Dubbel – Revisited

So I’ve messed around with the Belgian Dubbel style ale a little bit, so I figured it’s time to keep the “world” updated.

So last Saturday I transferred the two carboys of Dubbel to secondaries. Everything went as well as possible, except for one exception, I dosed one of the secondaries. Yup, dosed it with Chinese 5-Spice Infused Vodka, and that shit was potent! Seriously, I used 375ml of Three Olives vodka to 1oz by weight of ground Chinese 5-Spice. I then let this sit for 48 hours, swirling the jar whenever I happen to walk by. After 48 hours I double filtered it through a coffee filter, once and then again. If I was feeling really ambitious I would have put it through a Brita filter or another charcoal filter, charcoal is a distillers best friend as it’s said, but I didn’t want to “ruin” a filter with eternal 5-Spice flavor. Regardless, the stuff was like mace just smelling it, and like an 1/8th of a shot was pretty intense – so I was pleased :). Basically I was looking for a solution to extract the 5-Spice flavor and to be able to add the least amount of solution to the brew.

I pulled 32oz during the transfer to experiment on intensity. I added 1/4 tsp to a pint at a time until I thought I reached a flavor threshold that was somewhere between “yeah I can tell it is there, and what’s different about this beer…?” So subtle, but not non-existent. This turned out to be approximately 1 tsp per pint. Quick math told me I had 40 pints in this batch, thus 40 tsps, which turns out to be roughly 6.5oz of solution – so that’s what I added. It’s been in secondary for a week now and looks very similar to the un-flavored batch, cool.

Originally I was going to keg both of these batched next Saturday (02.06), but I’d like to enter it in a competition where entreis are due by this Sunday which means I’d need to keg it closer to Monday or Tuesday to leave time for carbonation, refridgeration, bottling, and shipping … poop. We’ll see what happens, maybe I’ll skip the deadline.

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