Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dragon Slayer Belgian-style Double IPA Update

Almost six months ago I set out to brew a Belgian-style Double IPA. That would be a beer that had the malt bill of a quad with the hopping rate of a Double or Imperial IPA. Tonight I'm trying a bottle and it's rather interesting. First of all, the nose is very complex with caramel and fruitcake sort of hanging in a musty, boozy fog. The carbonation is high, but not completely out of control and makes for a rocky head. There is quite a bit of bitterness, rather harsh at one point somewhere in the middle, but this bitterness is cloaked in candied citrus flavors. The finish is dry and quite bitter. Perhaps the most succinct way to put it is it tastes like a Rogue Old Crustacean barleywine might taste if it was fermented with a Belgian Yeast. It will be interesting to taste this beer in six month, or year or two from now. The ingredients were very simple:

9 lbs Briess Pilsner DME
2 lbs Briess Weizen DME
3/4 lb cane sugar
2 ounces Chinook pellets at 11.5% AA for 60 mins
3 ounces Chinook pellets for 30 mins
1 ounce of Chinook pellets for 10 mins
3 ounces of Crystal whole hops for 5 mins
3 ounces of Sytrian Goldings dry hopped for 20 days
Fermented with two pouches of SafBrew T-58

Brewed September 18, 2010, racked eight days later and bottled on October 16.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Not Quite a Sticke

Okay, well it's not quite a Sticke Alt but it's a little hoppier (and actually lighter, not darker) than my last batch of Alt-a-like ale brewed with Wyeast #1010. The first batch is light brown to amber and hazy with just a little bit of hop Strisselspalt hop aroma with a touch of chocolate. This first batch turned out silky smooth with caramel malt flavors balanced by a little bit of chocolate malt and a dusty, dry, bitter hop finish. No real perceived hop flavor, but a modest bitterness. I've been most impressed with the mouthfeel of this beer and I credit the three weeks of lagering at near freezing and the use of Weyermann malts. The exceptionally low alcohol of four percent also makes this beer eminently quaffable. It shall not last.

No Weyermann malts in the second batch, but the same yeast, re-pitched. I skipped the dark Carafa malts and stuck with a combination of Briess amber dry malt extract and a pound of 60L crystal. Instead of Strisselspalt and Crystal, I used Northern Brewer for bittering and Styrian Goldings (from Slovenia) for flavoring. I probably should of dry-hopped this beer for more of Sticke alt presentation, but I suppose I am impatient. As a result, I would put this beer somewhere between a traditional Dusseldorf Alt and a Sticke Alt. I think it will be a good Spring beer. All that said, I think I need to use Weyermann malts for these type of beers. The Weyermann malt seems to be of a very high quality and makes very silky smooth ales.