Once a year, I indulge myself in a batch of my favorite beer. This year, I brewed my annual Belgian Quad in July. This is a high-alcohol beer, and thus requires some serious time and effort to produce the desired results.
The first challenge is to get enough grain into the brewing system to produce the huge amount of fermentable sugar required. Limited by our 50 gallon pots (at the time), only 25 gallons of beer was possible from the 100 pounds of grain. The initial wort was fermented with a Belgian yeast to ensure the yeast imparted the desired flavors. We allowed about 4 weeks for the initial fermentation.
After the initial fermentation, an additional load of sugar was added to raise the alcohol potential. The original yeast can’t handle the resulting alcohol content, so a strain of champagne yeast was added to complete the fermentation. Another 4 weeks were allowed for this stage.
After a few months in the fermentor, we finally kegged the beer and force carbonated as usual. The two resulting kegs were aged for a few months until we were ready to bottle.
In early December, we transferred the beer from the kegs into 10 cases of 22 ounce bottles. Each bottle was labeled, then signed and numbered.
The results are very interesting. The beer presents more like a sherry than beer, being very smooth with considerable sweetness. The carbonation is very light, and a slightly warmer than usual serving temperature really brings out the flavors.
Be sure to enjoy this special beer at home, and share it with a friend. You won’t be functional after a bottle of this one!