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Belgian quad - how does this look?

So this summer I am planning on doing some different brews, one of which being a Belgian Quad. I’ve had Three Philosophers, which I love, and New Glarus Belgian Quad, which is the best quad I’ve ever had. My recipe is kind of a cross between the two. Any feedback on my recipe would be appreciated:

9 lbs. Pale
2.25 lbs Munich 10L
12 oz. flaked wheat
8 oz. special B
4 oz. caramunich
4 oz. caravienne
1 lb. table sugar
1.25 oz. Northern Brewer (75 minutes)
WY3787 Trappist High gravity

Mash at 153-155 for 60 minutes. Boil 60. Add sugar in last 15 minutes of boil. After primary fermentation is complete (3-5 weeks) add bourbon soaked, medium toast French or Hungarian oak spiral for 7-14 days. Bottle with some fresh yeast.

The New Glarus Belgian quad was lagered in bourbon barrels with a brett yeast. The sour profile was subtle enough to give it a nice little kick, but I don’t a) like sour beers and b) want to taint all of my gear with a brett yeast since I won’t ever use it again. This beer had a great range of flavor with mild oak, bourbon, vanilla, cherry, alcohol (I think it was 9%), and malty sweetness. Since they won’t make the beer again (was part of their thumbprint series) I wanted to try to make something similar.

Looks good to me, I use continental (Belg) pils for my base in my Belgians though. Got a Belgian blond in y fermenter right now…with that THG yeast even. It is the third batch of this particular recipe of mine and it is tasty. That yeast is beast, so def use a blowoff with this one. Under pitch if you want to bring out the yeast profile a bit. I ferment in the fifties to try and calm it down a bit. I usually would sub some Candi syrup for the cane in your recipe but it is more costly.

I am not sure what og you are shooting for but you may want to mash a little lower. When I brew a big Belgian, I mash around 149/150 for 90 minutes.

You could add brett to some of the beer at bottling time and let those age for a year before sampling. An easy (and delicious) way to do this is to purchase a Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, consume the beer, then pipette a mL of the dregs to each bottle.

IMO, you really need some dark syrup in there. Here’s the quad recipe I brewed for my 400th batch as an example…

#400 Batch 400

A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.50 Wort Size (Gal): 5.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 20.50
Anticipated OG: 1.103 Plato: 24.35
Anticipated SRM: 30.2
Anticipated IBU: 26.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts

Evaporation Rate: 1.50 Gallons Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 7.75 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.073 SG 17.72 Plato

Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM

73.2 15.00 lbs. Pilsener Germany 1.038 2
9.8 2.00 lbs. D-180 syrup 1.032 180
9.8 2.00 lbs. Munich Malt Germany 1.037 9
4.9 1.00 lbs. Turbinado Sugar 1.047 0
2.4 0.50 lbs. CaraMunich 80 France 1.034 80

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.

Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time

2.50 oz. Hallertauer Pellet 3.90 26.0 60 min.
1.00 oz. Strisselspalt 2007 Pellet 2.50 0.0 0 min.

Extras

Amount Name Type Time

0.20 Oz Corriander Seed Spice 5 Min.(boil)

Yeast

WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity

Mash Schedule

Mash Name:

Total Grain Lbs: 17.50
Total Water Qts: 26.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Total Water Gal: 6.50 - Before Additional Infusions

Tun Thermal Mass: 0.13
Grain Temp: 65.00 F

                 Step   Rest   Start   Stop  Heat     Infuse   Infuse  Infuse

Step Name Time Time Temp Temp Type Temp Amount Ratio

sacc 0 90 147 147 Infuse 162 26.00 1.49

Total Water Qts: 26.00 - After Additional Infusions
Total Water Gal: 6.50 - After Additional Infusions
Total Mash Volume Gal: 7.90 - After Additional Infusions

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.
All infusion amounts are in Quarts.
All infusion ratios are Quarts/Lbs.

I always use two, half full carboys with this yeast. If you use a blow off tube, you might lose enough yeast to not finish out the beer. This has happened to me a couple of times. I use a mix of German/Czech pils and Maris Otter for the base malt. I have experimented with Special B and made one without it just using Belgian D2 syrup. I think 5% Special B is necessary to get the color and character. I also use 1Lb of white sugar and 1 Lb D2 syrup. I might experiment with using 2 Lbs of D1 next time though.

Be careful. Northern Brewer can be minty. I would use a cleaner hop, but it may not matter if you are going to oak it and add bourbon character. I would also skip the wheat. It is not going to give you any flavor.

I would mash at 149 for 45+ min and then take the mash up to 160 for 15 min or so before mashing out.

Admittedly, the base of this recipe is a slight modification of the Three Philosophers recipe given in the book Brew Like a Monk.

I though about replacing the pale malt with MO since that is my go-to base malt usually. I’m also really leaning towards subbing golden candi syrup for the table sugar.

Minty on Northern Brewer hops? Really? Never had that with all the times I’ve used them. Something to consider though.

I was thinking medium toast french oak, although I see places (like our host) carrying whiskey barrel chips. Not sure if I added those soaked with a little extra bourbon if that would work better than just some soaked beans or a spiral.

A buddy of mine brewed a porter with German Northern Brewer. This was back in the day when we got hop plugs in nitrogen sealed bags. It was like drinking Chocolate mint. He got third place in the NHC for porter that year. The mint was not strong, but it added complexity. Maybe some of that character dissipates over time or we are not getting as fresh a hop as we used to.

I’ve been doing starch conversion tests recently and love the technique. The only thing I can’t wrap my brain around on step mashes is which step do I expect “total” (I’m using the term very loosely here) conversion? With different enzymes active at the different temperatures, I can see having a nervous breakdown debating with myself when I should raise the temp.

I ask here because this is one of my next brew and I’m planning to step mash (Patersbier next week, Quad in May with a long lager and bottle condition planned for a Thanksgiving uncorking); my maibock still has a bit of a “cereal” flavor to it that I’m positive has to do with mashing out too early.

Cheers.

You may also consider making a simple syrup with the sugar and adding it as your primary starts to wind down. If added in the boil, the yeast will consume those simple sugars first and you may end up with a premature end to fermentation and too-sweet of a beer.

You just want enough conversion that you don’t end up with a sweet beer. My beers usually finish plenty dry with most Belgian yeast strains. The only time I have really had a problem is when my yeast has jumped out of the carboy. I usually split 5-7 gallons between 2 carboys when I brew a Belgian with WL530/WY3787. Even my 1.045 Trappist Table Beer has jumped out of the carboy.

I added some 40L or 45L Belgian Candi Syrup to the recipe. My plan was to add it very late in the boil, but it may go in as fermentation is winding down instead.

I brewed Denny’s recipe, so far so good. My final grav ended up a lil lower than expected @ 1.015. Taste delicious!

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