Brewing Rochefort 10

Rochefort 10 is my favourite beer, it is all figgy and rummy, it is strong but it doesn’t burn. A sentence from a review I read has stuck with me; “it is a beer that cries out to be the last of the evening”. I have a small amount of it from last year’s visit to Belgium, it is around 1 year old. I decided to try to brew something similar. In another post I have enthused about Stan Hieronymous’ fantastic book “Brew Like a Monk”, and that is pretty much my sole authority for attempting to brew something like this beer. Here are the vital stats that Stan has managed to wrest from the monastic secrecy that shrouds St. Remy. The OG is 1.096.  The ABV is 11.3%, which means a whoping 89% attenuation, the FG must be something like 1.011. I know from Mr Malty that Wyeast Belgian Abbey II is at least based on Rochefort’s yeast, althought it is likely that Rochefort’s yeast is more complex. However Wyeast state that the attenuation is only 73-77%. We shall see, but that’s a serious difference in attenuation.

A Clone meets his Hero

As far as the rest goes, what we know from Stan is that the IBU is 27, the hops are Hallertau and Styrian Goldings, the malts are  Pilsener and Caramel, and there is white and dark sugar and also wheat starch as adjuncts. Furthermore the colour was 90 EBC. On the basis of these facts I constructed the following recipe

“Rochefortesque”  25L,

Grains: 6KG Pils, .5KG Crystal (120L), .6KG Special B, .6KG Flaked Wheat, .3KG Black Malt

Adjunct: .5KG Demerara Sugar, .5KG Soft Dark Sugar  (added to boil t-20mins)

1tsp coriander seed, 8 mins

Hops: 65G EKG (4.8%) 80 mins, 40G Hallertau Hersbrucker (3.2%) 10 mins

Wyeast Belgian Abbey II, 3L starter

Mash at 66c, 70 mins

Bottling some 70CL bottles for Keeping

I added the flaked wheat because Hieronymous said to use wheat starch, which I imagine is pretty much like flour. I had to use black malt to get the EBC up to 90. I would probably have used something like ‘Carafa’ in hindsight, which is debittered black malt I think. As it turns out I don’t think my version has acquired a harsh taste on this account.

Corking and Capping the Large Bottles

My OG was 1.093 (so close enough), and I fermented this at the ambient temperature of about 18C in my 80L plastic boxes, which have proved themselves to be attenuation machines in the past. After about 10 days(it was slow out of the blocks, my starter was a couple of weeks old at the time) the gravity had dropped to 1.021, which was about in line with Wyeast’s guide of 77% attenuation. I roused the yeast and placed the fermenter on a heat pad, raising the temperature to 23C (real Rochefort Does this too, as Hieronymous notes), and within a day the gravity fell to 1.015, which was close enough for me. That makes the beer 10.1% ABV rather than 11.3, but again, I just want to be in the same general region as these monkish genii.

My Haul

Tonight I bottled it, about 10 70cl champagne style bottles with corks and 29mm caps (as opposed to the normal 26mm caps), and the rest in small 33cl bottles. I will try to age the large bottles for several years. I took another gravity sample just to make sure (ahem), and it was still at 1.015. I opened a bottle of 1 year old Rochefort 10 to taste alongside, and I was quite happy, given that mine was only 2 weeks after inception, and the real thing was a year. My colour was spot on. I had the same rummy, figgy flavour. If anything, real Rochefort had more of a depth of flavour, more sugary body than mine. At the same time it was hard to tell with the difference in carbonation. What I can say is that there was not flavour in mine that was out of place, so I can only hope that it will develop a similar character to its idol over the coming months. If any of you are considering a Rochefort clone, this will at least get you in the  right area.



Filed under Beer, Recipe, Uncategorized

14 responses to “Brewing Rochefort 10

  1. Peter

    So you decided against making your own candy sugar? Maybe that has something to do with the sugary depths of the real thing? Let me know how you get on with this; I’m think about brewing something similar after I finish up with the barrell project.

    • stoutfellow

      Well there was no indication in Brew Like a Monk that candi was used- it just says white sugar, dark sugar. I think comparing my beer which was only 10 days since pitching to a 1 year old master on the battlefield of ‘depth of flavour’ was possibly unfair. I’ll throw you over a bottle in a couple of weeks and we’ll see how it’s getting on.

      • Peter

        If you look at page 167 of the fabled tome, Hero-nymus suggests that Rochefort uses a mixture of plain white sucrose/dextrose and cassonade brune which, although it translates to brown sugar, is actually more like what the Belgians (not the Americans!) call candy sugar.

        Also, on p. 163 the brewer responsible for Southampton Abbot 12 seems to agree that candy sugar plays a role. Which reminds me, there’s surely a gap in the market for a Canadian styled Trappist inspired beer: “Aboot 12”.

      • stoutfellow

        well what-ever

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  3. Sin Pierre

    A few month later…… what about the Graal ?
    Have you tasted it again ?
    Have you noticed a change, in flavour, sugar body ?
    What would you change today in your recipe or process?

    • stoutfellow

      Hi! thanks for asking, it’s aging nicely. Although it’s hard to tell, I think it may have become a little thinner. As to what I’d do differently, I would definitely use some more sugar. In fact, I’ve just written a new post about making your own caramelised sugar for using in Trappist style beers. It gives a nice flavour of slightly burnt rum, and it gives a great reddish brown colour.

      • Salvi

        Congrats-How are you making out how does it taste several months down the line if you have another post please let us know


      • stoutfellow

        Well I think it continued to improve the longer I kept it, it’s sadly almost all gone. I am going to try to make this beer again though, and I will try to cut down on the black malt flavour by using some Carafa, or maybe steeping the black grains in cold water to extract some colour without flavour. I will also try to up the rummy flavour by fermenting a little warmer, and adding some more brown sugar.

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  6. Jon

    I converted this to U.S. weights and scaled it to a U.S. gallon size batch. I ended up fermenting with Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity. Still haven’t done a side-by-side tasting, but it turned out quite well and has got a lot of good reviews from friends who have tried it. Just finished scaling it up to an 11 gallon batch because I’ve been hording what little is left from the small batch I did a year and a half ago. Many thanks for putting this recipe together!

    • stoutfellow

      Thanks! I was clearing out my shed and found a bottle of this batch last week. It has held up surprisingly well, so make sure to put some aside for years to come!

  7. Lanky Fellow

    Come on stout fellow, keep this blog alive. You can do it.

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