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Old 03-04-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
beerlover89
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Default Planning my first AG. Belgian quad style

I am planning my first brew, and have decided to skip the extract route and jump straight into all grain.

I am only interested in big beers, and like the idea of trying a Belgian quad in the style of Westvleteren/St. Bernardus first, so that I can let it condition while I'm experimenting with other beers. I have found a recipe for a Westvleteren clone by member 'Displaced MassHole'... http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f73/west...2-clone-81698/
I am not aiming to "clone" this beer as such, but I think this recipe should be a good reference for brewing a beer of this style.

I am in the process of gathering equipment, and am thinking of getting a Coleman 36qt cool box (or igloo 45), a 37ltr stock pot, and a 25ltr fermenting bucket (plus all the little bits). I am on a tight budget for this setup!

I had an idea while watching some brew videos on youtube. Would I be able to make a second infusion from the mash (parti-gyle style) to make something like an '8' or 'prior' style as a second batch?

Do I need to rack to a secondary or can I just leave it in the primary for a month?

Would I need to re-pitch yeast again before bottling?

Is there any other particular advice you could offer me for this brew? I am trying to keep things as simple as possible, as this is my first!

I will keep this thread updated as I progress within the next few weeks.

Cheers!

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Old 03-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #2
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I am trying to keep things as simple as possible, as this is my first!
If I were you, I would wet my feet with something a little easier to start. Starting with a quad is like jumping in the deep end of the pool before you learn how to swim.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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If I were you, I would wet my feet with something a little easier to start. Starting with a quad is like jumping in the deep end of the pool before you learn how to swim.

I agree. A big Belgian Quad is not a beginners beer. Do a few brews to get your techniques down.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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I appreciate that this is not a good beer to begin with, but I can't really foresee any major problems I should encounter if I keep it simple, follow the proper technique and use the right equipment. I'm the type who usually jumps in at the deep end with my hobbies anyway.

This recipe seems fairly simple for a quad, and I'm not aiming to make a clone, just a drinkable quad style. I will also start an easier beer straight after brewing this one, so I can leave it to condition while I play around with easier beers. If this one fails then at least its a learning experience.

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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If you insist on doing it as your first brew, here are a couple of tips. Make a big starter, aerate the wort properly. Belgian yeasts are different than most, so you need to understand how they react to temperature. Pitch at the low end of the recommended temperature range or even slightly below. Hold the temp at the lower end for a couple of days and then slowly ramp the temp up. If you let the temp get too hot, too fast you might as well call NASA and ask them is they want to buy some rocket fuel. Fermentation will cause some heat and the bigger the beer the more heat it will want to generate. If you let the temp get out of control too soon, it will be hard to get the control back. If you try to cool it and the temp drops too low before fermentation is complete, the yeast will just quit and most likely not restart.

Good luck.

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Old 03-04-2013, 09:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by beergolf View Post
If you insist on doing it as your first brew, here are a couple of tips. Make a big starter, aerate the wort properly. Belgian yeasts are different than most, so you need to understand how they react to temperature. Pitch at the low end of the recommended temperature range or even slightly below. Hold the temp at the lower end for a couple of days and then slowly ramp the temp up. If you let the temp get too hot, too fast you might as well call NASA and ask them is they want to buy some rocket fuel. Fermentation will cause some heat and the bigger the beer the more heat it will want to generate. If you let the temp get out of control too soon, it will be hard to get the control back. If you try to cool it and the temp drops too low before fermentation is complete, the yeast will just quit and most likely not restart.

Good luck.
This^^^^^^^^^^


Temp with Belgian yeast is really important.

I too am one to jump right in the deep end. My first beer was an all grain Bock. What a complete mistake that was. Ended up dumping it all.

The thing is when you are starting out is that you don't know what you don't know. High gravity brewing is difficult for very experienced brewers, let alone a beginner. There are so many things that can get messed up. You have all new equipment. There are tons of things that need to be dialed in when using new equipment, even for a professional.

Cheers and good luck.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:42 PM   #7
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Hahahahahahahha, good luck homey!

Have you ever had bad homebrewed strong 'belgian' beer? It is so bad. So very, very bad.

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Old 03-04-2013, 11:18 PM   #8
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the other issue you'll run into is that without being able to taste your first beer for a while you may not pickup on any flaws that you could improve in your subsequent batches either that result in your technique or other factors such as water etc.

why risk the time and money in ingredients to cut your teeth on a big beer, esp when you are on a tight budget?

additionally it's hard enough to wait the 4-6 weeks for your 1st batch to ferment, carb etc. you'll only be torturing yourself more by brewing something that likely won't be ready for a few months at best.

I consider starting with AG instead of extract/steeping jumping in without getting your feet wet even without trying to add the difficulties of a big beer into the mix.

if you still decide to brew a quad you'll need a means of making a large starter, a wort chiller to cool your wort down quickly, a method to aerate your wort and a means to control your fermentation temperatures

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Old 03-04-2013, 11:34 PM   #9
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On a 1.090sg using 2lbs of sugar I had good luck with a big 1 liter starter of wlp500 that I didnt use pure oxygen on(cause I dont have the equipment), but if you have an oxygen stone i would go that route. I would ask someone whos done it, but I think with an oxygen stone 8-20hrs after pitching you can add more oxygen to continue yeast growth.

I know its not perfect, but hope it helps

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Old 03-04-2013, 11:48 PM   #10
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On a 1.090sg using 2lbs of sugar I had good luck with a big 1 liter starter of wlp500 that I didnt use pure oxygen on(cause I dont have the equipment), but if you have an oxygen stone i would go that route. I would ask someone whos done it, but I think with an oxygen stone 8-20hrs after pitching you can add more oxygen to continue yeast growth.

I know its not perfect, but hope it helps
I'd say a 1 liter starter is too small. Use Mr. Malty's pitching calculator and make a huge starter.

When you mash in all that grain, stir, stir, and stir. Look for dough balls and smash them.

Add the sugar later (i.e. boil it, cool it, and pour it in 3 days later)

Use Belgian Ardennes, a forgiving, bright belgian that ferments well even near 80F without giving you clove, banana, and band-aid.

Also, I'd check out your water profile. The PH will have a significant impact on the efficiency of your mash. I'd also use Beersmith to calculate the temps (it will also do your starter). If you have highly alkaline water as well, consider cutting it with distilled or going with all spring or a combination.
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