Hubs and I have had so little time to brew lately it is embarrassing. We’ve been traveling, juggling crazy schedules, and I’ve been running around helping with private beer tastings, teaching my Beer Ed class and cooking up a storm, of course.
In addition to all that great life stuff, I have been focusing my energies on a very exciting career move. Like many beer-bloggers, as of last week I had a ‘grown-up,’ 9a-5p desk job that wasn’t fulfilling my creative side. But, it paid the bills, and I remained hopeful that some day I would transition this beer-loving hobby of mine into a full time gig. I didn’t realize quite how soon an opportunity would present itself, but it did, and I snatched it up.
I’m extremely excited to share that as of today, Monday July 7th I am a sales representative for Cavalier Distributing!
Not only does Cavalier distribute beers from some of the my absolute favorite breweries (Dogfish Head, Stone, MadTree, Breckenridge, Revolution, Dieu de Ciel, Two Brothers, Jolly Pumpkin . . . just to name a few), what convinced me to work for them is the people. Everyone I’ve interacted with there is stellar and I have no doubt that I will be happy there. At what other job is jeans and a polo considered business casual? I am too lucky.
The blog will continue, don’t worry, and I’ll still support ALL of my favorite breweries, near and far, no matter who distributes them.
So. We brewed this chamomile tripel at the very end of March, and we only just kegged it two weeks ago. You know, all the aforementioned life craziness.
Shameful, I know, but to be fair, the primary fermentation was sort of slow (though steady), so we wanted to give it plenty of time in secondary to age and ferment appropriately.
A couple things you are probably asking yourself about this beer: why chamomile? And what the heck is that name about?
First, chamomile is a flower that has been used in brewing for a while. It is most commonly used in Belgian witbier, though can work well in a variety of lighter styles. In fact, Stone’s 10.10.10 in their Vertical Epic Series uses chamomile too, in addition to grapes! The chamomile provides a fruity, juicy, somewhat apple-y and herbal aroma that I just love. In my opinion it works beautifully with the fruity, slightly banana, and spicy flavors in a traditional Belgian tripel.
Second, for the name we wanted something that referenced the sleepy character which chamomile is famous for, preferably in Dutch, since the beer would be Belgian. Lucky for us, we have a friend who speaks some Dutch. Turns out the vernacular word for sleepy is slaapdronken, or literally, sleep drunk.
How perfect is that?
This is a beer we will absolutely make again. Luckily we made enough to keg some and bottle some as well with high carbonation in Belgian bottles. We made a 10 gallon batch, which is the all-grain recipe below:
- 1 liter yeast starter using a packet of Wyeast 3522 – Belgian Ardennes – This is a GREAT yeast that can be used for a variety of high alcohol Belgian beers.
- 16 lbs Pilsner malt
- 5 lbs two-row
- 1 lb biscuit malt
- 1 lb Munich 10
- 1 lb Belgian Aromatic Malt
- 4.5 lbs. homemade ‘Belgian’ candy sugar
- 1/2 oz Warrior hops @ 90 minutes
- 1 oz Perle @ 60 minutes
- 1 oz Perle @ 30 minutes
- 2 oz Saaz @ 15 minutes
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet added at 5 minutes before end of boil
- 2 oz dried, whole Chamomile Flower at flameout (we steeped for 2-3 minutes in a hop bag)
As I mentioned, this recipe will produce a 10 gallon batch of beer – just halve everything if you want 5 gallons only. With regard to the malt bill, we wanted a variety of lighter and flavorful malts to create some complexity, but feel free to use a majority Pilsner malt and one or two other of your favorite malts (nothing too dark).
Mash in at 148-152 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Mash out, then boil for 90 minutes. Cool down and pitch yeast, making sure to aerate the wort well. During primary fermentation we stored the beer in room temp, around 68 degrees. After a few weeks in secondary we moved it into our basement, which is around 55 degrees F.
Here are the specs:
- Original gravity: 1.068
- Gravity after 10 days of primary: 1.020 (fermentation was still pretty active, yours should be a bit lower than this before transferring)
- Final gravity after 2 months of secondary: 1.007
- ABV: 8% ABV
- IBU: 30 IBU
- SRM: 7
Like I’ve said before, we always ferment in a plastic bucket, typically for a week or two then transfer to a 5 or 6 Gallon Glass Carboy. Because this beer fermented slow and steady, and because of the higher alcohol content, we felt good about aging it for a bit. It turned out absolutely delicious, so I’m glad we did.
The morals of this post are two fold: #1: Do what you love, and #2: Get brewing some Slaapdronken.
Enjoy my friends!