The Anatomy of a Belgian Quad

If you have an interest in Quads and you haven't found it yet, check out this epic 50+ page thread on HBT about "The Pious" an award winning Westvleteren 12 clone. The thread goes through the evolution of a recipe that took 1st place & BOS in the Westvleteren 12 clone comp with 43 points beating out a real Westvleteren 12 with 40 points (which is kind of hysterical). Along the way all things Quad are discussed with about a 20 page detour on the rollout of the new line of dark (and light) candi syrups by Candi Syrup Inc. If you are interested in the style it is a must read. Here are my take aways from it:

Most of these fall into the fairly obvious category. The warm fermentation followed by a long cold maturation is interesting, and many people on the thread report a very raw flavor profile for a few months on till the flavors meld and the yeast drops out.

If there is a bomb shell it is that you basically have only one option for the gravity boost, the color, and for the roast and dark fruit flavors: dark candi syrup. Basically only two option emerge: Candi Syrup Inc.'s D180 and Dark Candi Inc's D2. The former is a new comer made in the US that claims to be the closest thing you can buy to the real thing. The later is claimed to be -- ahem -- the real thing, imported from the same sources in Belgium as the monks use.

If you read Brew Like a Monk on Quads a.k.a. Strong Belgian Darks made by more recent american upstarts go for additional complexity pretty much anyway they can. But the overal take away is that the use of Special B and other specialty malts that figure highly in many homebrew recipes should be used with discretion.

Here is my take:


Ingredient Amount % MCU When
Belgian Pilsen Malt 15lb 0oz 43.1 % 2.0 In Mash/Steeped
Belgian Pale Malt 13lb 0oz 37.3 % 4.0 In Mash/Steeped
Belgian Aromatic Malt 10.00 oz 1.8 % 1.0 In Mash/Steeped
US Caramel 120L Malt 2.00 oz 0.4 % 1.3 In Mash/Steeped
Belgian Special B 1.00 oz 0.2 % 0.8 In Mash/Steeped
Sugar - White Sugar/Sucrose 1lb 0oz 2.9 % 0.0 Start Of Boil
Sugar - Candi Syrup Inc - D180 2lb 0oz 5.7 % 30.0 End Of Boil
Sugar - Candi Syrup Inc - D90 2lb 0oz 5.7 % 15.0 End Of Boil
Sugar - Muscavado Dark 1lb 0oz 2.9 % 8.3 End Of Boil

Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
US Sterling 7.1 % 2.10 oz 18.0 Loose Whole Hops First Wort Hopped
German Hallertauer Mittlefruh 4.5 % 2.10 oz 10.5 Loose Whole Hops 45 Min From End
  Other Ingredients

Ingredient Amount When
Yeast Nutrient 1.25 oz In Boil
Irish Moss 1.25 oz In Boil

Wyeast 3787-Trappist High Gravity. Started with a 10 gallon batch of Dubbel. The Quad was pitched on the lees. The over the first night the airlocks were overrun and lids of two 8 gallon buckets blew completely off. Use a blowoff; 3787 is snotty stuff!

Water Profile

Target Profile: No Water Profile Chosen
Mash pH: 5.2
pH Adjusted with: Unadjusted
Total Calcium (ppm): 10 Total Magnesium (ppm): 1
Total Sodium (ppm): 2 Total Sulfate (ppm): 1
Total Chloride(ppm): 4 Total Bicarbonate (ppm): 29

Mash Schedule

Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name: Single Step Infusion (66C/151F)

Step Type Temperature Duration
Rest at 151 degF 60

Mash Notes

Added 37 qt @ 166 degF = Strike at 147 - 153 degF @ 12:20 for 60min
Sparge at 178 degF for 20min

Boil Notes

90 minutes. Added additional spargein at 45min, to bring total volume to 14g. Minus 4lb candi sugar 1.067. Should be about 7 points for boil down, so 1.060 start og boil. 4lb candi should be +12points on 1.067. So OG should be about 1.079

Fermentation Notes

Racked on the lees of my autumn brown dubbel, westmalle strain.I knew I was in trouble when I had massive airlock activity in the forst 2 hours.Going to add 1lb Muscavado sugar to the candi sugar for an additional +4pts. Total addition of +16 for an OG of 1.083

down to 1.022 in 3 days.
down to 1.011 in 2 weeks.