I finally got around to sampling the progress of my 10 gallon batch of Belgian Golden Strong last night. Here was the recipe:
25 lbs Castle Pils
5 lbs table sugar
5 oz Czech Saaz @ 90
The OG came in at 1.076 (low efficiency still) and around 30 IBUs, I'll have to check BeerSmith for the exact number. I split the batch between two fermenters and fermented both with Wyeast VSS strains from earlier in the year. I pitched WY3739 Flanders Golden Ale (rumored to be the Gulden Draak strain) in one and WY3864 Canadian/Belgian Ale (the Unibroue strain) in the other. I pitched big starters of both at 64, where it stayed for a day or so before active fermentation began, then I let the temp free rise over the next few days to the low 70s, then turned on the aquarium heaters and slowly ramped up until the heaters were maxed out at around 80. I kept them there for the next 2 weeks or so (about 3 weeks at high temps total), then turned the heaters off and let them rest for another week at cellar temp, which is around 63 right now.
The Flanders Golden finished at 1.002, making the ABV 9.6%. It tasted dry (duh), but the alcohol was very obvious. I tasted and smelled some of the fruity esters and a bit of spicy phenols, but because the sample was warm and uncarbonated, this tasted more like a white wine than a beer. The alcohol, although it's not hot fusel alcohols, is too much in the front, so I decided that this one is going to stay in secondary at cellar temps for a while to round out a bit.
The Unibroue finished at 1.005, making the ABV 9.3% The sample was delicious already. Pear and apple aroma and flavor, a little bitterness to back it up, a little bready malt, delicious. Alcohol is present, which I expect in a 9% beer, but the other stuff isn't overwhelmed. This is getting kegged up in the next couple of days. Hopefully I've got enough tubing and fittings laying around so that I can use my other regulator and carb this up higher than my other beers.
I'm also thinking about entering some comps in the next few months. I'm really happy with my APA and Smoked Brown and want to get some feedback on my beers now that I'm building my water, controlling fermentation, and have gone AG. I'm looking at these comps in particular:
Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival
Upper Mississippi Mash Out
Great Northern BrewHaha
Durango, CO Ska Brewing Pro/AM