My 1st Award-Winning Beer! – Strong, Dark & Stoopid Belgian Dark Strong Ale (All Grain)


My second all grain brew, this beer took 3rd place in it’s category at the 2014 Connecticut Beer Trail Homebrew Contest with two 41 scores (score sheets below).  It was about 4-months aged at the time of entry.  I brewed it in the typical manner with Belgian Candi Sugars and oaked it with both chips and cubes (in hopes of added complexity).  This was also my first time using a proper yeast starter (though I did still under-pitch by about 100 billion cells… some stress on Belgian yeast can create desirable effects for the style).

Batch Size:  5.25 Gallons
Measured Original Gravity: 1.083 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
IBUs:  25.2
ABV:  8.9%



Mash at 152F for 75 minutes then fly sparge until desired amount of wort is collected:

12 lbs 4.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row)
1 lbs Caramunich Malt
8.0 oz Special B Malt
4.0 oz Wheat, Flaked

2.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min
1.00 oz Spalter [4.50 %] – Boil 1.0 min

1 lbs Candi Sugar, Clear (1.0 SRM) – Flame out
1 lbs Candi Sugar, Dark (90.0 SRM) – Flame out

1.0 pkg Belgian Abbey Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1214) – 2 liter 1.035 starter 48 hours in advance

1.50 oz Oak Chips (Secondary 10.0 days) Flavor 10 –
1.50 oz Oak Cubes (Secondary 10.0 days) Flavor 11


Tasting Notes:

I’m really proud of this one.  There are layers upon layers of complex dark fruit and malt flavors with an effervescent, off-dry finish.  The subtle oak plays perfectly against these flavors.  On a downside, after 4 months of aging the bottles became “gushers” as was noted on my score sheets.   After 6 months they are regular geysers.  I obviously over-carbonated.  I’m hoping they will gas-off with time.  I’m not concerned about letting these sit for another 6 months to a year.  Time is your friend with this style.  I recently brewed up a revision of this brew which has not yet been bottled.  Stay tuned for that recipe in the future.

Score Sheets:

Homebrew contest score sheet          Homebrew contest score sheet




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2 Responses to “My 1st Award-Winning Beer! – Strong, Dark & Stoopid Belgian Dark Strong Ale (All Grain)”

  1. July 23, 2014

    Patrick Reply

    Just curious how many volumes of co2 you were aiming for at bottling? I just bottled my first BDSA going for 3.3 volumes of co2 using .88 cups of sugar for 4.5 gallons. Now I’m worried!

    • October 25, 2014

      admin Reply

      Sorry for the extended delay in responding. I was on a bit of a hiatus from the site but I’m back to updating now. I hope yours worked out. I think I was shooting for about 3 vols. The over-carbonation could have been due to slow yeast. I’m thinking it may not have been fully attenuated when I bottled it. Have you tried yours yet?

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