11lbs 10.5 oz Weyermann Barke Pilsner
8.7 oz Castle Château Melano (30.6 L)
10.8 oz Candi Syrup D-90 (add to boil)
10.8 oz Candi Syrup D-45 (add to boil)
Mash at 148°F until conversion is complete. Sparge per your usual method.
0.92oz Strisselspalt [3.00% AA] @ 60 minutes - 9.0 IBUs
0.87oz Styrian Goldings [5.25% AA] @ 20 minutes - 9.0 IBUs
Roast 2 lbs of de-stemmed fresh figs in a 250F oven until very soft, then increase the heat to 350F for 20 minutes. Remove figs, allow to cool slightly, then lightly pulverise in a blender. Using a hop bag, add this to the last 10 minutes of the boil. NOTE: Figs are a low-pectin fruit, and as such should not cause a haze. However, if this problem does arise, liquid pectinase enzyme can easily be added to the fermentor to mitigate the problem.
WY 3822-PC Belgian Dark Ale - Ferment at 66F for first 2-3 days, then allow to free rise until end of fermentation
Special Instructions / Notes:
The recipe is a loving homage to my cat, Figaro -- Fig for short, as she's a girl but was given a male name by my sister-in-law -- a tortoiseshell who my [now] fiancée adopted from a barnyard litter just after we started dating. Torties are said to have strong personalities, and Fig is the quintessence of this posit. She's incredibly smart and clever, assertive and sometimes downright bossy, and very interactive and talkative. She's also one of the most affectionate animals I've ever known, perfectly content to go from play-fighting one moment to curling up on my chest and giving me kisses on the nose the next. My fiancée frequently says that Fig seems more like a tiny person than a cat. I could go on and on (as a pet papa always can), but I think you get the idea. I've attached a picture of my girl for good measure!
Obviously, the question was, how do I put this character into a beer? First of all, tortoiseshell cats are defined by their reddish-orange and black coat, so it had to be some sort of darker beer. Then there's the feisty, assertive personality, which mandates some bold, strong flavors, maybe with a little bite, just like real life. But Fig is also a very sweet girl, and this presented a problem...I didn't want a thick, sweet beer, but rather something that implied sweetness without adding too much residual sugar. The solution I came up with seems stupidly obvious in retrospect: roasted caramelized figs. The catch, of course, is that fresh figs are only available during a limited season, but luckily, that season is now!
What follows is more or less a Belgian dubbel with figs. I honestly think that this could be great with either the Flanders Golden Ale or the Belgian Dark Ale yeast, but ultimately I went with the latter because I want a bit of acid in there (both to enhance the fruit notes, and to tease the "bitey" nature of my little girl), and the overall profile description sounds like a great match.