Well, after a two year delay, brew day is almost upon me again (the third child kind of put a crimp in my brewing area- it became a nursery). The beer to brew? A Delirium Tremens clone. If you haven't had it yet -look for the bottle with the pink elephants on it- I strongly suggest that you go out and get a bottle. Drive back home, crack it open and sip it. Do not attempt to drive afterwards, as it is more than little potent.
Where was I? Oh yeah: ingredients. Turns out that mice really, really like malt sugar and since I don't enjoy poop and pee in my beer (kind of why I don't like Budweiser), I had to chuck it and order more. And here's where it gets funny: my supplier didn't ship it because one of the two yeasts I ordered was back ordered. They didn't bother to inform in time. Nice, huh? Anyway, I started scrambling for substitutes.
1) Grains of paradise: use cardamom or black peppercorns
2) Belgian candi sugar: use table sugar. Really.
3) Biscuit malt and aromatic malt? Well, this one is trickier because I cannot get the usual substitutes. However, I'm going to modify the amount of Cara-Pils I had planned to use and toss in some other crystal and chocolate malt. It'll be close enough.
4) Wyeast Belgian Abbey Ale or Belgian Strong Ale? Don't have them (thanks guys!), so I'm going to mix Belgian Abbey Ale II and some dry yeast.
Instead of brewing Delirium Tremens, I'm brewing Delirious Geek. My guess is that it will turn out just fine, albeit slightly different than what I was expecting. As with all brewing, ahem, experiments, I'm curious to see just how good the alternative recipe will be.
Bottling day will be a few weeks in the future. I'll provide an update then.
Oh, maybe you'd like to see the actual recipe? Here goes most of what I'll toss into the pot:
15 oz. mixed cara-pils, chocolate and Munich malt steeped in pot at 150F for 30 minutes. Strain water into brew pot. Sparge grains (fancy word for pouring water over/through grain) with 1/2 gallon of 150F water. Bring water to a boil, remove from the heat and add:
7.5 lb. M&F light dry malt extract
1.5 lbs table sugar (candi sugar substitute)
1 lb. Lyle's Golden Syrup
1.5 oz Williamette hops @ 4.7% AA (7.1 HBU) (bittering hop)
Add water in brew pot until the volume is 3.5 gallons. Boil for 45 minutes then add:
1/4 oz Williamette hops (flavor)
1/4 oz Cascade hops (flavor)
1 tsp Irish Moss
Boil for 11 minutes then add
1/4 oz. Cascade hops (aroma)
1/4 tsp cardamom or black peppercorns
Boil for 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and chill the wort for 20 minutes. Strain the cooled wort into the primary fermenter and add cold water to obtain 5-1/8 gallons. When temperature drops below 80F, pitch the yeast:
Wyeast Belgian Abbey Ale II
1 packet dry yeast
Ferment in the primary for 7 days or until fermentation slows, then rack (siphon) into the secondary stage fermenter (5 gallon glass carboy). Prime the beer win the second stage with another dose of the same strain of fresh yeast. In my case, I'll prime with Belgian Abbey Ale yeast, assuming it's sent to me. Bottle when fermentation is complete and beer has cleared (approximately 6 weeks) with:
1/2 cup corn sugar and 1/3 cup table sugar (candi sugar) that has been boiled in 2 cups water.