Sunday, May 24, 2009


The Belgian Dubbel is probably one of my favorite styles to drink, and to brew. It's got everything in it, although to be fair, probably not a hop head style. The malts are upfront, the Belgian yeast gets free reign to express itself, and there's the signature dark candi syrup to boost the alcohol and keep it light. Seriously. If you stuck me on a deserted island for the rest of my life, and the only beer I had access to was Chimay Red, I'd probably be cool with that.

Also: I really enjoy using Special B for some reason.

Belgian Pale Malt- 7 lbs.
Munich Malt Dark- 2 lbs.
Special B- 12 oz.
Aromatic- 4 oz.
Homemade Candy Dark Candi Syrup- 1 lb.

American Kent Goldings- 1 oz.- 60 minutes
Mount Hood- .875 oz.- 14 minutes

Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale- yeast cake from the Belgian Pale Ale batch

151/165- Hot water infusions

Gravity- Target/Actual/Final/ABV-

There are a few departures from the previous versions I did. I changed the Vienna malt to Dark Munich which should give it a hint of roastiness along with a little extra color (my previous versions turned out orange as opposed to a deep brown that I had been shooting for). New hops, new yeast, but the best part was the sugar. Belgian candi sugar at a homebrew shop is tremendously expensive (something like $5 for a pound), and the candi syrup that they use in Belgium is even worse (more like $9). I've read up quite a bit about it, and every source seemed to say that these were basically cooked up versions of regular sugar that you can buy at the grocery store for a few bucks for a five pound bag. In Brew Like a Monk, Stan Hieronymus even talked to a brewer who had an analysis done by Archer Daniels Midland, and they told him it was regular sugar, so just buy sugar. So I cooked this one up myself. The result so far: I am never buying sugar at the homebrew store again. It took a little longer to cook up than I was expecting, but I got a nice dark color out without roasting it. All for less than a dollar.

A very successful brew day, and I'm very much looking forward to tasting this. My last one I did for Thanksgiving last year didn't have as much time in the bottle to condition, so I want to see what the yeast can do with a proper long storage period.


Jonathan said...

Special B is nice, right?! I also enjoy using Biscuit. We were brainstorming on how to do a Biscuit and Gravy beer.

Oh wait... you're from Chicago. Do you guys even eat biscuits and gravy?

Kevin LaVoy said...

Biscuits and gravy? Of course. Chicago is the culinary capital of the world. We've got everything here, except The Waffle House, which is a huge disappointment.