Bourbon Barrel Belgian Dark Strong Ale

This recipe was created especially for us by world renowned brewer Urbain Coutteau from De Struise during a recent visit to our store . The beer features rich, complex malt  flavors, with noticeable alcohol and notes of raisins and other dried fruits. We will be brewing this beer as part of a Big Brew at our Montgomeryville store on May 5 to celebrate National Homebrew Day. Everyone is welcome to attend! The primary fermentation will be conducted in fresh bourbon barrels here at the store (optional), which will add complementary layers of oak and vanilla. You can order extract and all-grain versions online to pick up later and brew at the event. This recipe is for 5 gallons, but you can brew any volume you’d like – just place your order by phone at (215) 855-0100.

Original Gravity   1.082
Final Gravity   1.017
Alcohol Content   8.1%

7 lb. Briess Golden Light DME
2 lb. Belgian Dark Candi Sugar
¼ lb. Briess 120°L Crystal
¼ lb. Dingemans Special B

2 oz. Czech Saaz Hop Pellets (Bittering) with 60 minutes left in the boil.
½ oz. Czech Saaz Hop Pellets (Flavoring) with 10 minutes left in the boil.
½ oz. Czech Saaz Hop Pellets (Aroma) with 1 minute left in the boil.
ALL-GRAIN BREWERS: Substitute 13lbs. of Dingemans Pale Malt in place of the Golden Light DME. Mash at 152F.

Wyeast # 1388 Belgian Strong Ale Yeast

5 Muslin Bags
5 oz Priming Sugar if bottling (NOT INCLUDED)

* The malted grains are crushed together in the clear plastic bag.


few hours before you begin to brew, prepare your liquid yeast according to the package instructions. We assume that you are familiar with basic homebrewing techniques, so these procedures are abbreviated.

  1. Heat 1 gallon of water in your brew kettle to between 145°F and 160°F.
  2. Put the grains into a muslin bag, tie it off near the top, and add the bag to your brew kettle. Steep the grains in hot water (about 145° – 160°F) to extract flavor and color — do not allow to boil.
  3. After about 30 minutes, remove the grain bag, top up with water to your full boil volume (leaving room so you can add the extract and candi sugar later), and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn off your burner and add the malt extract and Belgian candi sugar. Keep the kettle off the burner and stir until both the malt extract and the candi sugar are completely dissolved.
  5. Turn the heat back on and bring the wort (the stuff in your pot) to a boil. Once boiling, place the bittering hops into a muslin bag, add them to the pot, and set your timer to boil for 1 hour. Keep an eye on the pot to avoid boil-overs.
  6. After 45 minutes of boiling, you may add ½ teaspoon of Irish moss, or 1 Whirlfloc tablet, to help clarify your beer (optional).
  7. After 50 minutes of boiling, add the flavoring hops (in a muslin bag).
  8. After 59 minutes of boiling, add the aroma hops (in a muslin bag).
  9. After 60 minutes of boiling, turn off the heat. Chill your wort to 80°F or lower using a wort chiller. Remove the hop bags from the kettle.
  10. Top up with cold water if necessary to achieve target volume/gravity.
  11. Make sure the wort is below 80°F before you have your wort transferred into a barrel, but do not perform the transfer yourself. Instead, let a Keystone Homebrew employee know that you are ready.
  12. Be prepared to drop off your sanitized and volume-calibrated fermentors at our Montgomeryville store between Friday, May 25 and Monday, May 28. Your beer will be ready for pick-up on Saturday, June 6. Please plan to retrieve your beer within 5 days.
  13. This beer may benefit from extended bulk aging in your glass carboy. Using a hydrometer, confirm completion of fermentation prior to bottling. When ready to bottle, siphon beer into your sanitized bottling bucket, leaving sediment behind. Boil priming sugar in 1-2 cups of water for a few minutes, gently stir into the beer, and bottle as usual.
Bourbon Barrel Recipes