Archive for the ‘Belgian beer’ Category

Belgian Strong Ale

February 21, 2011

I’m trying to clean off my desk before my upcoming travels, get myself as organized as possible instead of this mass of papers, books, and other junk that I call my life. In the midst of one pile I found the scribbled notes of a recipe for a Belgian golden ale that I had not posted here. Since I use this blog as a kind of recipe book for me as much or more than any of my readers, I thought I should jot it down before I leave (and I guess it’s either an appropriate style since we’ll be flying into Brussels on our way to Africa, or perhaps oddly inappropriate since we’ll be flying into Rwanda).  Anyway, here goes:

– .25 lbs Dingeman’s Caramel Pils
– .25 lbs Dingeman’s BiscuitGambrinus
steeped  20 minutes in 1 gallon 170 degree water. Sparged with a gallon room temp water.

– 7 lbs Pilsen malt syrup
– 2 lbs clear belgian candi sugar
– 1 oz Czech Saaz hops, 3.9% (60 min)
– 1 oz Tettnang hops, 4.9% (60 min)
– 1/2 oz Czech Saaz, 3.9% (30 min)
– 1/2 oz Hersbrucker, 2.4% (30 min)
– 1/2 oz Hersbrucker, 2.4% (10 min)
– 1 oz Czech Saaz, 3.9% (1 min)
– 1 Tbsp Irish moss (15 min)
– 1 cup malto dextrin (15 min)

– Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale.
– 1 oz calcium carbonate for yeast, aerated well.

OG: 1.079

This is another one that can use some aging so it will sit until well after I’m back, hopefully ready for a summer party. See ya then!

Today’s Tripel

August 27, 2008

Brewed a Belgian Tripel today.  My first.  Lots of malt and sugar for a big beer.  I wanted one of those pale but sweet and yeasty brews like the St. Bernardus tripel.  One of my favorites.  The brewing went really well, but it looks a good bit darker than I intended.  The malt flavor, though, seems really solid and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  But it’s a big beer, so maybe for the holidays?

Here’s the day’s recipe:

1/2 lb Dingeman’s Carapils steeped in 1 gallon of 170 degree water for an hour and sparged with 1 gallon 170 degree water
9.5 lbs Northern Brewer Gold malt syrup
1 lb clear Belgian candi sugar
Enough water to get a full 6 gallon boil
.5 oz of 17% Summit hops boiled for 60 minutes
.5 oz 3.8% Saaz hops for 5 minutes
.5 oz 3.8% Saaz hops for 1 minute
Cooled to 80 degrees
Pitched a 2 cup starter of Wyeast Trappist high gravity yeast
Original Gravity = 1.066
Will ferment in my basement which is running about 70 degrees

As I say, it tastes like I would imagine at this point, but it doesn’t really look like I imagine. Nevertheless, an exciting new beer for me. Next up, a hybrid steam/oktoberfest. I want to brew an oktoberfest, but I don’t have the temperature or time to use a lager yeast at this point. The Steam yeast though can still give me that nice clear, rich malt profile, so I’ll go with that. Hopefully I can brew one next week. ‘Till then, Prost.

Beer Appreciation 101

March 14, 2008

I have a good friend who is a fantastic chef at a small cafe in Mount Vernon. This is a New York Times-reviewed restaurant that people come from hours around to eat at, and Matt is on the short list for a James Beard Award this year. Now, the restaurant is not necessarily veggie friendly (as he says, “well I thought about making more vegetarian food, but then I thought, ‘fuck it’.”–I respect honesty after all) so I don’t necessarily eat there as often as many locals do (though all visiting writers I bring to campus go to the cafe), but I really respect his sensibility. He works with organic and free range meats, supports the local, organic farming industry as much as possible and is the kind of conscientious entrepreneur that I really appreciate. Besides that, he’s just a great guy.

He has never been able to sell alcohol at the restaurant which is unfortunate for both his customers and himself, but relatively recently he managed to buy a wine bar just two doors down. It’s a nice, comfortable place to get a good bottle of wine and take it to the restaurant. Wine is big in these parts: many foodies who love a good bottle of wine in the area. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good bottle of wine myself. But where, I ask, are all the beer fanatics? I know they’re around, (I mean this is the land of John’s Groceries after all) and I know they would probably love to have a good beer at the wine bar/restaurant as well. So, I took it upon myself to try to open up the door to good beer drinking to my friend Matt. I figured a foodie such as himself would really appreciate a good Belgian beer.

We had Matt and his partner and our good friends Tony and Sarah over to sample some Belgians. This is a much more daunting task than I imagined (at least if the goal is ultimately to have someone leave really wanting to sell some good beer at his bar). You want to pick good beer that will intrigue someone, but you don’t necessarily overwhelm them. I’m not going to spring a real sour Flemish red on someone necessarily unless they’ve already developed an interest/taste, yes? So many to choose from but the tastes are so different it’s difficult to know what someone will respond to. So, I picked a variety in what I think of as the classic strains: golden, double, triple, quadrupel, and a couple biere de garde /farmhouse style beers.


Definitely a fun evening and, if nothing else, I think I got people interested in the idea of a beer session. People in general liked the Piraat. We had a couple St. Bernardus with dinner and I think we lost touch with actually tasting by that point, so while generally enjoyed I’m not sure we fully appreciated them. Matt did not really go for any of the darker beers, but he was certainly interested in the lighter styles, the farmhouse and the golden. My friend Tony and I agreed on the St. Feuillien–a really nice mustiness to the rich yeast flavor. Great stuff. I’m not sure I have Matt convinced to become a Belgian haven, but I’ll keep working on it. In the meantime, visit the cafe, enjoy the meal, and mention how good his exotic food would be with a really fine beer.