Bruxelles Black (6% abv)
To some people it seems as though Belgian beers have started taking on a classic, stately quality, but it’s difficult to argue with a brewing tradition where corner bodegas can boast beer stocks that make bottle shops across the globe blush. Here, with Bruxelles Black, we’ve thought up a new classic. This dark Belgian-style ale is brewed using belgian malts, honey, in addition to saaz and pacific jade hops. Saaz is delightfully spicy and easy on the nose, but the presence of the aggressively black pepper–scented new zealand–grown pacific jade hops presents some bitterness and aroma needed to balance this beer’s richer malt base.
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60-minute mash at 67°C
- 2.4 L (2½ qt) water, with an extra gallon (3.8 L) for sparging
- 725g (1.6 lb) Belgian Pilsner malt
- 90g (0.2 lb) Belgian Munich malt
- 90g (0.2 lb) Belgian Biscuit malt
- 90g (0.2 lb) Black malt
- *All grains should be milled - see this page for information on milling
- 4.25g (0.15 oz) Pacific Jade hops, split into thirds
- 2.8g (0.1 oz) Saaz hops
- 110g honey
- Belgian ale yeast, such as Safale S-33 (see note)
- 65g honey, for bottling
- In a medium-sized stockpot, heat the 2.4 L (2½ qt) of water over high heat to 70°C. Combine with all the malts and stir gently. The temperature should decrease to 66°C in around 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat. Steep the grains for 60 minutes between 62°C and 67°C. Every 10 minutes or so, stir and take a temperature reading. If the temperature of the grain becomes too cold, return it to heat and stir until the temperature returns to the specified range and then take it back off the heat. With 10 minutes remaining, in a separate medium-sized stockpot heat 1 gallon (3.8 litres) of water to 77°C. Once the grains have been steeped for 60 minutes, turn the heat to high and stir until the temperature hits 77°C. At this point, take it off the heat.
- Position a fine-mesh strainer across a stockpot and pour the grains into the strainer, maintain the liquid. Pour the gallon (3.8 litres) of 77°C water over the grains. Recirculate the collected liquid through the grains once.
- Place the pot with the liquid in on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the liquid starts to foam, lower the heat to a slow rolling boil and add one third of the Pacific Jade hops. After 30 minutes, add another third of the Pacific Jade hops, and the final third after 50 minutes. Prepare an ice bath by stopping the sink and filling it halfway with water and ice. After 59 minutes add the Saaz hops. After 60 minutes, take the pot off the heat and add the honey and stir to dissolve. Place the pan in the ice bath, cooling it to 21°C, this should take about 30 minutes.
- Use a funnel and strainer to pour the liquid into your fermenter (remember, it MUST be sanitized). Supplement with water in order to fill the to the 1-gallon mark. Add the yeast using your hands (remember to sanitize those too!) cover the mouth of the jug with one hand, and shake to distribute evenly. Insert the sanitized stopper and tubing to the fermenter and place the other end of the tubing into a bowl of sanitizing solution. As the yeast activates, this solution will bubble as gas is forced through the tube. After 2 to 3 days, once the bubbling has reduced, replace the tubing system with an airlock. Once a further 11 days has passed, bottle your beer using the honey - see this page for bottling instructions.
Suggested Food Pairings
- Abbey Onion Soup, carbonnade, Beer Beef Jerky
For 5 Gallons:
60-Minute Mash at 67°C
- 12.4 L (3¼ gallons) water, with an extra 4 gallons (15.1 L) for sparging
- 3.6kg (8 pounds) Belgian Pilsner malt
- 450g (1 pound) Belgian Munich malt
- 450g (1 pound) Belgian Biscuit malt
- 450g (1 pound) Black malt
- 21g (0.75 ounce) Pacific Jade hops, split into thirds
- 14g (0.5 ounce) Saaz hops
- 565g honey
- Belgian ale yeast, such as Safale S-33
- 340g honey, for bottling