Award-winning homebrewer Paul Zocco (Zok) shared this bière de garde recipe modeled on a bière de garde from Castelain, one of the most celebrated breweries in French Flanders. Annick Castelain—the granddaughter of the brewery’s founder—has been pivotal in the movement to revive artisan brewing in France. This version of bière de garde is a bit higher in alcohol and somewhat sweeter, with a pleasant honey aroma and flavor. The appearance is deep golden. The yeast Zok has chosen shows some spicy notes, typical in this version. This malt-forward beer with a very subtle hops presence ages well.
This recipe is scaled to 5 gallons (19 liters) with a brewhouse efficiency around 80 percent. Zok recommends using soft, low-mineral water throughout the brewing process.
15 lb (6.8 kg) Pilsner malt
1 lb (454 g) Honey malt
1 lb (454 g) Crystal 10
HOPS & ADDITIONS SCHEDULE
1 oz (28 g) Northern Brewer pellets [6.9% AAU] at 60 minutes
1 lb (454 g) Clear Candi Sugar (added the last 15 minutes of the boil)
Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes or White Labs WLP510 Belgian Bastogne
Mash the crushed grains at 152°F (67°C) for 60 minutes. I use the rate of 1 pound (454 g) of crushed grain per quart (946 ml) of water that is heated to 15°F (8°C) higher than my targeted mash temperature because there will be about a 15°F (8°C) drop in temperature when the grains are added. Mix well and adjust the mash temperature with hot or cold water. Mash in an insulated vessel for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until the wort runs clear. Sparge with 168°F (76°C) water until you get 6 gallons (22.7 l), which will be boiled down to 5 gallons (19 l). Boil the wort for 60 minutes following the hops & additions schedule. After chilling the wort to below 80°F (27°C), pitch the yeast.
Ferment at the recommended temperature for your yeast strain (refer to the yeast lab specs, roughly 65–70°F/18–21°C). Transfer the beer to a secondary fermentor after 10 days of primary fermentation. Continue fermenting at 65–70°F (18–21°C) until all signs of fermentation are gone, usually another 2 weeks. On bottling day, condition with ¾ cup of corn sugar (dextrose) or 1¼ cup of dry malt extract (DME). Rest bottles at 65–70°F (18–21°C) for 10 days until you achieve carbonation. Then enjoy.
Partial-mash brewers can calculate the amount of dry or liquid malt extract (DME or LME) to use in place of the base grain. Though DME is a bit more malt rich, use the same calculation. To get the amount of DME or LME to use, multiply the base grain amount by 0.75. Your OG will be basically equivalent. For a partial-mash brew, mash the honey and crystal malts using the method described in “Directions” and simply sparge the runnings into the kettle along with the DME or LME.
You may want to experiment with various yeast strains. Each has its own characteristic flavors.