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Blackhawk Black Ale

Brewed: 12/02/2012   Bottled: 12/16/2012

blackhawk.jpgNew Belgium Brewery makes a great beer called 1554 Enlightened Black Ale, and I had seen quite a few posts of people who were going to make a clone of the beer.  This idea appealed to me and I decided to make my own black ale.  I already had my Phat & Tyred Ale recipe, which has started out as a Fat Tire clone, and I decided that instead of copying one of the existing recipes I would use the same grain bill and yeast, but simply darken it up with chocolate and black patent malt.  For hops, I decided to use columbus because I had used it a few times and really enjoyed the aroma.  The resulting beer turned out just fantastic.  There is something about 1554 that is not quite there in my beer, but I still considered Blackhawk Black one of my best.

Batch #2 was slightly different.  I cut down on the chocolate malt and instead of 4 oz Crystal 75, I used 6 oz Crystal 120.  This should give the beer a little more fruity raisin taste which may bring it closer to the 1554.  I also replaced my flavor hop of columbus with saaz to give the hop flavor a less citrusy character.  The bittering still comes mostly from columbus.

Batch #3 was an all-grain recipe.  Because of the fact that my all-grain batches have been so much lighter in color, I decided to add more dark malts to make sure it was back to a black.  I also went back to using columbus in the hop flavor. It turned out wonderful and helped the Hawk's win the 2013 Stanley Cup.

If you would like to read more about BlackHawk Black on my blog, you can follow the BlackHawk Black label.

BlackHawk Black Ale --- Batch 3

Belgian Specialty Ale
Batch Size
5.50 gal
All Grain
Boil Size
7.76 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency
Boil Time
90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.061 SG
Estimated FG
1.017 SG
Recipe Bitterness
29.9 IBUs (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
5.8 %

Recipe Color
32.9 SRM

Measured OG:

Measured FG:

Measured ABV:


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
9 lbs 4.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 74.4 %
14.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 2 7.0 %
14.0 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.0 %
10.0 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.0 %
8.0 oz Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 5 4.0 %
5.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.5 %
0.250 oz Columbus [17.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 16.6 IBUs
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 8 -
0.750 oz Columbus [17.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 9 13.3 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 10 -
4.00 oz Raisons (Boil 5.0 mins) Spice 11 -
3.00 g Seeds of Paradise (Boil 5.0 mins) Spice 12 -
1.0 pkg Thames Valley Ale (Wyeast Labs #1275) [124.21 ml] Yeast 13 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 15.55 qt of water at 170.5 F 158.0 F 45 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.48gal, 3.88gal) of 168.0 F water
Recipe Notes

I call this a Belgium Specialty Ale since it started out in the honor of 1554, but not sure that is what it is.
Seeds of paradise get added into the fermentor. Crush seeds and soak in vodka to sanitize.
Ferment 1 week ~65F followed by 1 week ~72F

Brewing Record

Brew Date:

Strike Temp:
Mash Temps:

Pre-boil OG
1.046 (1.049 SG)
Pre-boil Vol
7.8 (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency

Pitch Temp

Day 1: Got going early 62
Day 2: 66
Day ...

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
11/28/2012 esheppy
Bought ingredients. Went with WY1275 rather than 1272. Used Midnight Wheat instead of Black Patent. Remembered to buy a floating thermometer.
12/02/2012 Brew Day esheppy
Brewed this beer. Mash through church. Nice tasting wort. Soaked paradise seeds in vodka and put them in with the yeast. Also added in some clarity ferm. Pitched around 64.
12/03/2012 esheppy
Very active in the morning. In fact, air lock was already full of kraussen. Had to put in blow-off tube.
12/04/2012 esheppy
More reasonable activity this morning. Temperature at 66ish.
12/05/2012 esheppy
Calmed down considerably. Have the airlock back in. There is still movement. Bubbles only once every few seconds. Tmeperature at 66.
12/08/2012 esheppy
Put into secondary with half a pound of raisins. I soaked the raisins in star san and added to a grain bag. The gravity of the beer is at 1.020, which is certainly full bodied. That is actually what I was going for with the high mash temp. Will let it stay on secondary for a week or two and then see what is what.
12/08/2012 esheppy
So, right now, the beer is at 5% ABV.
12/15/2012 esheppy
Took a sample and got 1.014 which puts the beer at 5.8 ABV. I'm a bit surprised at the extra attenuation since it went into secondary, but it is actually probably better here. Will probably keg and bottle tomorrow.
12/16/2012 esheppy
Kegged and bottled. Got 5 bombers. 1 liter. 12 12 oz bottles. Sample tasted great.
12/20/2012 esheppy
Printed labels and put them on the bottles.
12/30/2012 tracyshep
According to the calendar, the carbonation period is over today. Need to put some bottles in the fridge.
01/01/2013 esheppy
Put the keg in the garage to chill it down a bit. Don't think the 42 SMaSH will last too much longer, so BHB will be on tap soon.
01/04/2013 esheppy
Had one of the 12oz bottles tonight. Wonderful. I was going to check into untappd, but discovered that I've never put it in.
01/06/2013 esheppy
The lockout is over! Obviously I should get most of the credit for brewing this beer. It goes on tap today.
01/09/2013 esheppy
Well, despite what the last comment said, I put the keg on tap this morning instead. I defrosted the keggerator last night, so the beer should stay cold for awhile.
01/17/2013 esheppy
I have had a few and will probably drink quite a bit now that the season is starting. I do think next time I brew this, I will make a bigger effort to use WY1272. I think the Thames yeast is fine, but seems to accentuate the roast more. The nutty smoother flavor I remember of this beer in more in-line with the spirit of this beer and think WY1272 is the way to go.
01/24/2013 esheppy
Bottled some up with the beer gun from the keg. Entering this as a robust porter into a local home-brew competition. Don't really have high hopes but we'll see. I really need some sort of quick-connect for the gas on the beer gun.
04/20/2013 tracyshep
Leo had some:
04/30/2013 esheppy
Drinking a bomber while watching the mighty Blackhawks play the evil Wild. I had forgotten a little how great this beer is. Absolutely wonderful.
10/20/2013 esheppy
This batch still tastes great. Need to do another one sometime soon.
01/05/2014 esheppy
Found 1 in the beer fridge. Still tastes yummy. Think this is the last one. Need to be this again soon.
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