Are You Really Putting That In Your Beer?

It started off innocently enough. I have a tremendous 8-month old Belgian Golden Tripel that I am rationing, hoping to still have some left when it’s two years old or more. But I like Belgian Golden ales well enough that I decided to brew another one, this one not as strong but just as flavorful. As I pictured how it might taste, an evil thought crept into my mind: What if you added… No, my mind said, you can’t. That would ruin it. The evil thought insisted: But just imagine… No! Make it straight, you know you’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t come out…

So I went back to my original plan, I wasn’t going to add anything. Or was I? I decided to leave it to fate. If at the last minute, as I was brewing, the evil thought came back to me, I would see what I could do…

Long story short, I did it. I put a couple of secret ingredients into the boil as “aroma hops”… I will not divulge the exact nature of what I added until I am sure I like it (a couple months down the road…), and maybe I will not even notice them, maybe I didn’t add enough… maybe I will decide to add more as “dry hops” in the secondary… but at least I’ll know, and I will have tried something different.

Basilique, Belgian Golden Ale with herbs

5 gallons, all-grain


  • 8 lbs. Belgian pale malt
  • 1 lb. cara-Belge malt
  • 1 lb. malted wheat
  • 1 oz. Perle hop pellets (6% aa)
  • 1 oz. Saaz hop pellets (4% aa)
  • small pinch each of 2 secret ingredients…
  • White Labs Belgian Golden Ale yeast (WLP570)
  • 2/3 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure: Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 162°F. Mash in grains, hold at 152°F for 75 minutes. Heat another 14 quarts water to 170°F, begin runoff and sparge. Collect 26 quarts sweet wort. Bring to a boil, add Perle hops, boil 30 minutes. Add Saaz hops, boil another 28 minutes. Add small pinch of first secret ingredient, boil 2 more minutes (60 total). Remove from heat, add small pinch of second secret ingredient. Steep 5 minutes then chill to 80°F. Take a hydrometer reading, pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 8 to 10 days warm (65 – 68°F). Rack to secondary, age two to three weeks cool (50 – 55°F). Prime with corn sugar and bottle, condition cool for four to six weeks.

OG: 1055

IBU’s: 35.1

Secret Ingredients: don’t worry, nothing illegal going on here. Common kitchen herbs, I am just reluctant to share the recipe until I have tasted it! Even a Guru gets to have some secrets… I will let you all know what I used when I know if it worked or not – stay tuned!

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