12 April 2008

posted by benjy edwards

For the first time ever, I brewed a Belgian ale today.  It is supposed to be a Belgian Strong Golden Ale, using German pilsner malt, a bit of Munich, aromatic and wheat, plus just a touch of malted oats.  The brewing process was almost identical to our other ales, with a lowish mash temp. of 149 to 150F.  For some reason, the clarity of the runoff was exceptional during the entire wort collection, which I will attribute to the pound of wheat and the quarter pound of oat malt, with no rice hulls.  Perhaps the gumminess of the wheat and oats enhanced the filter bed of the mash.   Sounds plausible, anyway.

Lots of sugar was added with 10 minutes left in the boil, 5.5 pounds to be exact, which is slightly more than 20% of the fermentables by weight.  Original gravity was 1.069, one point higher than target.  The hops were very restrained, using Pacific Gem for bittering and Hallertau for aroma.  The Hallertau was only 1.5% alpha acid, so the aroma contribution should be minimal.  The chill was right on target, reaching 64F.  We pitched the starters made back on Tuesday of the Wyeast 3864 (Canadian/Belgian yeast) and fermentation began some time overnight.  By Sunday the wort temperature was 66F, which we will increase gradually throughout the fermentation in at attempt to get the beer very dry.

One Response to “12 April 2008”

  1. Benjy Edwards Says:

    Follow-up on the Belgian ale:

    Gravity a week after brewing was 1.029, which frightened the life out of me. I expected the yeast to ferment very aggressively.

    I warmed up the fermenters even more than I had done during the first week, so the wort temperature was almost 80F for the second week. Not much happened the second week, but then unexpectedly it began to ferment again. I’ve since heard that this is somewhat typical of Belgian yeast.

    After three weeks in the primary, the gravity was 1.007, so it’s nice and dry now. I will rack it to secondary on 3 May and cool it down to see if the beer will clear.