Hard Monk Life
Lake Stevens Brewing, Lake Stevens
Style: Belgian dark strong ale
Stats: 7.7 percent ABV, 25 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery.
My thoughts: Everybody loves candy for Valentine’s Day.
But what about candi?
Candi sugar is a Belgian sugar commonly used in brewing Belgian-style beers like dubbels and tripels. Lake Stevens Brewing brewers Brock Duerr and Jason Parzyk used extra dark Belgian candi sugar to create this beer just in time for Valentine’s Day.
To give it a fruity and floral feel, they soaked dry juniper in vodka and then dumped it in secondary fermentation. The juniper gives the beer a slight nose of gin and a flavor of berries on the back end.
Up front, though, the beer, thanks to those candi sugars, has that classic rich malty sweetness that Belgian dark strong ales are known for. The dark malty flavors and low bitterness give the juniper an open stage to show off.
Duerr said the two made a similar beer with blueberries last spring, and a similar version to this one that turned out a little tart. After lessons learned, this beer was a natural evolution and really showcases the deeper flavor and subtle sweetness from the candi sugars. The key, Duerr said, was turning the temperature up on the mash.
Hard Monk Life will be pouring this Saturday as the brewery hosts a Beer My Valentine event. There will be free chocolates and candies to match with different beers, including a porter, winter warmer and schwarzbier.
From the brewery: Brewed with an extra dark Belgian candi sugar and macerated juniper berries, this beer pays monastic homage with a Northwest flair.
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