Despite the fact I didn’t receive votes for it, on Sunday I brewed a Belgian Dubbel. I’ve named the batch Hump’s Praying Monk Ale since many of the brewers of Belgian beers (particularly Dubbels and Tripels) are either Trappist Monks or otherwise associated with an Abbey or Monastery. I’ve made two other “monk” ales in the past. One was a strong, dry, and overly hopped Belgian Pale Ale named Hump’s Sleeping Monk Ale, and the other a very, very strong, sweet Belgian-style specialty beer named Hump’s Dancing Monk Ale. The names roughly correspond to the strength of the beer: the stronger the beer, the more active or crazy the monk for which it is named.

I think the brew will turn out decent. I racked it to the secondary fermentor last night. It has attenuated decently, though not spectacularly. One of the main reasons is that the mini-mash was at too high a temperature. This means that the carbs contributed to the brew from these grains still contain lots of unfermentable sugars and starches. I was hoping the use of dark Belgian Candi Sugar would offset this. Candi Sugar is just that: sugar. So it is highly fermentable and frequently used to reduce the body of strong ales that are in roughly Belgian style.

On another note, my latest, hoppy concoction has mellowed considerably. So much that I’ll be renaming the brew back to Hump’s Best Bitter. I should have known from my last such experience that hoppy beers (perhaps just dry-hopped beers) transform considerably during their first few weeks of age. Or at least this one did, as did the Humble Hop Juice that I made earlier this year. The beer is quite delicious. So much so, that if I had no self control I’d probably have 3 or 4 each evening. Luckily I have some self-control – I limit myself to 0 to 2 each evening, perhaps 3 on the weekends. If only I could consume it and absorb neither the alcohol nor the calories… Of course, were that the case the batch would probably be gone by now.

Next Friday will be the next “Session”. This month’s topic is Beer and Music. I’m struggling a little bit with this one, so I’m not at all sure what I’ll write about. Perhaps something will come to me over the next week.

Before I leave, have a link to some figures on craft brew sales in 2007. I found several nuggets there quite interesting – most particularly that New Belgium’s Fat Tire is pacing (possibly out-pacing) Michelob.