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Old 11-09-2010, 01:56 PM   #1
tedclev
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Default First Belgian- suggestions?

I am about to brew my first Big Belgian and am just looking for any suggestions. I have done a few high gravs, but am wondering what input everyone has. I am interested in anything, from mashing/boiling, to yeast pitching and fermenting, to bottling and aging. I already have these ingredients, so this is def what I'm making, but feel free to give recipe advice too.

I am planning on mashing for 90 min, then boiling for 60. I have read different recommendations as far as the Candi Sugar. Last ten minutes or after fermentation has begun? Why wait until it's fermenting? Thanks in advance!

malt & fermentables
% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable ppg °L
47% 6 0 Briess GOLD LME 34 5
23% 3 0 Briess DME Golden Light 43 5
16% 2 0 Belgian Candy Sugar Amber 36 75
4% 0 8 CaraVienne 35 21
3% 0 6 Cara-Pils/Dextrine 33 2
3% 0 6 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L 35 10
2% 0 5 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 34 40
2% 0 4 Belgian Special B 30 220
0% 0 1 Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L 33 120
Batch size: 5.0 gallons


Original Gravity
1.093
(1.083 to 1.097)
Final Gravity
1.020
(1.018 to 1.022)
Color
24° SRM / 47° EBC
(Brown to Dark Brown)
Mash Efficiency
85%

hops
use time oz variety form aa
boil 60 mins 1.0 Styrian Goldings info pellet 5.4
boil 30 mins 0.5 Willamette info pellet 5.5
boil 5 mins 0.5 Willamette info pellet 5.5
Boil: 3.0 avg gallons for 60 minutes


Bitterness
12.0 IBU / 5 HBU
ƒ: Tinseth
BU:GU
0.13

yeast
White Labs Trappist Ale (WLP500)
ale yeast in liquid form with low to medium flocculation


Alcohol
9.7% ABV / 8% ABW
Calories
305 per 12 oz.

misc
use time amount ingredient
boil 10 min 1 tbsp Yeast Nutrient

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Old 11-09-2010, 02:23 PM   #2
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Way too many malts in there. Keep it simple. If you are going for a strong dubbel or something, I would do something like this:
9 lbs DME
1 lb Special B
0.5 lb Aromatic
and maybe 0.5 lb Caramunich

There is no need to mud it up with 6 different malts.

Also, your IBUs are a little low for such a high gravity beer. I am not sure the standard range but go for at least 20.

And for a beer this big, I would suggest making a low gravity Belgian (a blonde or belgian pale ale or something) and then use it's yeast cake. That way it will ferment out very easily.

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Old 11-09-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
tedclev
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Yeah- I know this grain bill is rather absurd, but it's a pseudo-emulation of Avery's The Reverend. That's also the reason for the low IBUs- The Rev stats are as follows:
Beer Style: Belgian Quadrupel Ale
Hop Variety: Styrian Goldings
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, cara 8, cara 20, caramel 15L, caramel 40L, Belgian special B
OG: 1.093 * ABV: 10.0% * IBUs: 10

You are right about the standard IBU range, though. I believe the BJCP puts it around 22...

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Old 11-09-2010, 11:24 PM   #4
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Avery can get away with that low of IBUs cuz they have over 80% attenuation. With nearly 2lbs of crystal malt and using mostly extract, you unfortunately won't. since you'll have extra sweetness to account for, id bump it up to at least 20 like bk said

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Old 11-10-2010, 12:35 AM   #5
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Go get yourself a copy of Brew Like a Monk. I just finished it and am preparing to read it a second time. I bottled a Belgian Golden Strong a few weeks ago and feel like I got lucky. There are a LOT of things to keep in mind when shooting for a Belgian style beer. There's even some stuff in there about extract and why it's challenging to get the attenuation necessary to dry it out properly. I believe Brew Strong also did a good few episodes on high grav brewing and Belgians.

Not trying to discourage you. Go for it if that's what you want to shoot for. But it's a challenging realm to get into.

+1 on simple grain bills.

Also, I introduced my sugars in two batches while fermentation had begun.

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:46 AM   #6
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Thanks all. I'll def up the IBUs and see what happens here. Will also get the book since I am really interested in getting into Belgians. Will also shoot for the simple grain bill. JetSmooth- when did you introduce the sugars? Process? Thanks.

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:46 AM   #7
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Add sugar to fermenter once the krausen begins to subside so that yeast has plenty of time to work through the maltose. Adding lots of sugar to high gravity beer early runs the risk of having your yeast work through the sugar first and leaving lots of unfermented maltose behind.

Also, recommend fermenting at lower end of temp range and gradually raising temp during first 10 days or so of fermentation. That will help accentuate the Belgian yeast character in the beer.

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Old 11-10-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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When adding sugar after fermentation, how do I go about determining the ABV?

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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Keep in mind this batch was asplit eight gallon final batch, but because of the additional sugars (and extra "sampling" due to two fermenters and long fermentation) the wort going in was off. I got lucky and nailed the final volume at bottling.

Collected 7.5 gallons of wort and split into two corny kegs of 3.75 gallons each sitting in a cooler of water with t-shirts draped and fan blowing.

9/4 13:00 - OG (grain only) 1.0529. Yeast pitched 76F - t-shirts draped over
9/5 18:65 - add ice bottles until reached 61F
9/5 20:45 - fermenter strip indicates 61F. Remove ice bottles and t-shirt to allow ferm temp to ramp back into the 70s.
9/8 18:00 - (101 hours into "first fermentation") SG reached 1.010 and 1.014. Boiled 16 oz. candi sugar rocks into 16 oz of water, cooled and poured 8 oz. into each. Shook. Temp 78F
(somewhere in here I cycled the space heater for about 20 minutes to get the heat up around 82)
9/10 21:30 - ("second fermentation" of candi sugar took 48 hours) Wyeast 1388 reached 1.009. Wyeast 1762 reached 1.008. Tremendous peach and cinnamon in 1388 fermenter. 1762 banana esters replaced with warm peach and apricot. Boiled 16 oz of dextrose into 16 ounces of water, cooled, added 8 oz to each fermenter and shook.
9/11 21:00 - ("third fermentation" took 24 hours) 1388 reached 1.010. 1762 reached 1.010. Somewhat cidery and sour smelling, but this could be the Co2 blanket. Nearly passed out after sticking nose in too far for a sniff.
9/14 time unknown - Checked gravity on both. Now at 1.008.
10/23 (SEVEN weeks in primary) gravity reading was a dry 1.004. Bottled each batch separately with 3.3oz each of sucrose. Collected just under 4 gallons from 1762 and just over 4 gallons from 1388.

To figure the ABV, I basically plugged the recipe (sans sugars) into Brewtarget and my observed OG with only grain was just about spot on what the software told me. I then added the sugars to the setup, because you can count on getting 100% of the sugars from sugar. That gave me my OG of 1.069.

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Bottling the Belgian: A Photo Odyssey

Beer is the mind-killer. Beer is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my beer. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. When the beer has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedclev View Post
When adding sugar after fermentation, how do I go about determining the ABV?
where you add sugar doesn't change how you determine the abv. just calculate like you added it at the start. dont forget to boil the sugar before adding if you're adding during fermentation
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