Thursday, 12 February 2015

Chthonian Dubbel

I've recently had an overcarbonation problem, as you may be able to tell. The other beer affected is the 100% "Brett" trois wit (the problem being, as many in the homebrew community now know, White labs Brettanomyces bruxellensis "Trois" is likely a Saccharomyces strain). The other thing I'm blaming is this Duvel glass, which has a laser etched "D" at the bottom of the glass that serves as a nucleation site to release the carbonation and get more foaming. I personally don't like the laser etched glasses because it drives too much carbonation out of solution which leads to an explosively foamy beer at first that then dies into a sad, flat excuse for the belgian it once was.

Back to the beer: I brewed this beer around October of 2014 when I first started this blog. I wanted it to be ready by about Christmas time as a winter warmer beer. Many people recommend aging belgian beers for 6 months or so, but I figured I would just allow it to age in the bottle instead of the carboy. I feel that the 3 months of aging would be more than sufficient to turn out a tasty beer that I could share with my family.

I didn't really get to share this beer much actually, I still have the majority of it sitting in the basement. I'd like to let half of it reach the six month mark to get a feel for how it will ultimately turn out. This was the first time I had used real belgian candi syrup in a belgian beer. I had been so stubborn and cheap previously that I had just been making home made caramelized sugar and hoping for the best. Belgian candi syrup is apparently caramelized sugar made with magic and belgian-ness to give it a unique flavor compared to homemade. The legit stuff has flavors of dark fruit and cherries as well as chocolate notes rather than the flavor of home caramel. I don't know just how much I buy into the difference, but I seldomly make belgian beers, so I'm alright with handing over the cash very rarely to get the legit ingredients.

Chthonian Dubbel

OG: 1.070 FG: 1.020
16 IBU

Two row malt - 9#
Munich - 2#
Dark candi syrup - 1#
Crystal 120 - 0.5#
Crystal 60 - 0.25#

1.5 oz Tettnanger 60 mins

Wyeast 3787

Fermented @ ambient temps, aged 3 months prior to bottling

Appearance: Pretty dark, but with definite red hue throughout. Large off white head that persists (despite the glass)

Aroma: Dark caramel, low fruit aromas, small hint of banana.

Flavor: Some fruity esters, and spice notes like clove. Lots of dark sugar flavors like raisin and caramel. Fades into a malty finish with definite munich malt flavor. Finish is too sweet, but there is still a bitterness from the hops to balance it.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated (not so much by end of tasting - see glassware)

Overall: I'm not crazy about this one to be honest. There's some great flavors from the munich and the candi syrup, but it's lacking in terms of belgian yeast flavors. I'd like some stronger spice and fruit flavors from the yeast, but they didn't show up very well due to the low fermentation temperatures. I like dark belgian ales, so I will likely make another like this and try to fix it during the summer months so I can have a warm fermentation. It turned out much too sweet, which I hope that a warmer fermentation will help to lower as well.

Thanks for reading!

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