De Rode Katje, Again

22 Mar 2017

I had a Rodenbach Grand Cru since the January batch of De Rode Katje, and was shocked at how sweet it was. The sour and funk were remarkably similar to mine, but the sweet, malty aspect was completely new.

The options on the Internet for fixing this are not great: sweeten with an Aspartame or something similar; pasteurize and backsweeten (rumor is this is what Rodenbach does); or mix with a sweeter base beer and serve immediately.

I figured that I should try the third option before resorting to the second. I don’t think I’d ever dump an artificial sweetener in there.

So, I made a few changes to the recipe:

  • Higher mash temp (targeting 70°C)
  • Shorter mash (just until an iodine test for starch comes back negative)
  • Darker crystal malt (60 Lovibond) for more unfermentables
  • Using T-85, which has a higher final gravity than the usual US-05
  • Substituting D-54 Candi Syrup for some of the malt bill

I don’t have a good excuse for the latter: its effect will be to dry the beer out, but I’m hoping that its “malty” flavor contributions survive the Lactobacillus and round out the flavor profile.

The plan is to take this off primary fairly quickly, once the kreusen falls, mix it about 50/50 with the barrel batch (last cycled in January), and immediately chill and pressurize the result to try to slow down any bacterial fermentation of the remaining sugars.

Some photos and videos of this brew session are in this album.