Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Roughly once a year I stumble across a Westmalle Dubbel at the store, a bar, or at a friend's house and I remember just how darn a great dubbel can be.  The Dubbel style beer was orginated in the 1850s at Westmalle Abbey.  Westmalle Abbey is a trappist brewery (i.e. monks!)  in the Campine region of the province of Antwerp (Flanders, Belgium).  The style can best be described as a smooth and creamy delicious malt-bomb.  The technical BJCP description can be found here.

Lately, I've had dubbel on the brain.  My last couple of batches have been english or german fermented and thus I feel compelled to brew Belgian.  Despite where my interests wander from batch to batch, my heart is never far from Flanders.  Accordingly, I hope to brew a large batch (approx 8 gallons) of dubbel in the coming weeks.  I recently purchased a fairly large sack of US two row malted barley and thus despite ideally using a belgian barley I will most likely use this as the backbone.  I also purchased a pound of both the D-90 and D-180 candi syrups, which I have been looking to use.

Here's my current thoughts on a tentative recipe, based mostly on what I've got in stock:


Style: Belgian DubbelOG: 1.067
Type: All GrainFG: 1.012
Rating: 0.0ABV: 7.20 %
Calories: 216IBU's: 23.95
Efficiency: 70 %Boil Size: 8.98 Gal
Color:   25.1 SRM  Batch Size: 8.00 Gal
Preboil OG: 1.063Boil Time: 75 minutes

Fermentation Steps
NameDays / Temp
Primary14 days @ 65.0°F
Secondary28 days @ 50.0°F
Grains & Adjuncts
18.00 lbs82.76 %Pale Malt (2 Row) US60 mins1.036
1.00 lbs4.60 %Caramunich Malt60 mins1.033
0.50 lbs2.30 %Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L60 mins1.034
4.00 ozs1.15 %Chocolate Malt60 mins1.028
2.00 lbs9.20 %Candi Sugar, Dark60 mins1.036
AmountIBU'sNameTimeAA %
1.50 ozs15.57Styrian Goldings60 mins5.40
1.00 ozs5.59Hallertauer20 mins4.80
1.00 ozs2.79Saaz10 mins4.00
AmountNameLaboratory / ID
1.0 pkgBelgian Abbey IIWyeast Labs 1762

Mash Profile

Medium Body Infusion In60 min @ 154.0°F
 Add 24.69 qt ( 1.25 qt/lb ) water @ 166.0°F

 Sparge 23.50 qt of 170.0°F water over 60 mins

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shiny New Homebrew Bottle Caps

This evening when I got home I received some new bottle caps in the mail.  There weren't any old bottle caps however.  They were self designed logo caps printed by: http://www.bottlemark.com/

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law designed the label.  I realize it may be hard to see the full glory given that these caps are still plastic wrapped, but trust me when I say they look great.  I highly recommend bottlemark.

Keep'em cappin',


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Whiskey Weizenbock

Lately, I've been thinking about ways to use the wheat that was sent to me this summer by our new friend Jason in Kansas.  The wheat was sent shortly after harvest and accordingly it was unmalted.  Admittedly, I was intimidated by the possibility of having to malt close to twenty pounds of wheat.  So I did what anyone would have done, I put the wheat on the shelf and ignored it for awhile.  Having received a fantastic malt mill for Xmas from my parents, I started to think about that raw wheat still sitting on the shelf.  After some reading I realized that I didn't have to malt the wheat as long as I used at least an equal amount of malted barley in the mash.  The enzyme content in modern malted barley is quite high and that means well milled wheat can be broken down into simple sugars by the enzymes in the malted barley included in the same mash.  Enter, the malt mill.

Additionally, I had just purchased a 50 lbs. bag of US two row barley.  Third, while I usually brew ales, my garage has been pretty steadily maintaining a 50 degree temperature the last few weeks, which is the perfect temperature at which to ferment a lager (at least primary fermentation).  All of these factors led me to brew a weizenbock this afternoon.  Now, the recipe wasn't perfect.  This weizenbock is not exactly to style, and I had to call a few audibles.  A pure weizenbock would rely on german malts (munich and pilsner) as the backbone of the mash.  But being a poor graduate student, I couldn't simply ignore that brand new 50 lbs. of two row (what I mean to say is that I couldn't afford to ignore it).  Second, I stopped by my local homebrew store yesterday in hopes of picking up a German Bock yeast strain (WLP833) and unfortunately all they had was the White Labs 838 strain, Southern German Lager.  Again, beggars can't be choosers so I decided to move forward.  Despite both these deviations from the ideal recipe, I think I'll turn out a nice product.

As part of this beer's journey to completion I plan to age it for a few weeks in my recently acquired whiskey barrel (currently being used to age an english strong ale).  I noticed today that Mike, over at the Mad Fermentationist, used a near identical barrel to age a triple wheat bock.  Mike is an awesome brewer, so at least this concept is in good company (the execution is up to me!).

It was a chilly brew day at a high of 32 degrees, which gives everything a dramatic steamy look:

Whiskey Weizenbock

Style: Weizenbock
Type: All GrainCalories: 208
Rating: 0.0Boil Size: 6.40 Gal
IBU's: 26.19Batch Size: 5.50 Gal
Color:   17.8 SRM  Boil Time: 90 minutes
Preboil OG: 1.060

Brew Date:-02/17/2013
ABV:6.55 %6.29 %
Efficiency:70 %67 %
Serve Date:04/14/2013/ /

Fermentation Steps
NameDays / TempEstimatedActual
Primary14 days @ 48.0°F02/17/201302/17/2013
Secondary21 days @ 50.0°F03/03/2013-
Secondary21 days @ 32.0°F03/24/2013-
Grains & Adjuncts
7.00 lbs45.90 %Red Wheat60 mins1.037
7.00 lbs45.90 %Pale Malt (2 Row) US60 mins1.036
1.00 lbs6.56 %Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L60 mins1.034
4.00 ozs1.64 %Chocolate Malt60 mins1.028
AmountIBU'sNameTimeAA %
0.75 ozs16.74Pearle60 mins7.80
1.00 ozs6.68Tettnang15 mins4.70
0.25 ozs2.77Pearle15 mins7.80
AmountNameLaboratory / ID
1.0 pkgSouthern German LagerWhite Labs 0838
Mash Profile

Medium Body Infusion In60 min @ 156.0°F
 Add 19.06 qt ( 1.25 qt/lb ) water @ 173.3°F

 Sparge 16.47 qt of 170.0°F water over 60 mins

Sippin' on wheat and whiskey,


Saturday, February 9, 2013


Unfortunately I haven't had time to brew lately, but homebrew and beer is never far from my mind.  Last weekend I racked the English Strong Ale I brewed in early January to my new barrel.  I'm pretty excited about this brew project and I can wait to see how it turns out.

Mrs. Brew and I made the drive up to Indianapolis this afternoon.  While we were there we stopped at Flat 12 Bierwerks for a bit.  We loved the staff and enjoyed a number of their beers.  Among their notable offerings was a brandy barrel-aged IPA and a bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout.  It helped feed my barrel aging frenzy.

Age it in wood,