Rochefort 8 Clone

Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 15:57:06 +0100
From: "Herman Holtrop"
Subject: Rochefort 8 Cloning contest

Rochefort 8 Cloning contest

Hi you all! Last year Jan Willem van Groenigen posted a message asking for
directions for cloning Rochefort 8 (HBD #3910). Since this didnt result
in a satisfactory answer, the users of the Dutch Hobbybrewing forum
( put together a joint
effort for designing a clone recipe for Rochefort 8. A lot of research went
into it from all participating brewers and some of our own experiences were
taken into account. After putting together the recipe, we organized a
contest as to who could brew up the best clone. As the proud winner of this
contest I would like to share with you the results of this competition.
We noticed that there is still not much known about Rochefort, so we hope
youll find this interesting.

The objective was for all brewers to brew the same recipe in the same
manner. However, all brewers had slightly different ingredients from
different suppliers. After brewing and some 4 months of maturation, the
beers were judged together with the original Rochefort. This event took
place on February 15 at De Maasland brewery in Oss, the Netherlands. A total
of 15 people from all over the Netherlands and Belgium came together to meet
for the first time in real, a very cool experience on its own.

On tasting day 10 beers were brought in, plus the original, totalling 11.
The judging panel consisted of all brewers, one of whom was a
certified beer judge (BKMG, which is comparable to BJCP) completed with one
neutral certified judge. In between the tasting, we received a tour of the
brewery from brewmaster Frans. he also took care of serving us with all
kinds of good food, very necessary when tasting such strong beers.

With the exception of one soured sample (which nevertheless was quite
tasty), all beers came quite close to the original, although all were a bit
too dark. When we started this whole cloning contest, Rochefort beers with
the original Special B were still available at shops. However, the beer we
used at the tasting was of more recent date, using the new Special B from
maltster Dingemans. Some clones were made with the original DWC Special "B"
(including the winner), others with the replacing Dingemans version.There is
a surely a different taste to it now.

The winning beer was made exactly following the recipe below. Fermentation
temperature was 21-23C. No water treatment, my water is 10D. For more info
about water treatment regarding the Rochefort area, i refer to HBD #4116 &
HBD #4115 (article by Jacques Bertens & Jan Willem van Groenigen).

For 10 liters, 1.080 OG, 32 IBU, 70 EBC :

% Amount Malt
70.4 2375 grams Pilsnermalt (Belgian)
11.1 375 grams Caramunich 120 EBC
1.5 50 grams Carafa special dehusked 800 EBC
3.7 125 grams Special "B"
3.7 125 grams Flaked Corn
9.6 325 grams Dark Candysugar

Hops (flowers) & Spices
Styrian Goldings 23 grams 4.2% 75 minutes
Hallertau Hersbrucker 10 grams 3.5% 30 minutes
Hallertau Hersbrucker 5 grams 3.5% 5 minutes
Coreanderseed crushed 5 grams 5 minutes

Yeast: Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II or recultered from a bottle of
Rochefort. The winning recipe used the Wyeast.

Mashing: 3 liters per kg malt. Flaked corn boiled separately before adding
to the mash.

60-62C 30 minutes
68C 60 minutes
75C 5 minutes

Sparging with water at 78C

A promash recipe file is available at the following location: ,
which will make life easier for all you non-metric brewers. At this
location you will also find some extra info (references etc.) together with
a copy of this post.

Below, I listed some findings based upon variations in the recipes. Of
course, this wasnt set up in a randomized, replicated fashion, but I think
it might be of interest nonetheless:

1) The use of chocolate malt instead of the dehusked Carafa resulted in
a bit of a licorice taste or even a bit of a burned taste.
2) If you cant get Carafa Dehusked, look for a debittered/dehusked
dark chocolate/Black malt. It can also be had from Weyermann
3) The use of the original yeast instead of the Wyeast didnt change
much in the tasting profile. Which makes sense, because theyre said to
be similar.
4) The second placed beer (Theo Verschoor) was fermented at 28C,
which resulted in a very strong banana and fruit aroma!
5) The third placed beer (Edwin Hoogedoorn) tasted very close to the second,
had a less pronounced aroma, because of a lower temperature fermentation.
6) To get a color more resembling the original, it is suggested to
slightly bring down the amount of Carafa.
7) Some beers had problems during bottle-conditioning. When bottling
make sure to do it in time or to add a healthy yeast.
8) Samples with added (non-Rochefort) yeast for conditioning did not
seem to result in a different taste.

All in all a very cool experience, which is to be repeated by a joint Orval
cloning contest. A recipe of which has already been agreed upon. :-)

Take care,
Herman Holtrop

Rochefort 8 Clone