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Old 10-17-2013, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Imperial Blonde Ale (Specialty Beer)

I had the day off and brewed what I'm calling an Imperial Blonde ale.

My main goal for this specialty beer was to create a Blonde Ale, but just bigger! Yeah, it's not really that hard to create an Imperial Blonde, just add more pale malt...but I wanted to see if I could create a balanced and drinkable Blonde with a boatload of alcohol that wasn't hot or solventy.

I also LOVE Belgians, but I wanted to try a more trational Blonde Ale without the esters that would be more characteristic of a Strong Belgian Ale.

I brewed today, so will be adding more to the thread as it happens.

Smoke N Beer IBA:

OG - 1.094
FG - 1.018
ABV - 10.1%
IBU - 29.5
Bitterness Ratio - .33
Color 4.2
Pre-Boil Vol - 7 gal
Pre-Boil Gravity - 1.073

Grain:
20# Pale Malt (Muntons, 1.3 SRM)
.5# Carapils

LBHS grabbed the Britt malt, and I didn't catch the mistake; I was planning on using US malt. I'm not overly concerned here, and I doubt my palate would be able to tell the difference.
Hops:
2 oz Crystal Hops (3.8 AAU) - 60 min
1 oz Crystal Hops (4.3 AAU) - 60 min
Only reason I separated it out was because I just happened to grab a bag of hops that was different than the other two. Because I styled this beer after a Blonde Ale, I wanted to keep the bitterness ratio inline with what Blondes usually are (According to Jamil it is .3 - .6), and I brought this beer in on the lower end at .33.
Yeast:
2 pkg San Diego Super Yeast (White Labs #WLP090) - 1.5L starter
First time using this stuff. I've read that it can handle higher alcohol and has decent attenuation. That said, I've also read that peeps have had some difficulties with it, but I guess we'll see...
Mash:
60 min @ 154 F (1.5 qt/lb)
Fly-sparged to 7 gallons w/ 170 F water
I had some trouble with the mash temperature. I usually have my grain in the cooler tun, and add water to it. However, this time I added the grain to the water and with 30 qts of water into a 40 qt cooler tun...yeah...it was a little tight. It did fit though (that's what she said), but the temp was low at 147 F. Because there was no more room to add hot water, I pulled off about a gallon of wort and heated it to around 180 and added back to the mashtun. This worked for the most part, but I did overshoot my temp a bit. I wanted 152, but got 154. I'll take it!
This went into the fermenter today and was pitched at 68 F degrees, and my basement is around 65 F.

When it's done, and if it's drinkable, I'll gladly share a bottle or two.
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:40 PM   #2
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Well...I opened my fermentation closet (space under the stairs) and the San Diego Super Yeast lived up to the name (WLP090) as it blew the lid off my fermentation bucket!

There was krausen sprayed all over the walls and ceiling. It must have been quite a show! I think it happened just about an hour ago as SWMBO and I heard a loud bang. Usually the banging is our fat cat jumping off the couch, but I'm thinking this was it...

The thing I had going against me is this lid was relatively new, and therefore more airtight than the other ones I have laying around.

This bucket is going into the spare shower until fermentation is over. And I'm definitely going to get some carboys with blowoff tubes for my next session...

imag1047.jpg  
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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I hope this turns out good. I was thinking if doing something similar in the 8-9% alc rang so I want to know the results. How long do you expect a beer this big to take to become ready to drink?

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Old 10-17-2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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I'm hoping this will be ready in a couple months; from everything I've read, WLP090 works very quickly. I don't think it will take as long as the Belgian equivalents as we're not looking for the esters, spicy notes, etc. I however don't want to rush it, and if it needs a little longer to mature, I'll give it some time.

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Old 10-17-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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Well...need to make an emergency trip the hardware store. The second lid almost blew off!

Wife: Uh, Dave...it sounds like a jet engine is taking off in the bathroom.
Me: Ah, it should be fin...ah crap.

I cracked the lid until I can make a blowoff tube, and krausen is pretty much everywhere. This is turning into an interesting brew!

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Old 10-18-2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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Little less than 48 hours into fermentation and I'm at 1.042 (6.9% abv). It tasted fantastic, and expectantly a little sweet and yeasty. The color is golden and of course a little hazy from the yeast still in suspension.

I'm still getting some bubbles, but not nearly the insaneness that was happening yesterday. I changed the lid again back to the traditional setup.

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Old 11-01-2013, 12:58 AM   #7
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Not sure when if bottomed out, but the FG appears to be 1.015; 10.5% ABV. I plan on letting it sit for another week or two then bottle.

I'll keep ya'll posted on how it shakes out.

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