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Old 01-17-2013, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Pale Ale (Question about head retention/ingredients for body)

(This is a repost. I think I needed to make the subject more descriptive.)

Here's what I have so far:

OG 1.060
FG 1.010
IBU 28
Pre boil vol: ~6.5g
Batch vol: 5g

Grains/Fermentables
1 lbs Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)
5 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Belgian (Castle) (2.0 SRM)
2 lbs Wheat Malt, German (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM)
1 lbs Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM)
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)
1 lbs Beet sugar (0.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Carafoam (2.0 SRM)

Hops
2 oz Saaz (90 min FWH)
1 oz Amarillo (FO)
1 oz Northern Brewer (FO)

Spices
1 Star Anise (30 min boil)
1 oz Coriander (15 min boil)

2 pkgs of Wyeast #3522 (Ardennes)

Mash @ 153F for 75 minutes

Now here's my question:

I have 1bs of Malto-Dextrine and I also have 1/2lbs of Naked Oats (Oat malt) that I could use to add body. The BJCP description says for Belgian Pale ale:

Quote:
Appearance: Amber to copper in color. Clarity is very good. Creamy, rocky, white head often fades more quickly than other Belgian beers.
What would be the best way to get that character that Belgian pales so often have? It's like a thin meringue and upon pouring looks thick enough to form a bung over your beer indefinitely but when you dive into it, it melts in your mouth. Hard to describe but anyone who has drank a Saison Dupont, or LeChouffe, or Duvel, or any other myriad of Belgian beers knows what I'm talking about.

I'm thinking Malto-Dextrine and/or the Naked Oats would make it too creamy. Plus I read the oat malt makes for a bad case of chill haze which I don't want in a Pale I don't think. Is the Carafoam enough? Or is this mostly achieved by water treatment?

Thanks for any hints/tips/slander!

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
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With all of that wheat, and its high protein content, I think you have plenty of body/head contributing ingredients already. Plus the carafoam. If this doesn't work out, then I would look at your process and think if there are any changes you can make their as this recipe has body/foam written all over it.

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:28 PM   #3
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Just commenting from my experience. I made a Belgian pale ale a couple months ago that came out great. Very simple recipe - I'm going off the top of my head, but I'll edit it if needed:
10-11 lbs Dingemans Pilnser malt
.5 lbs Crystal 40 Thomas Fawcett
.5 lbs table sugar

1 oz Styrian Goldings 60 min
.75 oz Styrian Goldings 30 min
.75 oz Saaz 30 min
1 oz Saaz 10 min

Yeast Wyeast 3522

Mashed at 152-153
Pitched at 65F and let raise to 72F over the course of fermentation. Cold crashed to 45F for 2 days to clear and then bottled to 3.0 vols CO2.

This was actually one half of a batch. The other half got Bretted, in an attempt to clone Goose Island Matilda. The non-Bretted tastes very much like Matilda already. Has a nice creamy white head. Very good blending of yeast and hop flavors with some spiciness and fruitiness and a tasty finish.
The thing with most Belgian beers is to make them "digestable", i.e. not a big body and with a nice dry finish. The perceived fullness that you can get from Belgian beers is from the high amount of carbonation. This also provides the huge thick head. I think adding the wheat will help with body and mouthfeel, much like in a witbier. Carafoam is like carapils, right? If so, I don't think you need it. The wheat will provide the same properties.I'd skip the dextrin and oats, you'll have plenty of body and head retention potential. Just carbonate to to a high level and you'll get the head you desire.

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Old 01-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
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I think the high carbonation is maybe what I have been missing. I have tried the last 3 or so batches of Belgian beers adding wheat and oats and the like and haven't had much success getting that proper "lemon meringue" head. How many volumes should I aim for? 3?

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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Yes, I'd say 2.9-3.0 volumes CO2 is good.

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