Thursday, January 13, 2011

Belgo-American Brew - Belgian Stout

Belgo-American style beers have gained recent popularity in the craft beer segment here in America.  This subset of beer styles combine ingredients or processes of Belgium, usually related to yeast, with ingredients or beer styles usually associated with America.  The results of this marriage can be fantastic if the relative ingredients mesh well together to produce a complex and interesting beer.  They can also become muddled and confused, where the components fight for dominance on the drinker's palate.

With these thoughts in mind, several members of my homebrewing club, the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale (CAMRA), decided to play with Belgian stouts.  The idea was to gather for a group brew where a common volume of stout wort was divided amongst the participants.  They, in turn, would ferment the wort with a Belgian yeast strain of their choosing and finish it using techniques as they see fit.  These techniques could include dry hopping, aging with on oak chips or cubes, encouraging a secondary fermentation on fruit, souring using bacteria, etc.  The experiment would conclude with a presentation to CAMRA about the style and how each brewer interpreted it, along with a side-by-side tasting of the different beers.

Greg B. of CAMRA created the wort recipe that is found below.  Three of us gathered at my house on a cold (for Virginia) Saturday afternoon in January to brew the triple batch.  The brew session went well and we enjoyed each other's company, and beer, a great deal.  The resulting wort is now under the control of each brewer and a future post will highlight the results.

For further information, here are a few commercial examples of Belgo-American styles:



Stout de la Belgique
Style: 13-F Belgian Imperial Stout
Author: Greg B.

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 6.0
Total Fermentables (Lbs): 19.5
OG: 1.078
FG: 1.018
SRM: 35
IBU: 50 (Rager)
ABV: 7.9%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

10.0 lbs Pilsner Malt
 5.0 lbs German Dark Munich
 1.0 lbs Barley Flaked
 1.0 lbs German CaraMunich III
 0.5 lbs Special B - Caramel malt
 0.5 lbs 2-Row Chocolate Malt
 0.5 lbs Pale Chocolate Malt
 0.5 lbs Roast Barley
 0.5 lbs German Carafa III

1.0 oz Magnum Pellet Hops (14.5% AA) at 60 minutes

1.0 Tab Whirlfloc at 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Chalk in mash
1.0 tsp Calcium Chloride in boil
32 drops of Foam Control in the boil

TBD by each brewer (I used a 2 L starter of WLP 530 - Abbey Ale

Mash Schedule
60 min at 150°F
Batch sparged to get 8 gallons in brew kettle

1 comment:

  1. For my money, Allagash Black is tough to beat. The balance of chocolate flavors from the dark malts along with the dark fruit from the yeast and malts makes it an incredible delicately balanced beer. I've had other Belgian Stouts but I didn't think any really came close to the Allagash. Any thoughts on what the key to their beer is?


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