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10/23/07 12:52 PM  
Sugar Swap Strong Blond
OK. I'll throw out a recipe for consideration:


14# Belgian Pils

0.5# Cara-Pils

0.5# Wheat

1# Amber sugar (I think that's what we're getting?) added last 15 minutes of boil

With my setup this will yield an OG of 1.073 and result in a beer of about 8.5%

I like adding just a little cara-pils for body and wheat for head, but I'd coniser a an all base malt recipe for this test.

I'll cast my vote for the Wyeast 3522 or Whitelabs 550 yeast. I'd make up a one liter starter and hit the cooled wort with a good dose of oxygen.

Ferment in high 70's for week and transfer to secondary.

10/23/07 03:41 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I'm good with those numbers. I do prefer to make my strongs with a 50/50 blend of pils and pale, but I can go other directions as well.

I think I might try adding the syrup in the fermentor this go 'round. The case being that I would like to really pull as much of the flavor of the syrup out. I've done this in the past with other sugars and it really lends to leaving flavor of the sugar in the final beer.

10/23/07 04:19 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
You bring up a good point, N8. I guess the recipe needs to have a consistent addition time for the sugar. What do you guys think? This leads to an interesting dilemma, as the original syrup swap demonstrated how drastically different the flavors could be when added at different times. Additionally, certain times may not be as favorable for the dry sugars as the syrups, however (ie. dropped in fermenter).

A few options...

1. We add sugar in at a single point in the process.

2. We add sugar whenever each of us want, as to try to get the most out of it... this may mean different times for different sugars.

3. We add part of the sugar at 3 different times (number is variable) in the process (60 minutes, 15 minutes, fermenter...for example).

10/23/07 04:25 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I also think we should add the sugars as late as possible so we can taste them. I'm not sure how well it would work to add "moist" sugar (is that what I'm getting?) to the primary. but, if anyone else has tried this with success, I'm game. Otherwise, I'd suggest adding late in the boil - maybe only last 5 minutes just to make sure it's disolved.
10/23/07 05:35 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
Here is the recipe I emailed yesterday:

Suiker Ruilmiddel

Brewed on:10/22/2007 Brewer: Dan Morey

Collect: 7.8 gallons US Effic: 80.0

Boil: 90 (min) Atten: 80.0

Finish: 5.8 gallons US Cost: $29.41

Evap/hr: 1.35 gallons US Method: Tinseth

Low: Recipe: High:

IBU: 25 30.6 35

SRM: 3.5 9 5.5

ABV: 7.0 7.45 9.0

OG: 1.065 1.071 1.080

FG: 1.014


Proposed golden strong recipe for the belgian sugar swap

experiment. Each brewer uses their assigned sugar in

place of the soft dark sugar.

Yeast: WLP575 Belgian Blend

Malts / Fermentables Amount: Points: Lov: %:

American Two-Row 11.00 lb 1.037 1.8 84.6

Granulated Sugar 1.00 lb 1.045 0.0 7.7

Soft Dark Candi Sugar 1.00 lb 1.038 60.0 7.7

Total: 13.00 lb 1.071 9.0

Hops: Amount: Type: Alpha: Min: IBU:

Styrian Golding 1.00 oz Leaf 4.8 90 16.3

Styrian Golding 1.00 oz Leaf 4.8 30 11.1

Sterling 1.00 oz Leaf 5.5 5 3.2

Total: 3.0 oz 30.6

Mash Schedule

Rest Temp:End Temp Method: Time: Directions:

67.2 F 67.2 infusion 20 Mash 5.2 quart 63.6 F

136.0F 133.9 infusion 15 Add 6.7 quart 211.0 F

146.0F 141.9 infusion 30 Add 2.6 quart 211.0 F

161.0F 157.4 infusion 30 Add 6.3 quart 211.0 F

168.0F 168.0 direct 25 direct heat to 168.0 F

170.0F 170.0 fly sparge 60 sparge with 16.5 quart

Grain Temp: 76F 120 min.

Miscellaneous Ingredients

Ingredient: Amount: Units: Notes:

Yeast nutrient 3.00 tsp Final 15 minutes of boil

Irish Moss 1.00 tsp Final 15 minutes of boil


I like the OG range being proposed. Duvel 1.069, PranQster 1.070, Damnation 1.066. However, I think the sugar quantity is low. Duvel is ~16% sugar. This would work out to around 2 lbs per five gallon batch. I'd propose we each use one pound of our assigned sugar, and make up the balance with granualted/table sugar. I'd be in favor in adding the sugar during the boil, either in the last 15 minutes or staggered additions as Tremens suggests.

With regards to the grains, I'm like the addition of wheat. I'd rather see 1 lb wheat than 0.5 wheat and 0.5 lb carapils. I always have severe haze with carapils.

I normally use a step infusion for my Belgian ales. Lately I've added the 136F rest. I find it improves head retention and improves mouthfeel. For a single infusion, I'd recommend 149F.

I'm cool with 3522 (550) as the yeast choice. 1214 (500) is the only yeast I prefer to avoid.


10/23/07 06:41 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I think adding the sugar to our own process to whereever we feel will get the best flavor out of it.

Alan, I've added regular sugar to primary by making a syrup with it. Take your sugar and disolve it in enough water to make a syrup, bring to a boil for about 5 minutes to disolve and sterilize. Then cool as fast as possible then add to the carboy. I found that doing this within 3-7 days after the start of fermentation works well.

This is also the process I'm looking to do with the Amber syrup. The lighter sugars/syrups are not going to lend much flavor, so I want to help accentuate it as much as I can.

As to adding regulr sugar to bring up the gravity to bring into golden strong range, I think adding regular sugar at the end of boil would be good. Or if you can get it, Lyle Golden syrup works well for jacking up the gravity without adding flavour.

10/24/07 11:17 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I'll go with whatever the group wants, but I was hoping that we'd keep the grainbill/yeast simple, as to get the most out of the sugar...

83% Belgian Pils (it is a Belgian beer, after all)

17% Sugar (supplied sugar)

S. Goldings, Saaz

It would be nice to see all (most) the caramel flavors come from the sugar and not from the malts. This would allow us to truly inspect the differences. I have a feeling that the sugar differences won't be very dramatic.

Also, does anyone have any concern that the Ardennes yeast would add too much spiciness? Should it be more Triple-like, as in 3787 or even 1388?

10/24/07 01:00 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
There are two distinctions between a Golden Strong and a Tripel in my opinion.

Golden Strong are drier with higher attenuation. This is why I believe we need to keep at 15-20% of the grain bill. The second difference being the yeast character. Golden Strongs tend to attenuate fruit esters while tripels tend to be more spicy (more phenolic character). Part of the reason I suggested WLP575, is I find it a bit more nuetral, more fruity than spicy without huge banana character. I really like 3787, but this is a classic tripel yeast in my opinion. There seems to be interest in 3522 (550) and 1388 (570). 1388 is certainly the classic yeast for GS, but I find it more difficult to work with. I'd be happy to use any of the three yeasts mentioned.

I see that Tremens and I are close, I had 85% base malt with 15% sugar, Styrian golding hops and Sterling.

So do we have some basic framework agreed to? 1. OG between 1.070-1.075

2. 15-17% sugar, 1 lb assigned sugar with the balance being plain old regular sugar

3. Simple grain bill, basically base malt and perhaps some wheat (maybe 1 lb)?

Just trying to determine were we have agreement so we can focus on the open items. Cheers, Dan

Wit Sok
10/24/07 01:01 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
<<>>This is why I believe we need to keep at 15-20% of the grain bill<<>>

That should have been "This is why I believe we need to keep sugar at 15-20% of the grain bill"

10/27/07 09:22 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I figured I'd update the thread with the agreed upon recipe:

For 5 gallons:

Malt/sugar bill:

83-85% pilsner and/or pale malt

15-17% sugar*

* sugar will be 1-lb assigned sugar with the remainder being a neutral sugar of brewer's choice. Sugars added according to brewer's choice to get the "most" out of the sugar.

Mash schedule - brewer's choice. Most stated doing step mash.


~ 5 HBUs - brewer's choice for 90 minutes

~ 5 HBUs - Saaz or equivalent substitute 30 minutes

~ 5 HBUs - Saaz or equivalent substitute 5 minutes

Yeast: Wyeast 1388, White Labs WLP570, or culture from Duvel. Pitch in mid 60's and let temperature rise. Lager for minimum of two weeks.

If I made any mistakes, please feel free to correct.

10/29/07 10:15 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
That looks to be what we decided on.

Time to get brewin'.

11/25/07 08:16 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
Brewed this today. The moist dark sugar had an aroma very similar to brown sugar. I was pleasantly surprised how much color the moist sugar gave. It wasn't much different than the dark syrup from my recollection. Can't wait to try this is a dubbel and dark strong!

My OG was 1.071, right in the target range. Pitched the yeast at 65F. I'll let the fermentation temperature rise over the next five days, shooting for a terminal temperature of 80F.

How is everyone else's brews coming along. I'm pretty sure that I was the last one to brew.

Cheers, Dan

11/26/07 12:03 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
My brew is doing well. Tasted it a few days ago and it was quite loverly. I'll check the gravity soon and then see about cold conditioning it and bottling and keggin it up.

The amber syrup didn't contribute much colour from what I noticed, but it was still fairly cloudy from yeast.

11/27/07 12:18 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I removed mine from the primary on Sunday. It finished at 1.008 and that overly nutty flavor that I reported initially, has greatly dissipated. You can still taste it, but it's not nearly as obtrusive as it was before. The brew seems to be promising!
12/03/07 07:24 PM  
Hello, nice site :)
12/31/07 04:45 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I just bottled mine today after three weeks of lagering. The terminal gravity was not as low as I'd hoped for. It finished at 1.013 for 82% AA. Darker than a typical golden strong and just shade darker than most tripels. Nice flavor overall. I will enjoy this beer!

Has anyone else bottled? Is it time to start planning the swap date? I'd like to have at least four weeks in the bottle for conditioning (my house tends to be on the cool side).

Prosit, Dan

01/01/08 09:38 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I'll be bottling in the next day or two.

It's ready to go otherwise. A touch darker than an BGS, but still quite tasty.

01/02/08 04:15 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I kegged mine a while ago and have force-carb'd it. It finished up at 1.008 and has a great taste. I'm going to use a beer gun to bottle, so I'm ready to go whenever.

Are we going to include something else in the package - another homebrew or a local brew?

01/03/08 09:35 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
<<Are we going to include something else in the package - another homebrew or a local brew?>>

I'm okay with adding a bit if new years cheer. It wouldn't be for the online session, rather something for you to enjoy.

So any thoughts on a date for the swap? Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evenings are probablt best for me. Should we try for the week of February 10th? Or do we want to give it longer time in the bottle?

01/03/08 11:41 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I'll prolly be including an all Brett fermeted Saison that we bottled up a week or two ago.

I'm good with Feb 10th, and similar to Witsock, Mon-Wed work best for me.

01/23/08 09:10 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
So are we going to ship within the next week? How about the online session. AlanC and Tremens any preference for the online session? I'm good with either Monday February 11 or Tuesday the 12th.
01/24/08 07:58 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
Either is fine with me. What time are we thinking? BTW, I took my beer to my last homebrew meeting and it was voted best of the night. This should be a good time!
01/25/08 02:27 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
Excellent Tremens, I'm looking forward to trying it!

Since I'm central time zone, I should be able to accomidate schedules for both east and west. What works best for both coasts?

01/25/08 02:42 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I'm pretty flexible as far as time goes. I'm on the west side of the tracks (pacific time)

I can be available for whatever times work best for you all.

01/27/08 01:04 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
I'd prefer any time after 6:30EST.
03/03/08 11:38 PM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
Thanks for an enjoyable swap. While the sugar differences were very subtle between the blonde candi, amber syrup, and dark candi. All the beers were very good. The dark syrup definately had the most character.

There were some questions on the mash schedule I used and fermentation schedule. Here are the details:

Mash schedule - 136F 15 minutes, 146F 30 minutes, 161F 30 minutes, mash out at 172F.

Fermentation schedule - stared at 65F and raised 3F per day (I thought it was 4F/day but checking my records, it was 3F/day). Raise temperature from 65F until 80F is reached (5 days). Hold until "finished." I know I ramped down after it was "finished" but I cannot find it in my notes.

Again, thank you for a wonderful swap.

03/04/08 09:12 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
Thanks to all you guys. I look forward to another swap.

My next Strong Blond will involve step mashing and temperature ramping (but not dark candi!)

03/04/08 11:19 AM  
Re: Sugar Swap Strong Blond
FYI gang, the transcript is now available from the resource page.
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