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Double Dubbel: Petite Sirah Oaked Dubbel, Sour Dubbel

December 16, 2012

*Updated 2/2/13

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Winter’s a good time for me to mix up my brews a bit.  Anyone who reads this regularly knows that I typically lean towards hoppier beers.  I still like to drink them in the colder months, but they really hit the spot for me in the summer.

Lately, I’ve also been interested in expanding my brewing horizons a bit.  I’m on a constant mission to be the most complete and capable brewer that I can.  While some of that comes from understanding process, chemistry, etc, a bigger part is experience with the many styles.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of beer I want to have on tap this winter, and I kept coming back to a belgian style.  I thought about a Tripel.  With the Westy 12 release, I considered a Quadrupel, but they’re so damn big – I really didn’t want a full keg of it.  I settled on Dubbel – a style I can drink a few of in a session, I really enjoy, and that I think there is potential for some interesting experiments.

I also wanted to get another sour going.  They take a really long time (8-12 months, in most of my experience) and I had a few new sour-dedicated fermenters after brewing a 10 gallon sour starter for our Wine Barrel Flanders Red.

This meant a double batch, split – half with clean yeast (went with Wyeast 1214 – Chimay) and half with a variety of wild yeasts and microbes.

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The twist for the clean portion, is that I will be adding some french oak cubes (med toast) that have been soaked in Petite Sirah wine.  If you’re not familiar, Petite Sirah is a very big, very bold red wine.  It’s extremely dark and rich.  This is one of my favorite types of wine, and I thought its boldness would add some interesting character to a Dubbel.  I’ve also never had a Dubbel anything like this, so it should be a pretty fun experiment.

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2 oz (weighed dry) french oak cubes – after being soaked in Petite Sirah wine.

The other half of this batch is where things get really interesting.  I had a couple of different wild yeast/microbe strains kicking around and wanted to utilize them in my Sour Dubbel.  After some consideration, I went with roughly equal portions of a brett slurry, which originated from a bottle of Russian River Sanctification (also used in my Citrus Sour Blonder) and some leftover Wyeast Roeselare Slurry leftover from our Flanders Red.

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A bit of my yeast collection.  From left, Wyeast 1214, Roeselare Slurry, Brett Slurry, Conan (from the Alchemist’s kickass Heady Topper)

With all of these ideas ironed out, it was time to brew.  My friend Alex was kind enough to help out and lend the use of his keggle.  I don’t have a kettle capable of doing a 10 gallon full boil, so I often look to him when I want to do something that big.

This turned out to be a pretty fun brew, and I’m really excited for both sets of results.  I’ll probably bottle a little of the clean portion before the wine oak, so I can enter it in an upcoming competition.

Here’s the recipe:

Double Dubbel
18-B Belgian Dubbel
Brewed: 12/2/12

Size: 10.5 gal
Efficiency: 77.25% (measured)
Attenuation: 72.0% (estimated)
Original Gravity: 1.064 (measured)
Terminal Gravity: 1.017 (measured – clean portion), 1.007 (estimated – sour portion)

Color: 16.66
Alcohol: 6.15%
IBU: 16

Water (all in ppm):

Ca: 69.8  Mg: 6.4  Na: 10.6  SO₄: 23.3  Cl: 21.4  HCO₃: 120.2

Ingredients:

  • 20.0 lb Briess Pilsen Malt
  • 2.0 lb Red Wheat Malt
  • 1.25 lb Special B Malt
  • 1 oz Roasted Barley
  • 1.0 lb Amber Belgian Candi Sugar – added at 15 min
  • 2 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker (4.5% AA) – boiled 60 minutes
  • Yeast – see notes
  • Clean Portion – 2 oz Petite Sirah oak cubes added to secondary (just for a few days, before bottling).
  • Sour Portion – 1 lb sour cherries, added to secondary.  2 oz Petite Sirah oak cubes added for a few days before bottling.

Schedule:

  • Mash @ 152 (1.25 qt/lb ratio)
  • Mash out @ 170
  • Batch sparge (water slightly acidified)

Notes:

  • 12/2 – Brewed on a Sunday with the help of Alex and his keggle
  • Brew went pretty well.  I missed my target mash temp (155), which I was surprised by, but this should be fine.
  • Collected 10.5 gallons of 1.064 wort, chilled to 68F.
  • Split evenly between two vessels.  One received a 1L starter of Wyeast 1214 (Chimay strain).  The other half received 3 tbsp of Brett slurry (2nd generation from RR Sanctification) and 3 tbsp of Roeselare slurry (2nd generation, leftover from wine barrel flanders red starter)
  • Both off and fermenting quickly.  The sour portion was particularly vigorous.  I wound up sticking a blowoff tube in, which I didn’t expect to need.
  • 12/9 – Clean portion just about done fermenting – krausen dropped out and activity clearly slowed.
  • 12/16 – Gravity 1.017.  Racked the clean portion to a sanitized secondary fermenter, bottling 2-12oz bottles on the way.  Added 2 oz (weighed when dry) of Petite Sirah oak cubes, in a sanitized mesh hop bag.  Will begin checking daily and remove the oak when desired character is achieved.
  • Sour portion still has something of a krausen, which is gooey, sticky and essentially opaque.  I expect it to drop out after another 2 weeks or so, at which point I can rack to secondary.
  • 12/27 – pulled the oak out of the clean portion, as I believe I’ve reached the level I want.  Letting the cubes dry for now.  I’ll blanch them in some boiling water tomorrow, before adding back to the petite sirah.  Clean portion is currently crash cooling to 36 degrees.  Will hopefully bottle tomorrow.
  • 2/2 – A little late following up on this one.  I wound up letting the clean version sit in an extended secondary, although the oak was only in for about 6 days.  The desired oak character came out quickly.  This past week, I racked into a keg and began force carbonating.  Realized today I’m out of CO2, so I won’t get to drink this for another couple of days.
  • Also checked on the sour version.  While I was unimpressed for the first few months (it just seemed normal – probably because the brett fermented out most of the sugar quickly), its now developed a bit of a pellicle and is really starting to smell like a Flanders.  Needs a bit more time/age, but I think some muddled sour cherries and recycled Petite Sirah oak in the secondary will make for a really special beer.  This will be a cool one to have in the cellar to bust out for tastings and trades.
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