Ring of Bones Imperial White Ale

For a while now I’ve been wanting to make a beer inspired by the music of my band Val de Val. To somehow distill the essence of the music into liquid form. So how do you decide what music tastes like? I have no idea. But this is my first attempt.


We brainstormed recipe ideas and originally came up with the Hot Blood Orange Double Chocolate Stout. I was actually pretty excited about it. I put together a recipe and even started driving to the homebrew shop to pick up the ingredients. On the way I decided to stop and pick up the blood oranges first since (I was assuming) they don’t sell those at the homebrew shop. Turns out they’re not in season and no one has any. Not even Whole Foods. So, scratch that one I guess, at least until next year.

Here’s what I came up with instead. It’s inspired by a track from our new album called Ring of Bones.

Ring of Bones Imperial White Ale

A double strength Belgian Wit. A Blue Moon with more balls. It’s like a spicier Allagash White injected straight into your eyeballs.

Ingredients for the Imperial White Ale

Batch Size: 5.5 gal
Grains: 17 lbs
Original Gravity: 1.076
IBU: 22.4
ABV (estimated): 8.4%

8 lb Belgian Pilsner
6 lb White Wheat
2 lb Flaked Wheat
1 lb Flaked Oats

2.0 pkg Safale S-33

Mash at 152F for 90 minutes
90 minute boil
1 oz Cascade [7.3 %] - Boil 60.0 min
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient - Boil 15.0 min
0.5 oz Cascade [7.3 %] - Boil 5.0 min
Spice mix - Boil 2.0 min

Spice mix:
0.6 oz sweet orange peel
0.4 oz bitter orange peel
5 green cardamom pods
0.3 oz white peppercorns
0.25 tsp fennel seed
0.5 tsp cumin
0.2 oz coriander

Draining the mash tun

Once again my numbers were pretty far off. I think the main reason is that I keep using the default efficiency in BeerSmith when mine is actually lower. I’m also still not sure about the numbers I should be using for dead space, trub loss, etc, but I think if I get the actual efficiency dialed in right, I’ll be able to figure those out a little easier.

According to BeerSmith the estimated OG was 1.084 but it came in at 1.076 and that was even with the post boil volume coming in almost 0.75 gal lower than expected. So something is definitely off in my calculations, but I knew that going in and went pretty big with this recipe. I’m actually pretty happy with where it came out, but I’d like to be a lot more consistent because when I’m doing lower gravity beers, being this far off is going to be more of a problem.

The plan for this beer is to make it available in some way to friends and fans of the band. We can’t legally sell it so that will probably mean either a private party somewhere or a show where we give away free samples or something if we can find a venue cool enough to allow us to do that. Either way, at some point later this year we’ll be able to raise a glass of Ring of Bones while we listen to Ring of Bones, while standing in a ring of bones.

Actually I don’t know about that last part. We might end up opening the gates of hell or something if we go that far with it. So we might skip that part.