42 – A Belgian Dark Strong

42 – to some it is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything; to others it is merely the number that falls between 41 and 43. . .

. . .But today, it is the name of my next recipe.  Motivated by a Chop & EditBrew video and a Jamil show webcast, this is intended to be a classical Belgian Dark Strong Ale – high in alcohol, lightly bodied, long ageing and slow drinking.  A real treat for most brewers.

This recipe is taken straight off of the Chop & Brew video, aside from some minor adjustments for my system.  This beer will feature my homemade Belgian Candi Sugar (Links: 1, 2, Youtube), plus a limited release Wyeast yeast (3822-PC – Belgian Strong Ale – available in my yeast bank).  It is lower in alcohol that many beers of this style because a) I want a faster-maturing version, so I can see how my homemade candi sugar works in a beer, and b) I want to send a few bottles of this out for Christmas (edit: and c) because I screwed up my sparge somehow).  This beer should be bottleable in 6-8 or so weeks, although it will continue to age and improve for 6 or more months in-bottle.

The video that spawned this brew, as well as brew-day notes & the recipe, can all be found below the fold.

The Chop & Brew Video (Episode 12: Belgian Dark Strong Ales)

Brewday Notes:

There isn’t much to note here.  I finally dialed-in the thermal mass of my mashtun, so my strike temperature was dead-on.  However, I somehow managed to have some of the wort sparge efficiency imaginable, and larger-than-normal boil-off volumes, so my sugar content is low.  Oh well, easy-come-easy-go.

The Recipe

Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Type: All GrainDate: 13-09-19
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 lBrewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Size: 27.32 lBoil Time: 90 min


5.44 kgPilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)Grain180.7 %
0.68 kgMunich Malt (9.0 SRM)Grain210.1 %
0.11 kgCaramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)Grain31.6 %
0.06 kgBlackprinz Malt (500.0 SRM)Grain40.9 %
28.35 gFirst Gold [7.50 %] – Boil 90.0 minHop525.5 IBUs
0.26 tspIrish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)Fining6
0.45 kgCandi Sugar, Dark [Boil for 10 min](275.0 SRM)Sugar76.7 %
1.0 pkgBelgian Dark Ale (Wyeast Labs #3822)Yeast8
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.075 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.069 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SGEstimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.3 %
Est Color: 28.4 SRMBitterness: 25.5 IBUs
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch SpargeTotal Grain Weight: 6.74 kg
Sparge Water: 17.21 lGrain Temperature: 22.2 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 CTun Temperature: 22.2 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUEMash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps

NameDescriptionStep Temp  Step Time
Mash InAdd 16.66 l of water at 74.4 C66.7 C60 min

Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (3.43l, 13.78l) of 75.6 C water
Carbonation and Storage
KegVolumes of CO2: 2.3
Fermentation: Ale, Two StagAge for: 45 days
Adjust for OG 1.076, IBU: 26. Use home-made sugar, 1lb
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