Belgian Dubbel

From Wikipedia describing the style of Belgian Dubbel. "The dubbel (also double) is a Belgian beer naming convention. The origin of the dubbel was a beer brewed in the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in 1856. The abbey had, since 10 December 1836, brewed a witbier that was quite sweet and light in alcohol for consumption by the paters. The new beer, however, was a strong version of a brown beer. In 1926, the formulation was changed and it became even stronger. The first written record of its sale by the abbey was on 1 June 1861. Following World War Two, abbey beers became popular in Belgium and the name "dubbel" was used by several breweries. Today, the name dubbel is used in Belgium to refer to an ale, usually brownish in colour, with a strength greater than a pilsner, for example, yet milder than a tripel."

Above in the picture I'm mashing in. In the recipe I used Belgian Pilsner malt, wheat malt, dark munich malt, and belgian special B. Also used dark belgian candi sugar and raisons in the kettle. A little lighter in color than I was hoping for but still had a nice scarlet hue. Fermenting vigoursly on second generation high gravity trappist yeast in the cellar. Fermenting around seventy two degrees. Looking forward to bottling this one and giving it some age. I need more fermentation vessels.

To right is the dubble in primary FV. Nearly complete fermentation. A strong krausen is going to be fun to clean, as seen. Going to be racking to 2nd FV soon, next couple of days. Once I start to see activity slow and the yeast begin to settle then I'll rack.

Racked the dubbel. Tasted good. Hot from the alcohols. Going to need age to smooth out. Good dark fruit character. A light brown ruby color. Need to get that dark scarlet brown color to be a true dubbel.

Juniper Rye Ale

Inspired by the Juniper beers of Finland. Refered to as 'Sahti'. Wikipedia has this to say about the style. "Sahti is a traditional beer from Finland made from a variety of grains, malted and unmalted, including barley, rye, wheat, and oats; sometimes bread made from these grains is fermented instead of malt itself. Traditionally the beer is flavored with juniper berries in addition to, or instead of, hops; the mash is filtered through juniper twigs through a trough shaped tun called a kuurna in Finnish. Sahti has a distinct banana flavor due to the yeast. Sahti is a top-fermented brew (ale), and while baking yeast has been used traditionally, ale yeast may also be used in fermenting.
The end product is a cloudy, mildly alcoholic beer with yeasty and phenolic flavors and distinct taste similar to banana. Sahti is traditionally home brewed but in recent years commercial versions have become available."

My version has barley, rye, and wheat malts. Some crystal rye for color. Brewed to 17.5 plato. Final abv should be around seven and a half. In this batch I'm using a neutral yeast strain instead of the phenolic 'banana' strain talked about above. I want the peppery rye malt and juniper flavor to come through, with a clean malt backbone. The final beer should take some time to age. This is second batch of a Juniper Rye beer I've brewed based of Randy Mosher's Sahti recipe. Racked the beer out of the primary fermentation vessel seven days after brewing. The krausen had fallen and thinned. The yeast became to settle in layers at the bottom. It was time to rack. If you leave beer on top of the yeast bed, especially in home brewing the yeast could begin to autolyze. Literally meaning the yeast begins to cannibalize itself which causes an array of issues.
The beer itself tasted pretty good thus far. Strong pine, juniper gin smell and flavor. Oily mouth feel from the spices that does fade with time. I'll keep this beer in secondary FV for 5-10 days. Then either bottle or keg, probably keg. Racked into keg today 5/11. The taste is very piney, with a stong juniper, dry gin character.

Joyeuse Paques! Happy Easter! Frohe Ostern!

Busy day home brewing this Easter Sunday. Was mashed in by eight thirty in the morning. Using one hundred percent dark Munich malt in the mash and hallertau whole leaf hops in the boil. Using classic German ale yeast. Inspired by the Alt (old) beers of northern Germany. They are called Altbiers because it refers to the old style of brewing, meaning making ales. Once the Germans "discovered" a "new" yeast strain in their caves they all but forgot their ale brewing history. Most Altbiers today are made in Dusseldorf, Germany. These beers are clean yet robust with a complex aroma of rich malt and noble hops. Overall a balanced, malty yet bitter, smooth well attenuated ale. Best examples are found in the Altstadt (old town) section of Dusseldorf in brewpubs. A variant of the style is a Sticke (secret) Alt. Which is richer, smoother, and more complex. Also stronger in abv and stored for longer to round out the edges.

Using some of the wort from the batch today to get a yeast starter going for my up coming Trappist Ale. I need to propagate the yeast because the starting gravity is so high in the recipe and the cell count in the smack pack is only enough for 1.060 specific gravity wort, that the yeast would go into shock. Causing off flavors and low attenuation. In the Trappist Ale I'll be using pilsner malt, wheat malt, flaked oats, honey and French strisselspalt hops. Never used these hops before, looking forward to using them. I'm using a flask to propagate the yeast. Flasks are easy to clean, sanitize, and pour into a carboy using small funnel.

Overall good brew day. Start to finish the batch took five hours. A couple more things to clean up and tinker on though. To the right is a picture of an immersion wort chiller. Works well enough, cooling the wort under twenty five minutes. This afternoon I'll be building a raised bed for a small hop garden and enjoying some home brew. Happy Easter!