View Full Version : Strong Blonde Belgian!

04-19-2004, 09:19 PM
I would like comments and suggestions for fine tuning my strong blonde ale recipe prior to me brewing it. I know I am fairly vauge, but anything will help. I will be using around 70% 2-row pilsner malt, 20% tangerine honey, and 10% wheat malt for the grist, boiling for one hour with Goldings/Saaz both first wort and finishing, knocking out with the honey, and fermenting at 23C with Wyeast 3787. 8.1% ABV, and 32 IBU. The goal is not a duplicate clone, but instead something uniquely delicious for which the inspiration of a Duvel is apparent. Thanks!

04-20-2004, 09:49 AM
Duvel uses a good portion of dextrose and no honey or wheat malt. The hops used are styrian and saaz to ~30 IBU. It is fermented starting at 16 and moving upwards to 28 C. By the end of the bottle dosing the OG is in the range of 18.5 P.

Why are you boiling for only an hour? I would assume that you don't have a merlin system; do you have a very efficient kettle?
We boiled Wheat and Wit beers for that time to decrease kettle floc and increase protein turbidity in final product. Duvel is clearish depending on condition of transport, age and serving temperature.

Why the yeast choice? You will get some phenolics at the specified fermentation temp. Could you do a mixed yeast or two tank fermentation and then blend?

With the honey additions you have specified, you will get some character. (Make sure to pre warm your honey- makes for an easier day) This may end up more like one of the brews from De Dolle rather than Moortgat. Are you planning on bottle conditioning or is this a draught product?

04-20-2004, 11:28 AM
I've always had great results using clear belgian candi sugar, I use about 6 lbs/bbl - this, in combination with reduced honey could make an interstingly strong and unique strong belgian blonde.


04-20-2004, 11:52 AM
Great responses! Thank you. To expound: The one hour boil is to keep color light. I don't know, but think that one hour is sufficient to clear most proteins especially when I will employ a protein rest, use breakbright, and ~ 60-70 day maturation period-even with wheat. Next: I think phenolics would contribute positively. I chose this yeast because I use it in a Belgian brown and have it on hand. Interesting idea to combine yeasts/fermentations. Both are viable options. The other candidate would be 2278 Czech Pils or a 3944 Belgian Wit. I have used this honey in other beers with great results. I absolutely love De Dolle products! Maybe my favorite Belgians. (Don't think they use honey, though) This is a brewpub draught product, so conditioning will be unitank. And I would have liked to use clear candi sugar, or at least beet sugar, but in Korea I have no easy access to either. The honey is cheaper, and native. I think it would be a suitable substitute. Other opinions?

04-20-2004, 05:31 PM
Boskeun uses cane sugar and honey (http://www.dedollebrouwers.be/).

Yes, 60-70 days might do the trick. If you want the phenolics and complexity, I would use the Wit yeast for a mix. The pilsner would make the beer too dry for the original Scotch style that Duvel tried to emulate.

With the honey, if unfiltered and unpastuerized, it will crystallize. To remove impurities prior to brewing you can scrape the top layer off before warming. Warm gently and closed or you will lose aromatics. I know of at least one meadmaker who nearly boils his honey must and still has a decent nose to his mead.

04-21-2004, 09:23 AM
Having used wyeast 3944 with honey in a belgian wit, I have noticed slower than usual fermentation times - if this is an issue for you.

04-22-2004, 07:04 PM
I have also found 3944 to be a slow starter and fermenter. Will 3944 perform well at temperatures around 23C? I use it at 19C and get a wonderful Witbier, but don't know what to expect at higher temps. I am now considering a 50/50 pitch of 3944 & 3787 and also adding the honey into the fermenter after ~ 50% attenutation. Figure that might be better than all the sugar at once. I assume disinfection of the honey is why one would almost boil the must? Besides pitching very high quantities of yeast and oxygen aeration at high levels, is there any other fermentation techniques I should employ? Maybe also adding yeast with the honey? I know Duvel uses a warm/cold/warm profile, but I can't raise fermenter temps. Any help is appreciated.

04-23-2004, 04:51 PM
Just a thought. I have brewed some Belgian styles in Taiwan and I called the distributor that brings in the Belgians that are available here and asked if he could throw some candy sugar on his containers. He obliged and didn't charge any shipping.