils 64.8% of the recipe.
    1.5lb Special B 5.9% - got into that 5-7% range
    1.25lb Caramunich II - 4.9%
    1lb Unmalted Wheat - 3.9%
    .5 Flaked Oats - 2.0%
    .25 De-bittered black - Azscoob, you got me curious with this one - had to
    .5lb D-45 Candi Syrup - 2% - 16 min boil
    .75 D-90 Candi Syrup - 3% - 14 min boil
    1 lb D-180 - 3.9% - 8 min boil
    2.15 lb Clear Candi Syrup - 8.5% - this makes my sugars 17.4% - lowered from 18
    1/2 tsp Wyeast Nutrient dissolved in 8 oz water - 10 min boil

    Mash
    1. 125F 25min rest
    2. 135F 45min
    3. 145F 80 min
    4. 170F Fly Sparge
    5. Batch sparge until reach desired clarity

    Hops:
    1 oz East Kent Goldings -55 min (4.8AA) 10.86 Total IBUs
    1 oz El Dorado -12 min (15.3AA) 14.84 Total IBUs

    How are we lookin now? Thanks again everyone!
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,769
    I want some.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,769
    I wouldn't bother tasting at 1 or 2 months unless you want a point of comparison to know what a big green beer tastes like. I'd do the first sampe at 3 and save yourself the heartache of thinking your beer is messed up... Or taste it "for science"..
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I like the Munich malt idea, it is one of those grains that go great in most anything,

    Like in a hefe... :D
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    CZs said:

    thanks Lakewood - my brew session is this Friday night so I was only able to get my hand s on Rahr 2 row to boost my base (made of Castle 2-row) - I'm pretty sure that would be ok. After taking everyone's info into consideration - I've re-arranged this sucker.

    Boil Size: 8 gals
    Batch Size 6 gals
    80 min boil
    Estimated OG: 1.113
    Estimated FG: 1.028 - increased body
    ABV: 11.15%
    IBU: 25.7
    SRM: 36.75

    Wyeast 1762 for 3 days at 65F
    Wyeast 3787 to bat cleanup - in carboy for 1 month until primed with 5oz cane, .75 oz turbinado solution in bottling bucket, added to 22 oz bottles with a couple 12 oz for monthly testing. Plan on tasting at 1, 2, 4, 6 mo. Save one for a year.

    Fermentables:
    10lb Castle Pils 2-row - 39.4%
    6.45lb Rahr Pils 2-row - 25.4% - this makes my base of Pils 64.8% of the recipe.
    1.5lb Special B 5.9% - got into that 5-7% range
    1.25lb Caramunich II - 4.9%
    1lb Unmalted Wheat - 3.9%
    .5 Flaked Oats - 2.0%
    .25 De-bittered black - Azscoob, you got me curious with this one - had to
    .5lb D-45 Candi Syrup - 2% - 16 min boil
    .75 D-90 Candi Syrup - 3% - 14 min boil
    1 lb D-180 - 3.9% - 8 min boil
    2.15 lb Clear Candi Syrup - 8.5% - this makes my sugars 17.4% - lowered from 18
    1/2 tsp Wyeast Nutrient dissolved in 8 oz water - 10 min boil

    Mash
    1. 125F 25min rest
    2. 135F 45min
    3. 145F 80 min
    4. 170F Fly Sparge
    5. Batch sparge until reach desired clarity

    Hops:
    1 oz East Kent Goldings -55 min (4.8AA) 10.86 Total IBUs
    1 oz El Dorado -12 min (15.3AA) 14.84 Total IBUs

    How are we lookin now? Thanks again everyone!



    Ok, I am drooling now..... =P~
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    awesome! I'm def going to taste at 1 to 2 months, just for the sake of "how's it doing so far?" aka I'm an impatient son of a gun. Thanks for the help again - I will post sometime this coming weekend after my Friday night brew session.

    EDIT: one last question, we swears precious - what do you think about my 5.75 oz prime for this?
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    CZs said:

    awesome! I'm def going to taste at 1 to 2 months, just for the sake of "how's it doing so far?" aka I'm an impatient son of a gun. Thanks for the help again - I will post sometime this coming weekend after my Friday night brew session.

    EDIT: one last question, we swears precious - what do you think about my 5.75 oz prime for this?



    That puts it at around 3 volumes I think. Maybe a little high for the style, not sure on that though.

    I keg so I'm a bit fuzzy on the bottling sugar stuff.

    @Ceannt should be popping in for this question, he bottles.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,486
    Per the style guidelines (such as they are) this style should be highly carbonated ... to the point that regular craft beer bottles will send shrapnel all over your house .... so unless you are using heavy duty bottles don't do it!
    I don't like beer that carbonated anyway ....
    3 ounces is plenty
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.