Gary, at StL Wine and Beer, introduced me to his Patersbier, or “Fathers Beer,” a Belgium style brewed by monks and generally only available at the monasteries. The concept is a session beer that the monks keep on hand for their own use, essentially the monastery’s lawnmower beer. Each monastery has its own recipe; however, this style can be roughly defined by those unique Belgium flavors in a low ABV beer, an Enkel (Dutch for single), rather than a Dubbel or Tripel. Gary’s recipe uses only Belgium Pilsner malt, noble hops, and Wyeast’s private collection yeast strain, 3864- Canadian/Belgian Ale. This beer has turned out to be a real winner for Gary. I thought his easy-drinking and delicious.
Since each monastery has its own unique recipe, I feel compelled to tweak Gary’s a bit to make it my own, though I don’t want to get too far away from the simplicity of what Gary has done so successfully. 10% Belgian Aromatic malt should add a little color, some biscuit flavor and malty aroma. The total malt bill will be adjusted to accommodate a final ABV around 5%.
Wyeast 3864-PC Canadian/Belgian Ale- I procured a pack of the yeast when it was available during the first quarter of 2015. Notes from Wyeast-
Beer Styles: Belgian Dubbel and Tripel, Belgian Specialty Ale, Belgian Golden Strong, Biere de Garde, Witbier
Profile: This alcohol tolerant strain produces complex and well-balanced Belgian Abbey style ales. Banana and fruit esters are complemented nicely with mild levels of phenolics and hints of acidity. Ester levels may be elevated by increasing gravity and fermentation temperatures.
- Tolerance 12% ABV
- Flocculation medium
- Attenuation 75-79%
- Range 65-80°F (18-27°C)
Because I’m not a huge fan of the banana esters, I will try to keep the fermentation temps in the lower range.
Gary bitters the beer with Hallertau Tradition and finishes with ½ oz of Saaz per 5g during the last 10 minutes of the boil. No reason to change that noble bill.
- 32# Belgium Pilsner malt
- 3# Belgian Aromatic malt
- 6 ounces Hallertau 60’ (4.5% for calculations; actual was 4.9%)
- 2 ounces Saaz 10’ (3.2% for calculations; actual was 2.4%)
Mash-in 152F 90’, single infusion
Prep 30g of water- 12g for mash water, 6g for heat bump, and 12g for sparge.
Collect minimum 25g in boil kettle.
- OG = 1.049
- IBU = 24
- FG = 1.009
- ABV = 5.2%
Brew Day- April 18, 2015
Brewers- Dry Hop Rob, Charles, Tom
Smooth working brew day with good weather. Mashed in the basement because it was supposed to rain, but didn’t. Hit all our times and temps. Started the day around 9 AM and finished about 4:30.
- 9:00 AM Prep for brew- measure & mill grain; measure & heat water
- 10:38 AM Mash-in, used new thermometer only, temps were perfect at 152-154F
- Added 6 g of bump water for mash out but only raised to 160-ish.
- 12:38 Lauter-
- Sparge with 13 g, 180F
- 1:14 Lauter finish (collect 25+ g in boil kettle)
- 2:00 Begin boil
- 2:13 First hop, Hallertau
- 3:05 Saaz addition
- 3:15 Flame out
- Coldbreak went well; happy with Thermonator. After flame out we did a whirlpool and cooled the sides of the kettle down with the hose for an initial break. Temp coming out of Thermonator was a perfect 67F.
- 4:20 Pitch yeast
- Original Gravity = 1.049 (hit this number perfectly)
Strong bubble in the airlock the following morning. About 22 gallons total in fermenter. Temps in basement are right under 70 F.
April 30- Racked to secondary in the big fermenter. Gravity = 1.016. Would like to see it a bit lower. Flavor profile was pretty good, smooth, malty, with that unique Belgian flavor particularly from the yeast. It’s yeasty, tart, citric almost, which I’m not crazy about, but I’m hopeful that it mellows.
May 13- Racked 15 gallons into carboys and 5 into a keg. I would have bottled and kegged all of it but didn’t have the kegs or bottles to do it. Gravity was way down at 1.008. Sample was very good, with a very Belgian flavor from the yeast. Good golden color. Looks like a good beer at this point.
May 22- Bottled 5 gallons. Gravity = 1.006. Bottled 5 gallons, kegged 5 gallons, and left 5 g in the carboy. Sample is very good. Likely the driest beer I’ve ever made. This yeast is crazy. And it tastes very Belgian. I like it and am anxious to see what it’s like carbonated. This lawn mower beer is 5.6% ABV.
Happy Holiday’s Homebrew Competition-
Entered the Patersbier and scored very well, making it to the mini best of show for the Belgian Specialty style. There were 42 entries in this category and this beer made the final table putting it in the top 10% or so. Too bad it didn’t medal.