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Nouvelle is my take on a Belgian Blonde inspired by the legendary Duvel and brewed with yeast cultured up from a bottle of Duvel. So much of this brew's character is delivered by the yeast that I would humbly suggest that the yeast should not be substituted for another. (Editors note: see Nouvelle No.2 for a more recent opinion)


I've put the dregs of a bottle into a first stage 200ml starter of 1.020 wort and got it on the stir plate in the brewfridge at 20C. Hopefully I'll get results in a couple of days.

This yeast looks like an aggressive one. The 200ml 1.020 starter has got itself a nice little krausen. Never seen that happen before at stage 1.

I stopped the 500ml/1.040 step-up last night and left it to cool overnight. By this morning it looked like I had about the same amount of yeast on the bottom as you'd get from a pack of White Labs/Wyeast and it hadn't fully flocculated yet. I've put a final 1000ml/1.040 step-up into the fridge without decanting and will be pitching that into my inspired-by-Duvel recipe in a few days when GEB deliver the pilsner malt I need.

I'm going to have to go and lay down some cling film over the stir plate in case I get spillage overnight. Next time I'll set up a blowoff tube on the flask.

Standing the stir plate in a frying pan and covering the top of the plate with cling film was a good idea it seems. This is what I woke up to this morning.

I'm not planning to attempt any kind of cleanup as the risk of infection is just too high. Instead I'll just pitch into the brew by pouring from the clean side of the flask.

Brew day

Note that this is a small 13 litre batch designed to fit in a mini-keg.

Date: 1 Jan 2019
Style: Belgian Blond Ale
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Water: Tesco Ashbeck
Mash water profile: Ca:41, Mg:4, Na:10, SO4:44, Cl:43
Mash pH: 5.30
Batch Size (fermenter): 13.00 L 
Bottling Volume: 11.50 L
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated Color: 6.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 76.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt              Name                                             Type          %/IBU         Volume     
2.37 kg          IREKS Pilsner Malt (3.5 EBC)                     Grain         75.0 %        1.54 L     
0.32 kg          Wheat, Torrified (3.3 EBC)                       Grain         10.0 %        0.21 L     
0.47 kg          Brewing Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil 10 mins]          Sugar         15.0 %        -     
40.00 g          Styrian Goldings [2.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min        Hop           18.7 IBUs     -           
20.00 g          Saaz [4.70 %] - Boil 15.0 min                    Hop           8.7 IBUs      -           
1.00 Items       Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 7.0 mins)                 Fining        -             -           
1.0 pkg          Duvel Bottle Culture (Duvel Moortgat)            Yeast         -             -           

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 3.16 kg
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time   
Mash In           Add 13.02 L of water at 68.4 C          65.0 C        60 min     

Sparge: Dunk sparge with 5.00 L water at 75.6 C

The target OG of 1.060 was hit on the nose.


I kegged my Duvel-ish blonde today. FG was 1.004 from 1.060 giving me a total of 7.4% ABV and an apparent attenuation of 93%. I guess it must be the 15% dextrose in the recipe that gives the yeast a kick up the backside because it was chugging away solidly for a good 15 days. I thought it was never going to stop!

The sample jar tasted great; as good as a warm, flat, unconditioned ale can taste. Definite phenols and cloves there and squarely 'Belgian' in character. Flocculation was low - no solid yeast cake in the fermenter, just a yeasty mush at the bottom.

Tasting notes

The flavour is unmistakeably and squarely Belgian. Phenols, cloves, spices all contribute to the overall flavour profile. The body is light and the mouthfeel and aftertaste is malty and dangerously quaffable. There is no hint of alcohol burn at all.

I did a taste test against a bottle of Duvel. First a glass of mine, then Duvel, then mine again. Same temperature. Mine is more malty and has a fuller mouthfeel. Duvel is more bitter and feels thinner (more sugar in the recipe?). Overall 'character' is identical (no surprise). Duvel finishes with quite strong Saaz notes. I don't really get much Saaz from mine. Duvel was more highly carbonated (the bottle is nucleated). I've turned up the gas on my keg to improve this. Duvel is 8.5%, mine is 7.4%. My wife preferred mine. I would take either on its merits. This is very good beer.