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Old 02-23-2010, 04:30 AM   #1
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Default Belgian Blonde Ale 1 (The Drunk Hoodrat)

This is a recipe I made up, though it's probably very similar to other blondes. I'm going to brew this next weekend. I will post results as more information becomes available to me. Feel free to give me your opinions.

Category: Belgian Strong Ale
Subcategory: Belgian Blonde Ale

Brew house efficiency: 75%
Expected yeast attenuation: 77%

Post-boil volume: 5.5 gallons
Estimated SRM: 5.4
Estimated IBU: 25
Original Gravity: 1.0704
Final Gravity: 1.0162 (very slightly sweeter than the style guidelines, if I beat 77% attenuation, this won't be a problem)
ABV: 7.5%

Grain bill:

  • 10 lbs Belgian pils malt
  • 2.75 lbs Belgian pale wheat
  • 0.5 lbs CaraVienne malt
  • 0.25 lbs Aromatic malt

Sugar additions:
  • 0.33 lbs Clear Belgian candi sugar

Hop schedule:
  • 1 oz. East Kent Goldings (5%), 60 min
  • 1 oz. East Kent Goldings (5%), 30 min

Water recommendations:
Shoot for a lower mash pH for the lighter profile, stay within recommended brewing limits for all other significant minerals. Employ a mash ratio of 1.5-2 quarts per pound. Sparge with whatever you want as long as you collect enough water for a 90 minute boil. Mash at 153 degrees. Don't mash above 155 or below 150.

Yeast:
Wyeast 1388 - 2 Activator packs made into a 2000 mL starter 36 hours before pitching. 1 activator would be ok but you would need to pitch a gallon starter. No thanks.

Boil time: 90 minutes

Add candi sugar to boil for at least 30 minutes. If you're using an immersed chiller, add the sugar at least 10 minutes before you put the chiller in.

Fermentation:
3 weeks in primary at 70 degrees, then keg or bottle. Give it a gentle swirl every 5 days or so. Let the fermentation heat up as it wants, just don't let it get above 80. A blowoff tube is a necessity as I expect this to run like crazy. If bottling, you might consider giving it a week or two in a cold secondary (45-50 degF).

I am expecting this beer to be ready to drink after about a month, but truly it should probably be left to sit in a cold place for 6 months before enjoying.


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Old 02-23-2010, 12:05 PM   #2
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If you want to do a real blond, I'd suggest drop the caraVienne and aromatic. I just made a blond that was only pilsener malt, and it's light, refreshing, and showcases the Belgian flavors very well. Sometimes it's nice to kickback with a very simple grain bill. Mine was 1388 as well, I really loved that yeast in a blond.



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Old 02-23-2010, 12:22 PM   #3
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I must admit that does sound tempting!

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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I did almost the same beer but used 8# pilsner and the 5# 2 row. Also used ..25# biscuit and a pound of sugar.Hopped it with 1 oz. Kent goldings at 60, 30, 15, and dry hop. It was tasty.

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Old 02-23-2010, 01:19 PM   #5
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The blonde I made with 1388 was pure Pilsener mashed high for body (156). I pitched at 64 and fermented at room temp about 69. I broke style to put a half ounce of Tett in at 7 minutes for aroma (I had no flavor additions, just clean bittering). It came out subtle and smooth. It's extremely drinkable, and the 1388 and Tett give it a combination floral and peachy / summer fruit aroma that's just delicious. I say peaches, my wife thinks peaches, one friend suggested blackberries. I will definitely work with 1388 again, it's one of the easiest of the Belgian yeasts to drink!

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Old 02-23-2010, 02:30 PM   #6
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Did you make a starter with the 1388? I'm trying to follow the Wyeast recommendations for high-gravity beer using their calculator. They recommend one million cells per mL per degree Plato. I'm expecting about 17 deg Plato which would be ideally pitched using two Activators pitched into a half-gallon starter for 36 hours or one activator stepped up into a full-gallon starter over 72 hours.

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:24 PM   #7
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I actually just pitched an activator directly, but it was only a 2.5 gallon batch (I do a lot of 2.5s to see how a new Belgian performs). I don't see any reason not to simply pitch an Activator into a 5 gallon, in this case you want the esters from yeast reproduction. I thought this beer was a bit understated even, and this was with a low pitching rate and no temp control, so I would guess it would taste good with no starter, or a small starter.

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:26 AM   #8
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Brewed today! Picture goodness!

http://picasaweb.google.com/adam.schuttler/BeerForBreakfast?feat=directlink

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:23 PM   #9
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OK, so I've decided Belgians are a whole heck of a lot of fun! The yeast should be renamed "shark frenzy" because that's about what it looks like inside the primary. I pitched the yeast and set it in the closet. About an hour later a lot of the sediment from brewing had settled to the bottom and a couple hours after that, most of that sediment was being tossed around the primary like those unfortunate swimmers on Jaws.

I hit all my target temps, volumes, and specific gravities which was really quite nice. I ended up making a syrup out of the candi sugar (also altered the recipe slightly to include 1 lb of sugar, less wheat, no aromatics, and more pils, but really only minor adjustments). The real star of the show is the yeast. The final wort tasted REALLY sugary and sweet. It was almost unbearably sweet. My sample settled to a very rich golden color and I'm fairly confident that this batch is going to clear up very well after fermentation. More updates to come.

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Old 03-14-2010, 06:21 PM   #10
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Wow the yeast really went to town! It's been a week since i brewed so I decided it was time for the first gravity reading. The original gravity was 1.070 and now it's 1.011 which means the yeast hit 84% attenuation. Might be a little too much actually. It's got a solid rotten-egg odor right now but that's not really concerning me since it is going to sit another two weeks on the cake then i'm going to transfer it to a keg for a week of cold conditioning/carbonation before consumption begins. The taste is close to what I would expect it to be at this stage in development except the alcohol is a bit too high (7.9%). Oh well. It is a belgian strong ale after all.



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