Lactarius Rubidus Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale

Candy Cap Quad 01Lactarius Rubidus is the mushroom commonly known as the Candy Cap.  I first encountered these curiosities in November 2014 when I attended a lecture and tasting event hosted by Slow Food Seattle featuring two Seattle authors, Becky Selengut (also a chef) and Langdon Cook.  The Candy Caps were both prepared as a drinking tonic, and dried so attendees could indulge in their intense bouquet — unmistakable, pungent maple syrup.  That’s correct, these mushrooms smell exactly like maple syrup (with a faint earthiness in the background).

SolaceAs soon as I smelled them I began thinking about how they could be used in the brewing process and I soon told Gregory about them.  Gregory was able to find some dried mushrooms for purchase and we began devising a recipe that could incorporate them in a similar fashion to the previous Chanterelle beer we brewed.

After some inventive discussion, we decided that we wanted to rehydrate the mushrooms in red wine first and then add them to a Belgian style strong dark ale.  We brewed the base beer to BJCP style guidelines and used a freshly opened bottle of Solace (the Finger Lakes region’s Inspire Moore Winery’s 2009 dessert wine) to restore the fungi.  The results are an intense and tasty sipper of a dessert beer; the recipe, process, and tasting notes are below:

Lactarius Rubidus Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.00
Anticipated OG: 1.098
Anticipated SRM: 21.0
Anticipated IBU: 23
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


61.90% — 13.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
19.05% — 4.00 Lbs. Munich (BE)
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. American White Wheat
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Aromatic Barley Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. CaraMunich (BE)
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Special B (BE)


0.70 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 14.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.60 oz. Styrian Golding (Pellet, 5.4% AA) @ 2 min.


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
27g Red wine rehydrated Candy Cap mushrooms @ 32 days


Wyeast 1762 — Belgian Abbey II

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride

Mash Schedule

Saccharification rest – 80 min @ 152F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F


01.17.16 — Made a large starter of Belgian Abbey II

Brewed on 01.20.16 with Gregory

01.20.16 — Chilled wort to 68F, pitched the yeast and put onto brewbelt

01.21.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity after 18 hours of pitching yeast

01.25.16 — Removed brewbelt

02.03.16 — Transferred to secondary after two week primary

02.17.16 — Split the batch and bottled two gallons for 2.5 volumes CO2; added 27g candy cap mushrooms to one cup of dessert port wine and one cup water, added rehydrated mushrooms & one cup juices to remaining 3 gallons of beer after 2 hour rehydration period.

03.21.16 — Took FG of mushroom portion (1.010) and kegged the remaining 3 gallons of beer.

Candy Cap Quad 02Tasting Notes — 05.01.16 (poured off tap) 

Russet brown-red with great clarity and a moderate white head stand.  Nose is dominated by notes of maple syrup backed with rich Munich malt signifiers — toasted bread and caramel.  Light dark fruit esters akin to fig and rose pedal-like alcohol notes.  Some faint berry and spice from the dessert wine evident.  Big, lush body with flavors following the nose.  Getting a hint of cola.  Very smooth finish leaning on the malty side but with enough alcohol to balance.

Calculated OG: 1.098
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 11.55%


Randy Mosher’s Chanterelle Beer Via Denny Conn

ChanterellesNothing says fall in the Pacific Northwest like the chanterelle mushroom.  Easily identifiable and among the most popular of the edible mushrooms, the golden chanterelle is prized by amateurs and restauranteurs alike for its fruity, earthy, sometimes spicy fragrance and flavor.  Some of my friends enjoy foraging for these fungi in and around Seattle and Eric The Barter offered to trade me and Gregory some in exchange for a home-brewed beer that would incorporate the chanties.

Belgian Pale Base

We did some research and decided that we’d brew a clone of Randy Mosher’s Nirvana Chanterelle Ale (found in his book Radical Brewing) but made some adjustments to the basic recipe.  We also researched different methods of adding the mushrooms to the beer and chose to follow Denny Conn’s advice in chopping up the chanties, vacuum sealing them, and freezing them until primary fermentation is complete. We will then transfer the beer into a secondary fermentor and add the thawed mushrooms, conditioning for about two months before bottling.  We brewed the base beer on Wednesday 11.05.14 and will give it a two week primary fermentation on the brewbelt.  Our revamped recipe is as follows:

Chanterelle Belgian Strong Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 15
Anticipated OG: 1.065
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 22.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


63% – 9.5 Lbs. Belgian 2-Row Pilsner
13% – 2 Lbs. American 2-Row Pale
10% – 1.5 Lbs. Munich 6°
10% – 1.5 Lbs. White Wheat
3% – 0.5 Lbs. American Aromatic


0.75 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.2% AA) @ 90 min.
1.50 0z. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.2% AA) @ 30 min.
1.50 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.2% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. US Cascade (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 0 min.


1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.


Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes (starter)

Water Profile

1.00 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.00 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Protein Rest – 30 min @ 113F
Step Infusion – 30 min @ 145F
Sacch Rest – 45 min @ 156F


11.03.14 – Made a stir-plate 2L starter with 1 Wyeast 3522 smack pack.  Brewtoad suggests 284 billion cells to ferment 5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed 11.05.14 with Gregory

11.05.14 – Chilled wort to 65F before pitching yeast starter and put it onto brewbelt.

11.06.14 – Vigorous fermentation and holding steady at 75-78F.

11.09.14 – Fermentation has slowed and krausen has dissipated.  Holding steady at 74-76F.  Replaced blow-off tube with airlock.

11.20.14 – Transferred base beer into secondary fermentor and added the thawed chanterelle mushrooms and their liquid; brewbelt no longer used.

12.17.14 – Transferred off of mushrooms into tertiary fermentor to condition.

01.07.15 – Bottled chanterelle beer with 3.5 oz corn sugar @ 2.2 volumes of CO2.

Tasting Notes 04.05.15

Cracked a bottle tonight nearly three months after bottling; the beer is perfectly carbonated and has a slight haze to its russet brown color.  It has a lovely aroma featuring a sweetish apricot-like fruitiness from the chanterelles, underlying spicy phenolics from the Belgian yeast, and hints of alcohol.  The beer starts out fairly malty with a round honey-like sweetness on the palate which gives way to fruity yeast esters and the fruity, earthy qualities of the chanterelle mushrooms.  It finishes on the dry side with moderate warming from the alcohol which also balances the initial sweetness.  A lovely beer.

Calculated OG: 1.089
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 10.3%