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Old 02-08-2010, 11:15 PM   #1
permo
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Default Belgian Low/Medium Gravity Ale Help

I am about to try my first belgian. I have succesfully farmed yeast from a few bottles of Chimay, so I have a good yeast strain available. Now I just need a medium gravity recipe to try this yeast strain out on. This way I will be able to wash a TON of chimay yeast from the batch.

I have made a bunch of dark candi sugar and a bunch of light colored candi sugar.

I have summit and argentine cascade hops available. Here is what I was thinking for a 6 gallon batch

11# pilsen malt
1.5 # candi sugar clear
.50 oz summit at 60 minutes for bittering (25 IBU or so)
1 oz argentine cascade at 5 minutes ( 1 IBU or so) for aroma/flavor

1 liter chimay yeast starter


I really need some direction on this, help please! What temp to ferment? I am thinking something like a lower gravity tripel...belgian light ale?

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Old 02-08-2010, 11:23 PM   #2
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I would personally avoid the summit and cascade and pick up some noble hops instead. Other than that you can't go wrong with pilsen and 10-15% sugar.

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Old 02-08-2010, 11:36 PM   #3
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Having just completed a ferment of an IPAish beer with Chimay yeast, I may be of some assistance. It didn't want to get below 1.025 FG but it started well over 1.090... Anyway...

You're probably going to be in the mid-6% ABV on this. While that isn't high for a Belgian, it may be higher than you're looking for. However, you say you want a low gravity tripelish "Belgian light ale" so that is probably OK.

As for temp, I did mine at basically room temp (~67) for about 3 weeks then ramped it up over a few days to about 74. It seemed to like the temps, just try to make sure it doesn't get too cold or too warm... Upper 60's to lower 70's put off some nice flavors. Chimay doesn't throw a ton of flavors like some of the Belgian yeasts I've used but it sure isn't US-05 either... You don't want it too cold.

Depending on how dark you want the beer, you can add the sugar earlier or later in the boil. The higher the gravity, the darker the beer will get during the boil as compared to a lower gravity wort boiled for the same length of time. Also, the longer you boil, the darker it will get. Keep in mind, however, the longer the boil, the more caramelized the wort will get and the higher the final gravity will probably be.

Were this mine (which, obviously it isn't), I'd probably try to do your "light ale" and mash it a little lower, maybe around 147 - 149 for about 60 - 90 minutes judging solely on the ingredients you have. That should make for a lighter, drier finished product since you'll have a wort with more fermentables. I've heard conflicting stories on how long to boil to drive off DMS. Some say that 30 minutes is plenty for any wort. Others say that 90 minutes is needed for Pilsner malt. I'd just try not to keep it "rolling" to minimize the Malliard reactions (previously noted above) and get the wort way down in the FG, maybe even under 1.010 if possible. But, again, that's me.

Don't know if that helps or not but that's what I got.

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Old 02-08-2010, 11:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bensiff View Post
I would personally avoid the summit and cascade and pick up some noble hops instead. Other than that you can't go wrong with pilsen and 10-15% sugar.
Summit shouldn't be too much of an issue since he's using them at 60 mins. You're not going to notice too much flavor from them. Plus, Chimay yeast really showcases that sort of flavor, imo, even if it is subtle.

Argentine Cascade are sort of like a noble hop and nothing at all like US Cascade. I've used them in hefes, stouts, and Belgians without an issue.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:45 AM   #5
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Wow, thank you so much for you detailed input!

I think the summit will be fine too, at 60 minutes it will strictly bittering.....

Also, the argentine cascades are a noble hop substitute, they are not like the american version. They are low AA, slightly spicy suitable for lager/pilsen beers.

I am going to let my Chimay yeast starter ferment out completely, I will then chill the starter to floc out the yeast. Then I will discard the starter beer and pitch the settled yeast at 75 degrees and see what happens.

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Old 02-09-2010, 01:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permo View Post
Wow, thank you so much for you detailed input!

I think the summit will be fine too, at 60 minutes it will strictly bittering.....

Also, the argentine cascades are a noble hop substitute, they are not like the american version. They are low AA, slightly spicy suitable for lager/pilsen beers.

I am going to let my Chimay yeast starter ferment out completely, I will then chill the starter to floc out the yeast. Then I will discard the starter beer and pitch the settled yeast at 75 degrees and see what happens.
Sounds good. That's about what I do; put the starter in the fridge, pour off the liquid, then pour it back into the wort. Sometimes it helps to pour a little wort back into the starter container and then pour it back into the wort.

I've not fermented it at 75 before but that should be OK.

My only other suggestion would be that, maybe, you could add a tenth of an ounce of the summit at 2 to 0 mins to give some aroma and a little flavor. The yeast will give you both but the hop may help drive the "light ale" message home better than a typically hopped Belgian; i.e. tripel, dubbel, etc where the yeast and specialty malts/sugars do most of the talking. As you're essentially not following a style guideline, a little hop aroma in your Belgian may be a good thing. I've got a "Belgian Pale" that clocked in at almost 10% ABV that I used Delirium Tremens harvested yeast in; I actually put in Argentine Cascade as my 0 min addition (plus I put in quite a few hops from 15 mins on down) and it came out great!
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:59 AM   #7
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Nice to hear somebody else using argentine cascade as a finishing hop! I have just recieved my first pound of them so I am excited to see how they turn out.

I have found summit best to be used very sparingly.....a little goes a long ways...if you use too much...you get a little onion flavor..not cool.

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Old 02-09-2010, 01:58 PM   #8
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Ok, now I have another question. My chimay starter obviously has some active yeast in it...but there is not a ton of activity. It is slowly forming foam on the top with some bubbles in the wort from top to bottom. I would really like to get a fermentation out of this yeast so I can wash it, but I don't want to ruin five gallons of beer.

Do you think I should continue on with this yeast and see what happens, or maybe get some WLP500 to keep around just in case the chimay doesn't ferment the batch?

I am assuming that the chimay will eventually start up if put in five gallons of 1.050 beer.....but I have been wrong before.

I have heard that the actuall bottle harvested chimay is much better than WLP500..so that is why I am going through all the trouble.

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Old 02-09-2010, 02:20 PM   #9
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If you are worried, maybe you should step up the starter once before pitching.

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Old 02-09-2010, 06:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknifefight View Post
If you are worried, maybe you should step up the starter once before pitching.
I stepped it up this morning, and it is not showing a ton of life right now. I think I am going to pitch it into a 1.050 OG blonde type ale and see what happens.
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