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Old 03-01-2006, 03:40 PM   #1
cowain
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Default Belgian Strong Ale

I am going to be brewing my Belgian Strong Ale this Friday (think Chimay Grand Reserve). My stuff should be on my doorstep when I get home this evening.

I am planning on making a starter (Projected OG = 1.087). I am also thinking about splitting the starter and pitching half and saving half for bottling time (same idea as what Chimay does, from what I understand).

Does anyone have thoughts re: the necessity of this? I personally think it will make a difference in the carbonation and aging time, but I'm not positive.

Additionally, I'm going to be doing a week or more in primary and about 2 weeks in secondary - any ideas about what to do with the other half of the yeast in the meantime? Fridge it and then do another starter or what?

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Old 03-01-2006, 03:55 PM   #2
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i'm not sure that all the trouble is really necesary. you may need to re-pitch in the secondary if your yeast doesn't fullly attenuate, but it shouldnt be an issue if you make a good size starter. belgian breweries often use a different bottling strain to impart extra character and protect their primary yeast strains that are unique to teh brewery and what gives the brewery its special character. in you're case its not necesary as there will still be yeast in the brew at bottling time and you are not using a different strain. however if you were to do this you would save the extra in a bomber bottle in the frig and pitch again, you can make a starter to make sure its still viable, but all you really need to do is bring it down to room temperature. I wouldnt reccomend doing this though as youre just going to wind up with a beer with too much yeast in it.

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Old 03-01-2006, 06:36 PM   #3
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I made a Chimay Grande Reserve clone from the recipe in 'Beer Captured' by the Szamatulskis. They suggest you pitch another dose of the same yeast 3 days before bottling to "ensure that the beer is fully fermented." They also say that it will "greatly improve carbonation."

I did 2 weeks in the primary, until bubbling was once every 60 seconds. They suggest 6 weeks in the secondary.

I only tested a single bottle so far, but it was well carbonated.

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Old 03-01-2006, 09:17 PM   #4
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Hmmm. I hadn't thought about pitching 3 days prior to bottling, I was just planning on tossing it in the ol' bottling bucket. I'll have to consider it.

I am also receiving "Brew Like a Monk", so maybe some help will come from there.

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Old 03-01-2006, 09:35 PM   #5
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You're planning on bottling this after 3 weeks??

I'd definitely do a couple months in the secondary minimum for a beer that big.

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Old 03-02-2006, 12:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
You're planning on bottling this after 3 weeks??

I'd definitely do a couple months in the secondary minimum for a beer that big.
Maybe I'll extend the total time to like a month or so.

I'm hoping to use it for my wedding beer (planning on bottling Chimay style with corks and champagne style bottles) and I am more concerned with aging and maturation of flavors within the bottles than secondary (I figure most of the flavor changes will have taken place by 2 to 3 weeks).
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Old 03-02-2006, 01:31 AM   #7
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of the 6 that I have done, they have all had about 21 days in the primary and 4 weeks in the secondary, the all have scored 38 to 41 so it seems a good messure.

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Old 03-02-2006, 08:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazeballdadx
I made a Chimay Grande Reserve clone from the recipe in 'Beer Captured' by the Szamatulskis. They suggest you pitch another dose of the same yeast 3 days before bottling to "ensure that the beer is fully fermented." They also say that it will "greatly improve carbonation."

I did 2 weeks in the primary, until bubbling was once every 60 seconds. They suggest 6 weeks in the secondary.

I only tested a single bottle so far, but it was well carbonated.
I did the same and am still cellaring some of the bottles from the 12/2003 batch. It tastes great! But I didn't pitch a dose of the same strain of fresh yeast 3 days before bottling and the carbonation was just fine.

Good luck,
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Old 03-02-2006, 08:54 AM   #9
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I kept my Chimey Red in primary for 10 days, 2ndary for 3 weeks, and kegged for 6 months before I drank it. Could have gone a few months longer, but I was thirsty. Have to let this one age. Its pretty rough for the first few months.

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Old 03-02-2006, 01:20 PM   #10
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Yeah, the wedding isn't until October, so I figured I've got enough time for aging. The problem is that if I don't like the recipe, I won't know until it's too late to redo.

Also, last night I read in "Brewing like a Monk" that most of the monasteries repitch at bottling. I figure it can't hurt as long as my bottles can take the carbonation (I think I'm looking at around 4 volumes - also from brewing like a monk). With that I'll probably have to use the champagne bottles.

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