Eureka, this post is about one of my favorite recipes so far. And kind of an introduction for the next two posts about Belgian yeasts. There will be a huge post in a few days about a comparison experiment of Belgian yeasts. I am still working on it…
Back to the recipe, the original recipe is from the book “Extreme Brewing” written by the founder of Dogfish Head Sam Calagione. I was quite fascinated about the recipe and so I went for it. I have to mention that I haven’t tried the original Raison d’être yet. It is nearly impossible to get any of the Dogfish Head beers here in Europe. So I can’t tell if this is a real clone recipe or not. And I had to do some changes to apply the recipe for European ingredients and lowered the original gravity as well.
|Recipe:||Reason to Live
|Numbers:||Volume [L]||42 (11 gal)|
|Color||Around 21 EBC|
|Grains:||Vienna Malt (8.5 EBC)||5 kg|
|Pilsner Malt (4.5 EBC)||5 kg|
|Carafa Typ 1 (900 EBC)||0.15 kg|
|Crystal (120 EBC)||0.20 kg|
|Hops:||Magnum (15% AA)||32 g and boil for 60 min|
|Hersbrucker (4% AA)||32 g and boil for 1 min|
|Candy sugar (425 EBC)||0.5 kg and boil for 10 min|
|Yellow Raisins||0.275 kg and boil for 10 min|
|Yeast:||#3522 Belgian Ardennes|
|Water:||Burgdorf||Mash: 45 L (11.9 gal), lauter: 15 L (4 gal) @78°C (172°F)|
|Rest:||3 steps||Mash in @35°C (95°F) and raise temperature to 55°C, 20 min @ 55°C (131°F), 60 min @ 66°C (151°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)|
|Boil:||Total 60 min|
|Fermentation:||Primary||13 days @ 20°C (68°F) in a plastic bucket|
|Secondary||Bottled directly after primary fermentation|
|Maturation:||Carbonation (CO2 vol)||3 with 3.4 L (0.9 gal) of wort and fresh yeast|
|Maturation time||3 – 4 weeks @16°C (61°F|
01/02/2011: Brew day. The first in 2011. Just me and my brewing equipment. This was my first full size batch of 42 L. My kettle can hold about 50 L (13.2 gal). Started to mash-in and already had to pull out about 5 L as the kettle was already full with 45 L of mash water and nearly 10 kg of malts. Put the 5 L back after resting at 55°C (131°F). Sparged and started to boil the wort. No measurements.
Added the hops and candy sugar according to the recipe. The raisins were first puréed in 1 L of hot wort and then added to the boil. Then chilled after a whirlpool to approximately 22°C (72°F) and bottled the left wort from the kettle for priming. OG of about 15.6°P, nearly one Plato higher than expected. Then added two Activator packages to the wort and let it ferment at 20°C (68°F).
01/15/2011: Racked the beer and bottled it with the priming wort. I determined the yeast concentration in the beer with a counting chamber to ensure a proper carbonating process in the bottles. The concentration was about 4 E6 cells in one mL. 1 E6 cells mL-1 are enough for a proper carbonation so there was enough yeast left in the beer. Left the beer for nearly three weeks at 16°C (61°F) for conditioning and storage.
Calculations: OG 15.6°P, TG 2.6°P gives a ABV of 7.1% and an attenuation of 83%. Wyeast states an attenuation of about 72- 76% for the #3522 Belgian Ardennes.
Aroma: Spicy and hints of banana. No hops and malt detectable. Hint of sweetness and some dark fruits. Very nice aroma. Kind of a wine taste too.
Appearance: Copper, clear, nice bubbles and the head is just awesome: creamy, frothy and very persistent.
Flavor: The feast begins: First comes a spicy, peppery and light phenolic note in front. Then some banana. Pretty dry. No alcohol detectable on the palate.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, lively carbonation and medium lasting and light sweet aftertaste. Light warming sensation from the alcohol in the throat.
Overall Impression: Wow! Pretty neat Belgian beer with a fascinating head on top. No off flavors. The raisins give this brew a very own note. Would I drink a second one? Definitely. Maybe increase the ABV for a next batch? The only thing that bugs me is the banana flavor. Did some research and found out that the #3522 produces some banana character when the fermentation temperature is a bit higher. This is of no surprise to me because the most Belgian yeasts are very similar to wheat yeasts: The wheat yeast character from the Belgian yeasts increase when the fermentation temperatures are a bit higher. I would therefore lower the fermentation temperature to prevent the banana flavor.
01/30/2012: Tasting, after nearly one year conditioning and maturation
Aroma: Spicy. No hops and malt detectable. Some sweet notes. Less character than a year ago.
Appearance: Copper, nice bubbles, clear and still a creamy and very persistent head. Still looks the same.
Flavor: Spicy and some phenolic notes. Dry. A hint of alcohol detectable on the palate (burning sensation). Complexity decreased with age.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, lively carbonation medium lasting and light sweet aftertaste. Light warming sensation from the alcohol in the throat.
Overall Impression: The character of the beer is still very similar to the fresh one. But the banana notes are gone. And it tastes a bit old and less complex. Meaning that the complexity of the flavors is less than a year ago. But still a very tasty beer indeed. Will taste the beer in another year again.
So, what did I learn from this batch? First, I am able to brew a full batch size of nearly 42 L (11 gal) with just minor problems. Thats cool in my opinion, right? Second, the recipe turned out the way I expected it to taste like (except the banana notes). I recommend to lower the fermentation temperature to get rid of the banana flavor. It is kind of a off flavor to me in this kind of beer. But if you like a banana character in your beer, feel free to increase the fermentation temperature.
The raisins gave this brew a very own note of its own. They definitely belong into this batch. I can’t imagine how it would taste like if there were no raisins in there. But I could not taste any of the candy sugar characteristics at all. Please let me know if some of you out there tried this recipe and tell me your impressions.