Taniwha Strong Golden Ale

taniwha-fullI’ve been brewing this beer off and on over the years trying to get it right. My mate is from Holland and was brought up on this beer, so it was something we tried to brew right from the earliest days of malt extract and tiny pots on the stove-top. Most of our efforts were pretty dire with fusel alcohols – a kind of petrol meets nail polish flavour. Recently I have mastered temperature control, yeast starters and simple grain bills. The time is right to make another Taniwha.

Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.050 SG
Original Gravity: 1.074 SG (sugar is added late in the boil)
Final Gravity: 1.006 SG
ABV: 9.1 %
Colour: 9 EBC
BU:GU Ratio: 0.42

Mash water: 20.5L
Sparge water: 12.5L

Grain (6.3kg):
Pilsner Malt 6.000 kg (77%)
Gladfield Aurora Malt 300g (4%) – This is Gladfield’s version of aromatic malt
White sugar 1.5kg (19%) – Add this in with 15mins remaining on the boil

18g Pacific Jade 13% (30 IBU) @ 60min
Saaz 15g @ 5mins

Mash at 65°C for 60 mins (you want LOTS of fermentable sugar)

Fermentation is everything for Belgian beers! You have to use the correct yeast and get the fermentation temperature right, so temperature control is essential. Use a big starter of WLP570-Belgian Golden Ale yeast – I used a batch of wheat beer and just ran the cool wort into the recently vacated primary fermenter. No cleaning, no trub removal.

Start fermentation at 18°C and hold for a day or two. You want to avoid fusel alcohol flavours and too much heat early on leads to rocket fuel. After a day or two let the temperature rise and then heat it slowly to bring it up to 28°C. This dries the beer out so that it’s not too sweet – check out the very low final gravity! I use my upgraded STC-1000 to slowly ramp the temperature up over 8 days, but you can do it yourself by moving the temp up a degree or two each day until you get there.

This recipe yields a proper Belgian tasting beer. and it’s very similar in style to Duvel. The body is light, you can taste the hops and the wonderful flavours from the yeast. It has a real bite with the 9% alcohol, so best consumed in small amounts.

I based this recipe on the one from Jamil Zainasheff’s excellent book Brewing Classic Styles.

5 Responses to “Taniwha Strong Golden Ale”

  1. Ralph Wesseling

    Hi, I am really excited to find these recipes of yours. I have been wanting make a duvel for ages, as a Dutchman I have been wanting to brew beer that I cannot cheapily buy in NZ. The Taniwha is currently fermenting. Excellent website – thanks for sharing

    • Karl

      I’m stoked that another Dutchie is brewing Taniwha! I hope it turns out. It’s one of my all-time favourite brews.

  2. Ralph

    Here is my After Action report. The brew turned out very very good. After two weeks in bottles we tried a side-by-side tasting test with a real Duvel. Overall the Taniwha stacked up really well, in fact preferred by my wife over the Duvel. The main differences that I could find were that the Duvel had more lingering flavour on the tongue and a much more pronounced aroma. Finally, I had a lot of haze or cloudiness still in my Taniwha even though I had used Irish Moss and Gelatine. Suffice to say it is a real winner and I will be making it again.


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