Sunday, December 23, 2007

Double Back Simplicity Ale

This ale has been aging in secondary fermentation for a few weeks now, and I decided to keg it today. It's loosely based on Chimay Rouge, but I added dark Belgian Candi sugar instead of light, so it's a bit darker than Chimay. Also, due to the hop shortage, I was unable to get the appropriate hops. As a result, it tastes more like an American hopped lager crossed with the yeasty characteristics of a Belgian ale. I'm thinking about seeking out some better hops and dry hopping it in the keg. It's definitely a complex beer, but I'm just not happy with the hop character. All things aside, it is very lovely looking in the glass with a decent amount of head retention.

On Deck: Belgian Wit and Winter Warmer Specialty Ale

Over the last few weeks, I have been busy studying water chemistry, obtaining brewing equipment, refining my brewing methods, and basically trying to improve my mash efficiency. In order to effectively adjust my water, I need to know its composition. The water quality report from Illinois American Water assured me that the water is safe to drink, but gave me very little information about the cosmetic side of my water profile. I will need to send a sample to a lab to break it down. Does anybody know of a local lab that will perform this service for me? Otherwise, I will need to send my water to a lab in Minnesota a couple of times per year at $15 a pop. If there are any other all grain brewers in 61615, please let me know if you are interested in water chemistry. Perhaps we could share the lab fees. Here is a link to a chapter in "How to Brew" by John Palmer that discusses the importance of ph in mashing.

Even though this ale didn't turn out as nice as I would have liked, I can't help but to smile knowing that the government was unable to rape me with their outrageous alcohol tax. And all is well...


Edit: After dry hopping this beer with a half ounce of Cascade hops, it is much more palatable. Cascade is one of my favorite hops and I can't wait to see how the flavors develop.

Double Back Simplicity Ale
Belgian Dubbel - 7.02% ABV

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