UPDATE 11/17/2013 – Read the review here.
UPDATE 2/20/2014 – Beer placed 2nd as a Belgian Blond in Category 18 Belgian Strong Ales at the 2014 Homebrew Alley 8 competition.
UPDATE 4/5/2014 – Beer placed 1st as a Belgian Blond in Category 18 Belgian Strong Ales at the 2014 First Round of the National Homebrew Competition (NYC Regional).
Duvel. You sneaky little bastard. Crisp, refreshing, complex, yet not overbearing. Your austere dryness and pear-like ester melds with an ever-so-sweet pilsner malt background striking a balance that is tough to resist. I know it’s not a problem for you, but your 8.5% ABV is for me. I need a beer that possesses everything I love about Duvel, but doesn’t leave me spinning after a few.
This recipe intends to do just that. I’ve started this beer at 1.054 original gravity versus Duvel’s reported 1.069; mashing a bit higher and not including any simple sugars to decrease the wort’s fermentablity and create a mouth feel comparable to Duvel while having significantly less alcohol. Duvel attenuates in the 90%+ range helping it hit 8.5% ABV with a somewhat modest starting gravity. With the lower gravity of my beer, I’m hoping to achieve a similar balance by lowering the attenuation rate and finishing the beer at a more sessionable 5.5% ABV.
Duvel is reputed to contain only pilsner malt and simple sugar; up to 17% by some accounts. I’ve dropped the alcohol boosting simple sugar in favor of an all-malt grain bill, including a touch of character malts to bring some complexity to the wort composition. For hops, I’ve decided to go ahead and bump up the continental hop character found in Duvel by increasing the amount of late hops in the beer. This beer is by no means meant to clone Duvel, but will hopefully capture the spirit and attributes that make it such a great beer. We’ll know how successful I was when I taste the finished product in a few weeks.
Size: 3.25 gal
Attenuation: 78.0% (projected)
Original Gravity: 1.054 sg
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 sg (projected)
Color: 5.81 SRM
Alcohol: 5.53% ABV (projected)
Bitterness: 22.6 IBU (doesn’t account for whirlpool isomerization)
6.5 lb (87.4%) Belgian Pils (Dingemans)
.5 lb (6.7%) Pale Wheat Malt (Weyermann)
4 oz (3.4%) Belgian Biscuit (Dingemans)
3 oz (2.5%) Acidulated Malt (Weyermann) – pH Adjustment
1 oz Styrian Goldings (3.2% AA) – 60 m
0.5 oz Czech Saaz (3% AA) – 20 m
0.5 oz Czech Saaz (3% AA) – whirlpool 20m
1 oz Styrian Goldings (3.2% AA) -whirlpool 20m
0.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15 m
0.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10 m
WYeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale™
154 °F – 60m
168.0 °F – 10m
Carbon filtered tap water. Salts added to the mash.
4g Calcium Carbonate
2g Calcium Sulfate (gypsum)
Final Volume into Fermenter = 2.75 Gallons
Yeast Required = 104 billion (per Mr. Malty)
Yeast Production Date: 9/3/2013
Yeast Starter = 1L @ 1.040 on stir plate (per Mr. Malty) = 4 1/8 oz. DME
1. Chill to 62°F and keep at 66°F until activity slows (1 week+).
2. Raise temp to 74°F 3 days
3. Crash to 32°F 5 days
4. Verify gravity has stabilized. Bottle condition in 12oz bottles primed to 2.8 volumes CO2