(Oostvleteren, BELGIUM) – A preview of what a limited number of drinkers in the U.S. will get to try later this year.
Here is Portsmouth Brewery Brewmaster, Tod Mott, on his recent trip to Belgium.
Looks like a lot has “gone down” in the 7 days I was away visiting the Struise brewers in West Flanders, Belgium. I had the unique opportunity to brew with one of the best brewers in Belgium, Urbain Coutteau of the Struise Brouwers. The brewery they use, Deca, pre-dates World War 1 and yet these guys finesse some of the most sought after beers in the world. Pannepot is perhaps the most well know but they produce many styles including Black Albert, a Belgian Royal Stout at 13% abv!!
I brought my Kate the Great recipe over and with a little tweaking we brewed a batch of KtG at Deca. The brewery has a mash tun made of cast iron, copper and stainless with an antique rake/mixing system equipment (to say the least). I have some video which I will try to edit and post this week so you can see what the Struise brewers are dealing with. Back to the brew with Kate…. the extract came out of the mash tun well and the boil, also, went well. We had to substitute some European hops for American varieties as Urbain does not use many American hops, so Kate is going to be a little different than what we make here. We used a “Chico” style yeast as well as some “Fullers” style yeast. Soon Urbain will pitch some of the Struise house strain to give KtG a bit of Belgium character. Kate was quite lonely sitting in Fermentation vat #1 all alone so Urbain was kind enough to brew a batch of Albert the following day to keep Kate company in Fermentation vat#2. Who knows what might happen next!!? Kabert perhaps? We’ll have to wait a few months to see the outcome of maturation.
Struise said on Facebook, “Have patience until next September. This beer will be imported officially in the USA, also present on the web-shop, shop and different Belgian distributors. We’ll keep you informed.”
As for Outblack, the collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal, will be available March 3rd in Belgium but Stillwater’s Brian Strumke said that this beer and Jaded won’t be imported through Twelve Percent Imports until this summer. Both should be featured at American Craft Beer Fest.