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On Tap at the Farmhouse

Tap 1: El Dorado IPA

Tap 2: American IPA

Tap 3: 100% Brett IPA

Primary: Robust Porter, Hoppy Amber

Lagering: Pilsner, Hoppy Lager

Aging: Brux Farmhouse, Barrel-Aged Golden Strong Ale, Strong Dark Sour, American Wild Ale (Blonde)

Upcoming: Saison, Dank Rye DIPA


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Brew Day: Imperial Belgian IPA

We don’t know what this beer is. That’s now how we started out, of course, but we’ll have to wait and let the beer tell us exactly what it means to be.

Technically, it’s a Belgian-style tripel with lots of American hops, but we fell slightly short of the OG mark for a true tripel (a problem we’ll try to address during the back half of fermentation). That said, it’s too hoppy to be a strong golden ale and too boozy to be simply a Belgian IPA.

In other words, we’re struggling for a concise tag for the people who will wander past our table at Brew Durham next month. We don’t want to have to explain it, and people probably don’t want us to waste their time with so much beer to drink.

Ultimately, we’ll have to taste it and go from there.

We brewed with Houblon Chouffe as our inspiration. It’s the single best merger of Belgian technique and American hops i’ve ever tasted. Its brewers call it a “dobbelen IPA tripel,” a term that isn’t exactly friendly to discussion or festival signage. Tripel IPA just made things worse when we tried it, so how about Imperial Belgian IPA as a placeholder?

(The is the first of two beers we’ll be pouring at Brew Durham 3 in late October. The second, an amber rye saison with oak-smoked wheat, is on deck for later this week.)

Batch size: 5 gallons
Expected OG: 1.072
Expected SRM: 4
Expected IBU: 58

13.75 lbs. Belgian pilsner

1.50 oz. Columbus (a mix of 17% AA and 15% AA)
1.00 oz. Saaz (4% AA)
1.00 oz. Simcoe whole leaf (13% AA)

1.75 lbs. Blonde Belgian candi syrup (added at 20 minutes)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (added at 15 minutes)
0.5 oz. Yeast nutrient (added at 10 minutes)

Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes)

Mash: 20 minutes at 140°F, 70 minutes at 151°F
Sparge: 166°F
Boil: 90 minutes

Hop schedule
60 minutes: 1.0 oz. Columbus (17% AA)
20 minutes: 0.55 oz. Columbus (15% AA)
7 minutes: 1.0 oz. Saaz
Dry hop: 1.0 oz. Simcoe

Hop clouds gathering during chilling

We pitched at 65°F and fermentation is healthy at 69°F. We’ll raise the temperature into the 70s as the beer moves into secondary fermentation.

As mentioned earlier, we fell short of our OG goal. Our yield was 4.8 gallons of 1.066 wort. I know some brewers like to add additional candi sugar during the back half of primary fermentation, so we may try that to bump us up above 1.070.

This is our first go with the Ardennes yeast strain. I’ve read that it’s highly flocculent and that it produces milder esters than some others we’ve tried. We’ve had excessive esters and phenols in some of our Belgian ales, so here’s hoping this strain working at a mellow temperature will give us that soft, fruity, spicy magic.

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