Mar 29, 2009

Black Belgian Ale

Target Gravity = 1.066
Original Gravity = 1.072
36 IBU
Final Gravity = 1.014
81% Attenuated
7.6% ABV
This is going to be my entry in the Copper Creek Creative Libation Contest, and the intent is to make a black trippel with a tad of sweetness coming from a pound of medium crystal. The contest calls for a "bent beer" that does not fit easily in a traditional category. I think the unorthadoxy here will mostly be visual -- I am trying to keep it subtle since I think many of the other competitors will go over the top with their entries which could lead to less drinkable beers. We'll see.

4.6.09 -- Gravity measured 1.014, which was around 80% attenuated. I racked the beer into a keg so that I could condition it in the chest freezer at 34 degrees. The beer is not as black as I wanted it to be, and I am afraid that I have done nothing more than make a sort of Dubbel with the crystal malt addition taking the place of the candi sugar that would normally be there.
4.24.09 -- I took the keg out of the cooler and hooked it up to the gas. I turned the pressure way up (around 23psi) to get major carbonation going. A couple days later, this beer was about ready. The first few glasses had me worried since it tasted a little like rotten garbage, but after the yeast was cleared from the bottom of the keg, the Chimay yeast gave off its signature dark cherry notes. I am still unsure if this recipe is "bent" enough for the contest since it tastes an awful lot like a typical dubbel. I cannot complain though. This beer is light bodied, strong, and flavorful.
5.20.09 -- I turned in one of the five bottles of Black Belgian Ale I filled on 5.15.09 for submission into the contest.
5.24.09 -- Found out a couple days ago that my beer did not make it to the second round. Oh, well. I still like it.
5.29.09 -- got the notes back from whoever judged my beer. It seems as though they did not even taste it. They said it was "phenolic" and stopped there. I am very dissapointed that they did not give it any more time than that. This beer with this yeast is meant to be phenolic, though I would admit the phenols in this beer are a little more pronounced than they should be. I do not think it was anything to prevent someone from going further than just smelling it.

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