Hops, used in beer production, are a flower. Pansies are also flowers. This story practically writes itself isn’t it?
Continuing the saga of unusual styles, we embarked on another journey through Belgian history. We all know Dubbel, Tripel or Quadrupel, the famous beers produced by monks in monasteries.
Without dwelling too much on a monk’s daily life, we are sure beer played an important role in it, but chugging a couple of Quadrupels at lunch might be a little harsh. Perhaps for this reason, these beers are kept for celebrations and special moments. This is how Patersbier (yes, father’s beer) was born, also known as Enkel (Single, in Dutch). On this topic, you can check more on Stan Hieronymus, Brew Like a Monk.
To escape temptation, monks produced lighter beers, which rarely leave the monasteries. These beers are part of the monk’s daily lives, with simpler brewing processes when compared to their sister beers.
A simple malt base, often a 50/50 split between Pilsner and Pale malts, the style stands out with a little bitterness and the yeast character, that highlights these beers. However, in Belgium, where there is no obsession with strict adherence to beer styles, Patersbiers change a lot.
Of the 14 monasteries certified by the International Trappist Association, most have a beer that fits the characteristics of a Patersbier, which with the growing interest, have been bottled in special editions. One of them, Petit Orval, is more than enough reason for a visit to the restaurant supporting the monastery.
In addition to beer producers, monks have a very strong connection to nature, having renounced to meat on their diet, and exploring other industries, such as cheese and bread, products also found in some monasteries and their restaurants.
Leading a life in isolation, in which the proceeds from sales contribute exclusively to the maintenance of the monastery, these monks are a very self-sufficient community. At Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval, which needs no introduction, we can visit a part of the monastery, where we find several gardens with a varied flora.
Drawing inspiration from a monk’s life, we tried to respect his origins and create a beer that made them proud, light, bitter, slightly fruity and with a soul and a sense of place.
Pale malt base, complemented by a little raw wheat, inspired by the monasteries that produce bread. As an homage to Orval, an eternal classic, the chosen hop was Styrian Golding.
The Belgian school is known for multi-step mashing, so we started at 63ºC, gradually increasing to 72ºC over 60 minutes. Thus we guarantee a very fermentable wort, improving attenuation.
Respecting the Belgian tradition, some source of sugar would have to be added to this beer. Not being a big fan of candy sugars, honey easily emerges as an alternative to explore. It will be added at the end of the alcoholic fermentation, to preserve its characteristics to the maximum.
The normal choice of yeast would be a liquid alternative like Trappist High Gravity (or, who knows, a WLP515?). However, combining need and opportunity, we took a chance and tried new yeasts, so we went with a strain of Mangrove Jack’s, Belgian Abbaye M47.
Yeast inoculated at 18ºC, for 48h, to control the production of higher alcohols and avoid the aroma of chewing gum, something common with these yeasts. After this period, with the honey already added, the yeast could finish its work without hindrance.
In the packaging phase, in the keg, this beer will slowly condition with yeasts Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, a culture propagated from a bottle of an American reference in the production of Belgian styles, Anchorage Brewing Co… You can read about this brewery here.
Almost everything is explained, except the most important question: why pansies? Nobody knows, but it seemed like a good idea to try to add some subtlety to simplicity. Soon we will see if it was indeed a good idea.
Patersbier with Honey and Pansies
Total cereal: 5 kg.
Original Gravity: 1.050
Efficiency: 70 %
Boil time: 90 minutos
90% – 4.5 kgs. pale malt
10% – 0.5 kgs. raw wheat
60 gr. Styrian Goldings (pellet, 2.70% AA) @ 60 min.
60 gr. Styrian Goldings (pellet, 2.70% AA) @ 5 min.
Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min.
0.30 kg. orange blossom honey
Mangrove Jack’s M47 Belgian Abbey Yeast
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.66
Saccharification at 63ºC rise to 72ºC for 60 min.
Mash-out at 78ºC for 15 min.
For the addition of honey, a dilution in 500ml was made, heated to 81ºC, maintained for 15 min. to promote stability. After cooling, the solution was added to the fermenting wort, adding about 5 density points.
Kegging – 22/03
Final Gravity: 1.015
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