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La Chouffe

Reporting back after 7 months in the bottle. The idea was to clone this Belgian Blonde which is similar to Leffe Blonde.
The beer has continued to improve and is probably optimal now and has been the last two or three months.
We did a blind tasting of the following three beers:
Commercial La Chouffe
(my own) La Chouffe
Leffe Blonde.

My example won over the others mostly due to freshness we thought. The spiceyness and Belgian yeast (Ardennes) character was very pleasing and unmistakable. Esters and sweetness were also evident at about the right level, unlike my Duvel from 18 months ago which was a bit over the top in spicey, estery character due to warming the fermentation too early.

Once the three beers warmed up slightly in the glasses, we detected a slightly more complex malt background to the commercial La Chouffe compared to mine, and this was preferred when tasting at the warmer temp.
I am more than happy with the result and declared the beer “cloned”. It stands up as the real thing and has even fooled a few who thought it was the commercial Leffe Blonde.

BTW, for those who were wondering: this is my first post for some time after anasty bout of depression which hit me last year like a bolt from the blue. Managing very well now

Care to share the recipe, or is it “top secret”…
Been toying with the idea of a 5% , ~40 ibu blonde w/ Chouffe yeast.
I get stuck on the yeast sometimes. So many great strains to choose from.
Good to see you back.

No secrets with me, anyway I received good advice on this forum before brewing it. I must add, last night the La Chouffe I had tasted a lot better out of my brand new Leffe Blonde glass.

If you would like the BTP file, just ask. Cheers.

I think I have that converted pretty close (from metric).
What do you think of the Saaz hop Pacific Jade?
I’ve never used it but I like the sound of it, herbal, citrus and peppery.
If it comes in at 12-14% AA I could throw 14 grams @ 90 and 14 grams @ flameout.
That would give me my ~26 IBUs and some high AA bite.
Sounds pretty good to me.

have not used Pacific Jade, but have used NZ B Saaz in one or two lagers.
I would go with the latter for Belgian since the designation ‘B’ is the shortening of the word Belgian.

Hope you get to brew the recipe: here are the notes to self I made whist brewing the La Chouffe:

Ferment 18 C for4 days or until SG reaches around 1.035 then add the dextrose in a litre of water to the primary and allow the temp to immediately rise to 19 C. (NOTE: now I’m thinking to add the Dex at around 1025 to restrict the ester/phenol slightly from that of the Duvel, also begin raising the ferm temp from 18 to 20 over the next 24 hrs) Then over the next 5 days let the temp rise approx one degree C per day until it reaches 24 C.
Once at 1.010, keep the beer at 24-25 C for another week or two or until the SG reaches 1.005. Hopefully it will sit here as the FG.

Prime with maybe 350 gms (check first with Jamil show) dextrose thats why the OG is down slightly to allow for this large priming addition.

I recommend not raising the temp to early, as Jamil states its a restrained style. You can quite easily increse the ester profile too much by raising the temp too early. Remember, once you add the Dex to the primary at around 1.025, the gravity immediately jumps.

Thanks for the fermentation notes.
I like adding my simple sugars like that, right into primary, if I get my IBU’s right in the kettle, I can still bump up the fermentables/ O.G. if I need to (if my effeciency sucks for some reason, or vice-versa)
I know it’s supposed to give the yeast a head start too, and I pitch some big stirplate starters , but still haven’t gotten those magical attenuation numbers that some belgian yeast are capable of, supposedly.
I understand that you were going for a clone, were you happy with the F.G. that you were able to get with that grain bill and amount of sugar? I appreciate the simplicity of the usual Belgian grain bills, and I 'aint scared to add more white sugar if you think it would benefit.
I’m going to hop with Pacific Jade, shooting for something tropical, out of the ordinary, “simple complexity” from one hop for my Jasper Abbey NZ Blonde.

Well, so far I put 5 1/4 gallons into primary at 1.054.
I tightened up the mill a bit to crush the wheat and ended up milling everything to see what it would get me.
Gave me like a 2% boost and made lautering an absolute nightmare. Lol.
I mashed for a few hours at 145* F (62.7 C)
When I add my sugar in a few days it should work out to 1.067-68, with a predicted ABV of ~8%
Pacific Jade was running 14.2% so I dropped 14 grams @ 60 and 7 grams at flameout.
It’s waiting at 18.5* C for fermentation to kick in.
Looks tasty so far, hydrometer reads .002 high.
-remembered to get whirlflock.

Wow! Looks like a great recipe. Would you please post the BTP file? I’m a little too lazy to key it all it! :wink:

Thank you so very much.

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