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Author Replies
Dave I
03/21/06 07:54 PM  
Special B; How Close is it?
Out of curiousity, how close do you find the taste of Special B to be to that of the dark candi syrup, or at least the taste you find in Trappist Dubbels and Quadrupels that reportedly use the syrup?

I know in BLAM, some brewers thought Special B had a roasty character that wasn't authentic, but is that really much of an issue with it at 4 or 5% of the grain?


Sean Paxton
03/22/06 12:07 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Hi Dave,

Special B is a unique grain. It is very very different than Dark Candi Syrup or sugar in general. Special B will add a nice raisin, plum or brandy notes to the aroma and flavor, as well as some color to the finish brew. I would only use about 5% max in a brew, unless you want to have a much more intense raisin or plum flavors in your beer. I have used a pound in a doppelbock and got great brandy vinous notes that complemented the grain bill.



03/22/06 12:15 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
I agree with Sean. The Special B gives off a different effect than the syrup. Most people will stay around the 5% of the grist with Special b. I made a dopplebock last year with an accidental ~15% Special B. Personally I though it was wonderful. Raisins, plums, dark fruits abound. Others either agreed or thought it was way over the top. I would actually like to do it again sometime. This years Dopple was more traditional.

The syrup from what I've seen, is similar to dark sugar. It ferments out for the most part, but with a little bit dark sugar flavors. My beer for the swap is still lagering, but will be packaging it up this weekend. So I can give a better personal description later.

03/23/06 10:23 AM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Hi N8. If I might ask, can you reveal your general recipe for a dopplebock? Dan and I are going to make one soon based on our recent tasting of the Räucherator Dopplebock at Brauerei Hummel in Merkendorf. Talk about an awesome beer! It was even smokier than Schlenkerla's Märzen. We're guessing because they used 100% Rauch Malt for their base malt, and being a bigger beer it concentrated the smokiness.


03/23/06 11:01 AM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
DoppleBock 05

A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics


Batch Size (Gal): 5.50 Wort Size (Gal): 8.00

Total Grain (Lbs): 16.13

Anticipated OG: 1.080 Plato: 19.43

Anticipated SRM: 20.3

Anticipated IBU: 30.9

Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %

Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM


69.0 11.13 lbs. Munich Malt Belgium 1.038 8

18.6 3.00 lbs. Pilsener Belgium 1.037 2

12.4 2.00 lbs. Special B Malt Belgian 1.030 120

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time


0.75 oz. Hallertau Northern Brewer Whole 8.00 17.7 75 min.

1.00 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfruh Whole 5.00 10.8 30 min.

1.25 oz. Hallertau Northern Brewer Whole 8.00 2.4 2 min.


Amount Name Type Time


1.00 Tsp Irish Moss Fining 15 Min.(boil)

1.00 Tsp Yeast Nutrient Other 15 Min.(boil)



WYeast 2206 Bavarian Lager

Mash Schedule


Mash Name:

Total Grain Lbs: 15.94

Total Water Qts: 15.75 - Before Additional Infusions

Total Water Gal: 3.94 - Before Additional Infusions

Tun Thermal Mass: 0.00

Grain Temp: 50.00 F

Step Rest Start Stop Heat Infuse Infuse Infuse

Step Name Time Time Temp Temp Type Temp Amount Ratio


sacch. 5 60 154 154 Infuse 175 15.75 0.99

mashouty 5 15 167 167 Infuse 220 4.65 1.28

Total Water Qts: 20.40 - After Additional Infusions

Total Water Gal: 5.10 - After Additional Infusions

Total Mash Volume Gal: 6.37 - After Additional Infusions

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.

All infusion amounts are in Quarts.

All infusion ratios are Quarts/Lbs.



0.5 tsp gypsum

0.5 tsp salt

0.5 tsp chalk

03/23/06 11:46 AM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Sean Paxton
03/23/06 11:55 AM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Wow N8,

2# of Special B! And I thought using a pound was outrageous! Too bad all my carboys and conicals are full!

Thanks for sharing!



03/23/06 02:49 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Like I said, it was an accidental addition of 2 lbs. I only meant to add 1 lbs. That's what I get for weighing and crushing my malts the night before brewing, and after a big homebrew club party ;)

Though I still thought it was a really good beer.

Sean Paxton
03/23/06 03:23 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Don't you love those classic mistakes, being prepared and planned it all out, and you get a good beer afterwards too :)

How was Zythos? How was Erasmus?




03/23/06 03:34 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Zythos was incredible. The best part about it, IMO, was that the brewers were pouring the beers. Not volunteers that know nothing about the beer. I could ask all the questions I wanted, and they were more than happy to answer, and talk beer. The Nacht van Grote Dorst was amazing as well. Though a bit too crowded for my liking, but great none the less.

Erasmus was really good. There are a few pics of the occasion in "Filips Photo Album of the Event" in the upper right hand corner of this web page. There are a few with my mug in them.

Sean Paxton
03/23/06 04:22 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Very jealous! Sounds like a great trip. Boon would be a great place to visit. Went to Cantion back in '00. Wonderful!


03/25/06 07:14 AM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Fir what it may be worth, as a fan of Special B and a new fan of the syrup I completely agree with Sean and N8.
Dave I
03/25/06 12:02 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
N8, I'd love to hear your results. I've got time to blow before I make my Rochefort 10 clone (or close to it) and am trying to decide if I should use Special B and some of Mark's dark candi syrup or just stick to one or the other. I haven't had a chance to use either in a recipe yet (@#% Grad School!)

Did you just use the Herman Rochefort 8 clone with the dark candi syrup instead of sucrose?

Sean, thanks for the reply as well. A subtle rum/raisin/fig character sounds nice. Not sure I want a Trappist Grape Ale though.


03/25/06 02:24 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Which results are you intersted in Dave? The Westy, or the Dopple bock, or both?

I'm assuming the Westy, since your're talking about doing the Roch. For that I would probably still follow Herman's tried and true recipe and use the syrup for the candi sugar.

Dave I
03/25/06 02:54 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
N8, I was talking about the Rochefort recipe (I thought you were talking about a batch for the Roche swap). So I'll use Herman's tried & true and just replace 1 lb. of sucrose with the candi syrup (I don't think I've ever used the rocks in the first place).

As for the Westvleteren, I'm going to keep an eye on the future Westy swaps. I am definitely interested in the Westvleteren 12 (or whatever gravity version you brewed for) results. Never had a chance to try it, but I really enjoyed the couple of bottles of Westmalle Dubbel I had and I doubt the recipes vary all that much between the two, fermenting temperatures aside of course.


03/25/06 05:38 PM  
Re: Special B; How Close is it?
Oh I see. The Roch is a great recipe. I've made it several times. I don't have one going now. I won't be in the Roch swap this time around.

I'll keep you informed about the Westy though.

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