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La Trappe Quad Clone 2.0

One of the best batches of beer I've made in recent memory was a La Trappe Quad clone recipe.  I had a couple of ideas that I thought would improve it, so I'm re-brewing it today.

I decided to swap the corn sugar for Demerara Sugar and add a couple of ounces of Special B Malt to darken the color and punch up the dark fruit flavor a little.  I'm extending using a step mash to generate some ferulic acid to help the Belgian yeast express itself, and to improve malt complexity.  A 90-minute boil is also being used to help improve malt complexity in the finished beer.

Ingredients

5 pounds Belgian Pale Ale Malt
3 pounds Belgian Pilsen Malt
8 ounces English Medium Crystal Malt (60L)
4 ounces Acid Malt
3 ounces Belgian Biscuit Malt
2 ounces Belgian Aromatic Malt
2 ounces Belgian Special B Malt
1 pound Demerara Sugar (15 min.)
0.50 ounces Styrian Goldings 6.2% AA (60 min.)
0.30 ounces Styrian Goldings 6.2% AA (20 min.)
0.25 ounces Styrian Goldings 6.2% AA (5 min.)
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (20 min.)
1/4 tsp. Irish Moss (20 min.)
1 package Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity yeast
4 gallons mash water
1.25 gallons sparge water

Mash and sparge water were filtered through a Brita filter before mashing and sparging.

Brewfather estimates the characteristics of the brew as:
  • Batch Size: 3.0 gallons (3.5 actual)
  • Original Gravity: 1.098 SG estimated (1.088 actual)
  • Pre-boil Gravity: 1.068 SG estimated, 1.068 once boiled down to 4.2 gallons
  • Pre-boil Volume: 4.19 gallons estimated, 4.5 actual
  • Final Gravity: 1.022 SG estimated
  • SRM: 13
  • IBUs: 22
  • ABV: 11% estimated
  • Fermenter:  SS Brew Tech Small Bucket
  • Bottling Wand:  Thin plastic wand 1 (first use)
Mash schedule:
  • Mash in at 120F
  • Hold at 120F for 15 minutes (combination of Ferulic Acid, Protein, and Beta Glucan rests)
  • Mash at 145F for 30 minutes
  • Mash at 158F for 30 minutes
  • Mash at 168F for 15 minutes
Boil schedule:
  • Note:  Pre-boil volume was approximately 4.5 gallons where 4.2 was the expected amount.  Pre-hop boil time was extended until approximately 4.25 gallons was present in the kettle, at which point the 90-minute timer was started.
  • 90 minutes:  No additions
  • 60 minutes:  Styrian Goldings (0.5 oz.)
  • 20 minutes:  Styrian Goldings (0.3 oz.), yeast nutrient, Irish Moss
  • 15 minutes:  Demerara Sugar
  • 5 minutes:  Styrian Goldings (0.25 oz.)
Fermentation schedule:
  • Chill to 71F
  • Free-ferment up to 78F
The characteristics for Wyeast 3787 include:
  • Flocculation: Medium
  • Attenuation: 74-78%
  • Temperature Range: 64-78F
  • ABV: 11%
According to the official web site, this yeast "produces a nice balance of complex fruity esters and phenolics" and makes a good house strain.

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

11/24/2019:  This is the first batch I've brewed with The Grainfather for about two years.  Given that, I ran a full cleaning cycle through it yesterday and a long circulation of clean hot water to ensure that the system and the wort chiller were as clean as they could be.

The mash process went pretty well, though a fair amount of grain matter (perhaps a handful) made it out of the mash basket into the kettle.  Turning on the pump, I was able to filter out some of this, but it's clear I need to increase the grain crush gap a bit before my next brew (which I did).  I may also want to include some rice hulls to help improve flow.  We'll see about that.

Pre-boil volume registered about 4.5 gallons in the kettle. Gravity was lower than expected, so I allowed the boil to run until volume had dropped down to about around 4.25 gallons.  Gravity was at my expected target once the volume was down, so I began timing the 90-minute boil from that point. Next time around, I'd drop the sparge water volume to 1 gallon to compensate.

Following Brewfather's calculations for mash and sparge water proved to be a mistake. The pre-boil volume was low, and even after extending the boil I still had about a half gallon more wort than I intended, at a slightly lower gravity.  I'll need to adjust that for the next brew.  I will say that it was one of the best smelling worts I've made yet.

11pm:  Pitched the yeast. Put a small amount in the fermenter with the 0.75 gallons and the rest in the larger 3-gallon batch.  At that time, gravity on the Tilt Hydrometer read 1.087 SG and the temperature read 67F.  I'm concerned that the yeast didn't smell as fresh as it could have when I pitched it, but hopefullly it's OK.

11/26/2019 11am:  36 hours after pitching the Wyeast 1762, there is no activity visible. The top of the wort is clear of any krausen and the gravity hasn't changed.  I pitched a fresh package of White Labs 530 (which is purportedly the same strain) across both containers to ensure fermentation.

12/5/2019:  Gravity is down to 1.025 SG, just three points up from the expected FG.

1/10/2019:  The gravity dropped to 1.008-1.010 (the reading varied a bit periodically but held most often at 1.010).  I bottled the beer in 12-ounce bottles with three Brewer's Best carbonation tablets (medium carbonation) per bottle.  I don't plan to do a taste test until some time in February.

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