Le Coq de Terre Abbey Ale

Midlevel Belgian spice with a woodsy Simcoe finish!
  • Grain bill:  Belgian Pilsner & Biscuit Malts, Torrified Wheat
  • Hops:  Saaz, Hallertau Mittelfruh
  • Yeast:  Wyeast Belgian Strong Ale 1388
  • Secret Ingredients:  Bitter orange peel, coriander seed, Oast House Simcoe oil

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Origin Story:

As I’ve noted before, beer is culture—it’s not a hodgepodge of styles, but a collection of systems and practices.  Take the Belgian styles.  Among the different varieties there’s a very simple Trappist ladder.  The Enkel or “single” is a golden beer at about 5-6% ABV.  The dark Dubbel is a bit stronger at 6-8%.  The 8-10% Trippel flips back to golden and the 10-12% Quadrupel back to dark.

The HLH lineup has included the Nuclear Yeti Belgian Dubbel.  the Nonfungible Trippel.  and the Duke of Prunes Dark Ale (technically a Quad).  But I was missing the first rung on this ladder of Belgians:  the Enkel—or, since I can’t really call myself a Trappist Monk, the humble Abbey Ale. 

With the homebrew club was sponsoring a Belgian Brew competition, it seemed time to rectify this and have a new beer to enter into competition.  But just to change things up a little I thought I’d experiment with some more hops concentrate in the finish (see the entry for 10538 Golden IPA)—this time, Simcoe, to add some pine on top of the other flavors.  We flirt with danger here at HLH Yeastworks!

But such is the character of those of us born under the sign of the Earth Rooster

  • Qualities: Enthusiastic, fearless and precise;
  • Challenges: Impulsive, vain and pessimistic;
  • Secret need: They need to have everyone agree with them;
  • Advice: They should focus their attention on tangible objectives.

And in the competition two truths were revealed:  beer judges are nothing if not a conservative lot, and adding all this additional hop flavor wasn’t really to style.  I was told there was no question that the beer was well-made, but an Abbey Ale shouldn’t have so damn many hops.  No Belgian wins for your humble brewer in this particular competition. 

I will fluff my gorgeous feathers and drink my own delicious beer regardless of how you want to categorize it.

Considering how an Earth Rooster would be put to work outside a Trappist monestary suggested the label image, brought to life as a medieval engraving by amaya_maria.  Who needs an ox when you’ve got a bird?

Music Pairing:

In the pre-internet 90s, Stereolab presented as an enigma.  The vintage Farfisa organs and the anti-capitalist French lyrics.  Retro-modern album art decked out in garish colors.  Krautrock grooves anchored by one, maybe two chords TOPS.  Song titles like “Les Yper-Sound”, “Nihilist Assault Group”, “The Sound of Carpet”.  Buying a Stereolab record felt walking down ten steps from the sidewalk to catch a Nouvelle Vague film in a tiny Greenwich Village cinema.

But was all a bit. Head ‘lab Tim Gane has openly copped to this semiotic exercise—enticing record collector scum like yours truly with an exotic potpourri of half-remembered futures from the past.  That said:  even if all the parts are used, when you put them together in the right way they become something singular.

I’ve seen Stereolab play live twice now and they’re not mysterious anymore:  they just cook.  And every once in a while they shake all those spare parts into a stone-cold bop like “Flourescences”.

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