A few years ago, I made a Chimay Red clone. It was so close to the commercial version that only a connoisseur could tell the difference. What is the secret? The yeast. The commercial version of this Belgian abbey beer is that it has live yeast in it.
My brother and I splurged and purchased several bottles (about $35 worth), and as we drank them, we saved the last half inch of each beer. I poured the dregs into an Erlenmeyer flask. Over the course of the next few days, I boiled a little malt each day, let it cool to room temp, and added it to the flask until I had close to 1000 ml of starter.
The rest of the recipe is as follows:
7 lbs extra lite dme
8 oz. caramunich malt
4 oz, aromatic malt
1 oz. chocolate malt
1.5 lbs dark Belgian candi syrup
.5 lbs clear Belgian candi sugar
2 oz Tettnanger 4.8%
.5 oz Herzbrucker 2.8%
Wyeast 1762 for priming
Cultured Chimay yeast
Brewvint yeast fuel
Culturing the yeast
Monday, October 4, 2010
I boiled ½ c water and 2T malt, and let cool.
My brother and I drank 2 large bottles of Chimay red, and two small bottles.
I flamed the tops of the bottles, and poured the dregs from the bottles into one bottle.
When my wort cooled, I poured it into the bottle.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I boiled 1 c water with 2 T malt, cooled and added to wort. I bought a 1-liter glass flask, so all went into that.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010. We have a little visible bubbling today. I boiled 1¼ C water and 3 T malt, cooled, and added to flask. The flask is covered with foil, and I have been shaking it whenever I pass by.
Thursday, October 07, 2010, I boiled 1 ½ c water and 1/3 c malt, and allowed to cool. There is much more yeast action today. I have also made another batch of wort consisting of 6 c water, and ½ C malt. When the small bottle cools, I’ll add it later. I’ll add the entire contents of the flask into the 1-gallon jug in the morning. That should give me a huge batch of starter. I may even make another small batch of wort tomorrow evening, and add it to the rest for an extra kick.
Friday, October 8, 2010
I boiled 700 ml water with ½ c malt, cooled and added to wort.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
I steeped the grains in 1.5 gallons 160-degree water for 30 minutes. I sparged with ¾ gallon 160-degree water.
I brought the mixture to a boil, removed from heat, and added and dissolved the malt.
After the hot break, I added 1 oz of the Tettnanger, and started the 1-hour boil.
At 25 minutes, I added the other oz of Tettnanger.
I added 2 qt of boiling water to the wort.
I added the Brewvint yeast fuel at this time.
I brought 1 qt water to a boil, removed from heat, and added the clear candi sugar. When dissolved, I added the dark candi syrup. I returned the mixture to a boil and added to wort at 50 minutes along with ½ oz Herzbrucker pellets.
At 52 minutes, the wort boiled over, and I stopped the boil, and begun the cooling process whilst cleaning the stovetop.
I cooled the wort to 73 degrees, added 1-gallon cold water from fridge, and enough bottled water to make 5 gallons.
I aireated the wort for 30 minutes.
The OG before pitching yeast was 1.076.
The starter was in the temp controlled fridge…I am hoping it was around 70.
I added the yeast starter (3/4 gallon) and the OG was 1.066.
It took 6 hours for the ferment to begin.
The next morning, the ferment was very active.
I put it in the fridge on the fridge side with a temp controller, set at 70 degrees on the freezer side.
The fridge side heated up to 80, so I put the beer on the freezer side, and left the controller at 70.
October 13, 2010
I racked today. The gravity was an unbelievable 1.012! So much for the “slower fermenting Trappist Ale yeast”!
October 23, 2010
I bottled today to 2 C water, ¾ C corn sugar with an extra tablespoon, as there was a tad more than 5 gallons, and Wyeast 1762, Belgian Abbey II yeast, which was smacked the night before. The FG was 1.010.
This beer tastes so close to the original version, my brother cannot tell the difference. It is very good.