I try to brew with the weather, harnessing the ambient temps in my unfinished basement for primary fermentation. Late summer means low to mid 70s, so it’s Belgian time; it’s also a good time to use up odds and ends to make room for hop harvest and restocks for the fall brewing roster, so last week’s brew session was a bin-cleaner Belgian Dark Strong Ale.
The yeast was 3822 Belgian Dark Strong Ale (see what I did there?), which I haven’t used in about 8 years and can’t remember distinctly, but is described as “a high acid producer with balanced ester and phenol production.” Toss that puppy into a toasty, Doppelbock-like wort and see what happens.
Seven days after brew day, the beer is at the anticipated TG (1.013) and, despite the extremely tender age and roughly 8.5% abv, it already tastes pretty damn drinkable – rounded, rose-date-peppery, and without the sharp, headachy blast of unresolved booze I expected from a green, strong, warm-fermented ale. Promising!
As far as acid production goes, this was interesting: on paper, my batch is not particularly acidic at this point, but it tastes like it is. The pH of the BDSA-in-progress is 5.18 – almost identical to that of the Saison I have on tap right now, and actually higher than that of the Boat Bitter (which admittedly was brewed with a much different water profile than the other two). However, on the palate, it has a distinct tartness, kind of a sour-cherry upswing at the finish. Complementary!
Target OG: 1.077
- 78% Belgian Pilsner
- 12% Weyermann Bohemian Dark
- 2% C-120
- 1% Blackprinz
- 7% Dark Candi sugar (I used equal parts D180 syrup and Brun Fonce) – add at end of boil
- 152F for 75′
- 170F for 10′
- First Gold (whole, 8.6% aa) at 60′ to 26 IBU
- Candi sugars at 0′
- Chill to 72F, O2 and pitch with large culture of Wyeast 3822.
- Free rise up to 78F over the course of 36 hours, by which point the offgas aromas had graduated from fruity with light spice to more plainly ethanol-y.
- Will give it several more days to let things finalize, then dump yeast and let it warm-condition a bit longer before packaging and/or tweaking. Not too much longer, though – gonna need the fermentor space for the Boat Bitter’s bigger, non-helpful-with-hooksets brother.