30 June, 2013

Homebrew Belgian Dark Strong

My neighbor Doug was a judge for the Belgian table at our homebrew contest, and commented that he really liked a Belgian Dark Strong Ale.  I had never had one before, so I started researching the style and decided to brew my own.  I also purchased two commercial versions of the style, including the Brothers Thelonious shown in my previous post.

Belgians in general aren't my favorite style, as I don't care for the Belgian yeast flavors sometimes.  But in these dark strong versions, he yeast flavor can be balanced with the complex flavors of darker grains, giving some prune and malty flavors.  

My version is on the light side of the style, as shown below.  Dark only refers to the fact it is "more deeply colored than golden."  

This is the first taste of mine, and it is very young at only two weeks in the bottle.  But I really like it.  If anything, I like it better than the Brothers Thelonious.  It has a bit of alcohol warmth that should mellow out with age, but it more complex and rich in flavor, so some of the belgian yeast flavors are muted.  I also nailed the carbonation level.

I'm looking forward to trying some bottles in three months.

29 June, 2013

Brother Thelonious

I brewed up a Belgian dark strong ale last month, and I picked up a couple commercial versions for sampling. This is the first. Very tasty so far.

26 June, 2013

Berliner Weisse Krausen

A nice foamy Krausen after just a few hours.

25 June, 2013

Berliner Weisse

I started my Berliner Weisse at lunch, by getting the 24 hour full wort souring underway. I also picked up some lactic acid to use later, if it needs more bite. This is a very simple recipe of pilsener malt and white wheat malt.

24 June, 2013

Fish kabobs

We enjoyed a little bbq fish skewers for dinner, complete with eggplant, cherry tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Then we settled in for a screening of "Salmon Fishing on the Yemen" which was excellent little movie. Desert was a medium length walk around the block to continue my foot rehab, while Mother Nature blessed us with sprinkles and 66 degree temps.

23 June, 2013


We walked up to burger hut for some yummy burgers this evening. The second walk I've been able to go on since wrecking my foot. Little by little the limp is going away.

18 June, 2013

Big Cheese

Nothing like 15# of Swiss to get the party started

English Brown Toast

I pulled a sample of my English Brown Toast off the primary fermenter after 7 days.  It is a bit on the light side of the Southern English Brown SRM scale (approximately a 20 based on my brewtoad calcs) but the flavor is outstanding.  I used Maris Otter as the base grain, with some Caramel 90L and some toasted Carabrown specialty grain.

I simply put the carabrown on a sheet, and toasted it under the broiler for about 15-20 minutes.  It darkened up a fair bit, and had some really nice toasty aroma/flavor to it.  I used Crystal and Fuggle hops throughout.

I don't normally brew English beers, but wanted to take a stab at a different style.  Also, my current bottle options are on the big side, with English Barleywine, Wee Heavy, and my Dark Strong Belgian.  I was in need of a lighter beer for these hotter temps.

08 June, 2013


What happens when you have a random two day heat wave? You watch an entire season of 24 off the DVR, while polishing off a few beers and a blended pineapple cooler.

01 June, 2013

Meet Amos

We have a cat that wanders through our back yard nearly every day, usually stopping for a cat nap on our back porch. He's a little skittish, but finally let me love him today with belly rubs.

Plums fermenting

From left to right: wine, mead, cider