Belgian Strong Ale Recipe - advice please

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

misterkidd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2014
Messages
115
Reaction score
13
Location
Bristol
Hi all,

Here is my draft recipe for a strong Belgian-style Ale - I'd love some advice about how to proceed. I'm aiming for a clean dry beer, and trying to use British and British-origin ingredients (hence EK Goldings for Styrian Goldings for example) instead of continental European ones where possible. I don't have much facility to alter fermentation temperature but the temperature here is hovering around 20C (68F).

***

Batch size (post-boil) : 12 litres (3.1 US gallons)
Method : BIAB
Predicted mash efficiency : 70%
OG 1.082, FG 1.021
ABV : 7.9%
IBU : 34
SRM : 11

Maris Otter Pale Malt 4kg (8.8lb)
Carapils 0.3kg (0.66lb)
Munich Malt 0.15kg (0.33lb)
? Melanoidin Malt 0.05kg (0.1lb)

East Kent Golding 30g (1oz), 60 mins
Saaz 20g (0.5oz), 15 mins

? Irish Moss

Wyeast 3787

? Mash at 65C (150F) for 60 mins

***

All observations more than welcome, but I also have some specific questions :

1) I've put carapils in for head retention (never used it previously). Is that right, and is that the correct amount for that?
2) Are the Munich and Melanoidin right for this recipe? I've got some left over from a failed batch of Revvy's Leffe Clone (it was my first go at all-grain) and I don't want them to go to waste...
3) I'm aiming to improve clarity with some Irish Moss. Is that appropriate, and if so what kind of quantity?
4) I've consciously substituted the traditional pilsner malt for a Maris Otter which is produced locally. Is that ok, or is it totally crazy? I'm not aiming for something precisely to style but of course I do want a nice beer.
5) I know lots of strong Belgian ales call for some sugar near the end of the boil. Does anyone know what the effect of this would be, perhaps reducing the grain bill to aim at a similar ABV?
6) The FG seems quite high? Is it ok, and what effect does a high FG have? If it's not ok, how would I reduce it?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated... Thanks in advance!
 
Hello and welcome to the forum.

Some good info about beer styles in the BJCP guidelines: http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style18.php#1e. You certainly don't have to brew "to style", but there is useful information to help a brewer learn more about the style. Based on your recipe, I am thinking your are leaning more toward a Belgian Dark Strong, but I am not entirely sure.

At first glance, I notice you are not using any sugar and your percentage of Munich malt is pretty low. I would probably use about 10-20% Munich malt for a Belgian Dark Strong. is more of a base malt and you can use significantly more Munich. Sugar drys the beer out somewhat as sugar is 100% fermentable by yeast and can add flavor as the sugar caramelizes, or often times, home brewers use a belgian candy sugar. I would also consider using aromatic malt which is a very malty flavor and special B to add some dark fruit and caramelization character.

To answer your questions:
1) I've put carapils in for head retention (never used it previously). Is that right, and is that the correct amount for that? Yes. I think you could go a little lower.
2) Are the Munich and Melanoidin right for this recipe? I've got some left over from a failed batch of Revvy's Leffe Clone (it was my first go at all-grain) and I don't want them to go to waste... They are both correct for this style.
3) I'm aiming to improve clarity with some Irish Moss. Is that appropriate, and if so what kind of quantity? You can use irish moss in every beer, one tablet with about 15 minutes left in the boil. It's not a cureall for clear beer, and Belgian dark strongs are usually not clear.
4) I've consciously substituted the traditional pilsner malt for a Maris Otter which is produced locally. Is that ok, or is it totally crazy? I'm not aiming for something precisely to style but of course I do want a nice beer. MO is fine.
5) I know lots of strong Belgian ales call for some sugar near the end of the boil. Does anyone know what the effect of this would be, perhaps reducing the grain bill to aim at a similar ABV? Drinkability, drying the beer out and flavor, depending on the type of sugar and how long it boils for. Many Belgian beers use sugar to create a dry finish in the beer. For a dark strong, I would say 4-15%, or so, sugar is fine.
6) The FG seems quite high? Is it ok, and what effect does a high FG have? If it's not ok, how would I reduce it? It's definitely fine for this type of beer. Make sure you are pitching enough yeast. I recommend a yeast starter based on yeastcalculator.com or mrmalty.com. Since sugar is 100% fermentable, incorporating some sugar will help to lower your FG.
 
1) I've put carapils in for head retention (never used it previously). Is that right, and is that the correct amount for that?
2) Are the Munich and Melanoidin right for this recipe? I've got some left over from a failed batch of Revvy's Leffe Clone (it was my first go at all-grain) and I don't want them to go to waste...
3) I'm aiming to improve clarity with some Irish Moss. Is that appropriate, and if so what kind of quantity?
4) I've consciously substituted the traditional pilsner malt for a Maris Otter which is produced locally. Is that ok, or is it totally crazy? I'm not aiming for something precisely to style but of course I do want a nice beer.
5) I know lots of strong Belgian ales call for some sugar near the end of the boil. Does anyone know what the effect of this would be, perhaps reducing the grain bill to aim at a similar ABV?
6) The FG seems quite high? Is it ok, and what effect does a high FG have? If it's not ok, how would I reduce it?

1. You're making a high alcohol beer that won't retain a head regardless of what you do. I don't think you need it.

2. Munich is a distinct flavor for me. If you want a breadyness to the beer it's a good call. The style is usually more about flavors from candy sugars and caramalt.

3. I wouldn't worry about clarity either. Belgian yeast doesn't floc quickly. The only way you'll get it to run clear is to filter it or let it condition long. Considering your grain bill is good for 10% ABV (more on that later) you'll be conditioning this stuff for awhile anyway.

4. Marris Otter and Munich together are going to give you a lot of cereal malt flavor. I can't comment on whether it would be bad or not but it will be strange and off the wall with this type of yeast.

5. Candy sugars in Belgian Ales are a major contributor to the complexity of flavor and depth that these beers have. Without getting into all the science I'll just say that candy sugars are made in a specific way that allows their flavors to stay in the beer as opposed to fermenting completely out.

6. Belgian beers are usually very dry or at least try to get very dry. You're right that your 1.020's finish is very high. Coming down from 1.080's you'd want to see something around 1.010 for a finish. This will shoot your ABV up from your estimated 8% up to around 10%.

My Suggestions:

Step mash. Hold your mash around 145F for 30-45 minutes. Draw off close to a gallon of wort and bring to a boil. Return that back to the mash and stir. This should bring you up around 155-156F. Hold that for another 45 minutes. These times aren't set in stone but they do play in to how your beer tastes. Hold the second rest longer as that enzyme works slower.

Cut your grain bill down so you're close to 1.068-1.070. Purchase or make some candy sugar. Aim for something darker since you have a brownish ale going with some strong cereal flavor. I would add 8oz of candy sugar. This is a small enough amount that you should be able to add it to the boil without worrying about stunting fermentation. If you want to play it safe add it 3 days into fermentation.

Both of these will get your FG lower, boost your OG back to around where you have it currently and will get you more "belgiany".

Most importantly, yeast starter. You have a larger grain bill, you're hoping for dryness and you're going to be adding simple sugars to your wort. These are all stress factors for yeast. I would recommend a stepped starter 2L and 2L with increased gravity on the second.

Make a 2L starter in a beer pitcher or mason jar. You want the gravity around 1.040-1.050. This is just to wake the yeast up, multiply cells and get your numbers up. Once that finishes pour off the beer and pitch your second starter right on top of the yeast. For the second starter increase the gravity to around 1.060-1.070. This will improve your cell count again but it also gets your yeast in an environment more similar to the beer you're making. I do this with an aquarium pump providing constant aeration. If you don't have one of these or a stir plate do another 2L starter and pour it on the cake you've been growing. 6L starters are also good for making lagers so if you choose to ever go down that path you have this feather in your cap.

Cop out option. You could brew a small beer with your belgian yeast and pitch this big beer on the cake. This will give you a beer you can drink while the big beer is resting.

And on that note, this beer will taste boozey and "hot" for at least 2 months. Once you bottle or keg it leave it somewhere cool for a few months. Being June this would be a good time to make a Christmas/holiday belgian. Just hold off on the spices until a week before you're ready to serve aka ready to carb.
 
Thanks RonPopeil and Pie for these detailed and excellent insights.

1. RonPopeil you said that high alcohol beers don't retain their head, but the style guideline for Belgian dark strong ale call for a "huge, dense, moussy, persistent cream- to light tan-colored head". I love this about the style and really want this in my beer. Any ideas? Would lowering the gravity a little help? At the moment I'm thinking keep the carapils but reduce to, say, 0.2kg (0.44lb)...
2 and 4. I'm interested in this idea that Maris Otter and Munich would combine as too bready for the style. I'm not experienced enough to really understand the flavour profile of the malts (although I've read a bit and smelt and tasted the grains). I'm pretty settled on using Maris Otter as it's local, but not so set on the Munich. I could leave this in, leave this out, or alternatively I have some Belgian Biscuit Malt lying around (this could add some colour, too, seeing as that seems to be the direction of travel). I'd really welcome some feedback on that ^_^.
3. Thanks - I'll leave the Irish Moss for now.
5. Again, your advice is consistent and clear. I'm gonna add 225g (8oz) to the recipe and look into the inverting thing as well.

I'll definitely do a starter (first time for everything ^_^) although I might have to go a bit more "rough and ready" (give it a swirl every time you walk past, I've heard!). I'm planning to give it a nice long primary, bottle, and leave for at least a couple of months as recommended...

I'll try a step-mash as you recommended, RonPopeil. I have an electric mash tun / boiler kettle, so could I simply step-mash by turning this up until I hit the right temperature for the second rest?

Thanks again for the excellent feedback and any more insights greatly welcome. Will re-post updated recipe in a couple of days ^_^
 
1) I've put carapils in for head retention (never used it previously). Is that right, and is that the correct amount for that?

First, are you experiencing foam difficulties? If not, don't try to solve a problem you don't know you have. Second, if you are experiencing foam difficulties, explore other possible causes. 90% of the time ingredients won't make any difference, because the cause is something else.

2) Are the Munich and Melanoidin right for this recipe? I've got some left over from a failed batch of Revvy's Leffe Clone (it was my first go at all-grain) and I don't want them to go to waste...

I'd omit them both. You've already got lots of bready, crackery, malty constituents in the Maris Otter. It's already a malt-hammer. Adding the others will turn it into a malt-based tactical nuclear weapon.

3) I'm aiming to improve clarity with some Irish Moss. Is that appropriate, and if so what kind of quantity?

Yes, it's appropriate. You determine the quantity by consulting the dosage rates for that particular product. If the package doesn't have recommended usage and dosage, get it from the shop assistant where you bought the stuff. If they don't have it, look it up on the internet.

Ron is right that clarity isn't a huge issue in this style. But it is always wise to knock out as bright a bitter wort as possible. This reduces trub loss in the fermenter. I always use a kettle coagulant, even in wheat beers, for this reason. (Looks down at signature) Trub loss is money lost. ;)

4) I've consciously substituted the traditional pilsner malt for a Maris Otter which is produced locally. Is that ok, or is it totally crazy? I'm not aiming for something precisely to style but of course I do want a nice beer.

Of course it's not crazy. It'll still make a nice beer! :D I have to point out that Belgian brewers use Continental Pils malt, which even in 2014 is less well-modified than UK and USA base malts. The process of economically mashing less-modified Pils malt has a profound effect on the end product.

5) I know lots of strong Belgian ales call for some sugar near the end of the boil. Does anyone know what the effect of this would be, perhaps reducing the grain bill to aim at a similar ABV?

The short story is that people drink more Bitter than Barleywine! Strong ales have a tendency toward promoting satiety rather than making a beer "moreish". People will drink more of a beer which uses, say, 20% sugar than they will a 100% malt beer. Sugar lightens the body and makes the beer finish more dry and crisply, which promotes the drinker having another. Sugar is also cheaper than malt when purchased in bulk and in terms of potential gravity contribution - if you're a commercial brewer that's important.

There's more - MUCH more - surrounding sugar and adjunct use and why craft-brewers shouldn't be as afraid of it as they are. I can fire out the whole lecture if you want, but it's really beyond the scope of this thread. ;)

6) The FG seems quite high? Is it ok, and what effect does a high FG have? If it's not ok, how would I reduce it?

A high FG is one of the things which affect satiety. You can attenuate the beer more fully by any number of methods.

One is mashing low and slow - mash at 148F and let it sit there for 90 minutes. Of course this assumes you have a well-insulated mash tun.

On the other hand, Ron is right that a step mash is an excellent option, though I disagree with both the temperature and the length he recommends for a rest. :) 60C is the temperature recommended by Fix and Narziss for an initial rest temperature. 30 minutes is far too long when using highly-modified malts (like any USA or UK pale malt). Anything longer than 10-15 minutes will actually reduce foam retention. Performing that rest tends to enhance foam retention, but going too far will reduce it. I like Ron's method of raising the mash temperature; it's like a decoction, and will actually add flavor compounds you'd otherwise get from the Melanoidin malt.

Another is removing the Melanoidin and Munich malts. I know you want to use them, but you don't need them, and they'll have a significant impact on FG.
Another is using around 20% sugar. You don't need to bother with making or buying candy sugar or invert sugar. Plain ol' cane or beet sugar will do.
Another is ensuring you pitch a sufficient quantity of healthy, fresh yeast. You're looking at building a starter, bub. ;)
Another is using a yeast nutrient.
Another is ensuring proper aeration of the bitter wort.
Another is agitation of the beer after the vigorous primary ferment is complete (I don't recommend you do this; I list it for reference's sake).

To summarize:

Omit the specialty grains. Replace 20% of the pale malt with sugar (added late; I add sugar at flameout, when I start the whirlpool). Mash in at 60C, hold for 10 minutes, raise the temperature as Ron describes (or add boiling water) to 70C and hold for at least 30 minutes. Do use the Irish moss. Chill as rapidly as you can. Ferment with a hardy, flavor-appropriate yeast, and use a yeast nutrient. Aerate well.

That's about all I can think of before breakfast. ;) Have fun! :mug:

Bob
 
Thanks, Bob! There’s certainly an art to this brewing lark, isn’t there? Although naturally there are differences in your advice, I think I’m coming to some kind of conclusion. Also just upgraded from QBrew to Beersmith, which interestingly is giving me some markedly different colour, OG and FG readings (notwithstanding the changes to the recipe).

Seems to be a broad consensus to take out the speciality malts, so I’ve removed those. Re: head retention, I’m inclined to keep the carapils (for insurance) but also Bob is indicating that his step mash may help with this, so I’m going with something thereabouts. Still in two minds about the Irish Moss. Since I’m still a novice, and there are lots of new techniques for me to learn already with this brew, I might go with the simple demerera sugar over candy sugar. Ron and Beersmith are requesting a 2l starter so I’m going to give that a go.

I’ve pulled back on the gravity a bit by reducing the amount of base malt (they come in 3kg packs here, so I’ve gone for that). I guess this should reduce the malt profile back a bit more into the stylistic range... not sure if I’ve gone too far the other way…

Given these changes, Beersmith now says I’m brewing a Golden Strong Ale, which is fine by me. Estimated OG 1.074 FG 1.013 (much better FG ^_^), est ABV 8%. As always, observations welcome…

***

Style: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 17.86 l
Post Boil Volume: 14.56 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 12.00 l
Bottling Volume: 10.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 5.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 28.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.9 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
12.00 l Bristol Water 1 -
3.00 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 82.2 %
0.15 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.1 %
30.00 g East Kent Goldings (EKG) [5.00 %] - Boil Hop 4 22.9 IBUs
20.00 g Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 5 5.7 IBUs
0.16 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 6 -
0.50 kg Dememera Sugar [Boil for 5 min](2.0 SRM) Sugar 7 13.7 %
1.0 pkg Trappist High Gravity (Wyeast #3787) Yeast 8 -


Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 3.65 kg
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash step 1 Add 20.28 l of water and heat to 60.0 C 60.0 C 10 min
Mash step 2 Add 0.00 l of water and heat to 70.0 C 70.0 C 30 min
 
...not that I'm obsessed or anything, but was just having a little read up about enzymatic rests. Bob - is your advised 60C 10 minute rest a protease rest? Wikipedia says that this rest improved head retention and reduces haze, so I'm guessing this is what you are proposing. However, temperature of 60C sits in between the temps for protease and beta-amylase (62-67C) according to wikipedia. I'm guessing the whole thing works of a continuum so that, for example, the mash is still working on the proteins at the lower end of the beta-amylase range anyway...

beta-glucanase : 40-45C
protease : 50-54C
beta-amylase : 62-67C
alpha-amylase : 71-72C

However, with this info, I'm considering reducing the temperature by a couple of degrees for the first step. Secondly, I still favour a cleaner, lighter beer, (and value this over potential addition of flavours a higher mash temp might add) so was wondering about reducing the temperature of the second rest back towards Ron's suggestion of around 67-68C, perhaps holding for another 15 minutes. Finally, since I am mashing in my electric mash tun/kettle, I'll be increasing the temperature using the element, which I estimate should take around 5-10 minutes.

New step-mash proposal : 58C for 10 minutes, increasing to 67C for 45 minutes (increase in temp will take around 5-10 minutes).

Any thoughts?
 
My thoughts are to listen to Bob. He knows what he's talking about.

And a 68F ambient temp is good for 3787. Just chill it to below 65F before pitching. Then give it plenty of time. This yeast starts off strong and then slows to a crawl at the end. If you can warm it as it slows, all the better.
 
Be careful not to obsess too much. ;) A bit of obsession is a good thing, but it's easy to get too excited and go out the other side!

Don't worry too much about hitting exact temperatures in your initial steps. Ramping up to the 60C rest will take long enough that merely passing through the β-glucanase and protease active zones on the way to the target 60C initial rest will let the first two do their job. 60C is hot enough to activate β-amylase. It's on the low end of the range, but it's within parameters. You really want the 70C rest for α-amylase activity.

I agree with Tuborg about fermentation management. 3787 is voracious early and can throw a significant amount of heat. You'll need to control that.

Bob
 
1. You're making a high alcohol beer that won't retain a head regardless of what you do. I don't think you need it.

I'm sorry, but this couldn't be more wrong.

I brew almost primarily Belgian/French styles and I've never had head retention problems.

Even up to 12% my BDSA and BGSA have big fluffy heads.
 
Actually, I don't think your experience trumps Ron's statement.

High-gravity brews tend to suffer foam-retention problems. It has been shown that foam potential proteins are lost more readily from higher gravity worts. Currently there is no simple explanation for this observation. You don't have to believe me. Believe people who study stuff like this for a living.

Your assertion that "this couldn't be more wrong" contradicts basic brewing science. Which means your statement ... couldn't be more wrong. :D

That's not to say your observations are untrue. It's just to say that one can reasonably expect foam-stability problems in a high-gravity, all-malt beer.
 
Actually, I don't think your experience trumps Ron's statement.

High-gravity brews tend to suffer foam-retention problems. It has been shown that foam potential proteins are lost more readily from higher gravity worts. Currently there is no simple explanation for this observation. You don't have to believe me. Believe people who study stuff like this for a living.

Your assertion that "this couldn't be more wrong" contradicts basic brewing science. Which means your statement ... couldn't be more wrong. :D

That's not to say your observations are untrue. It's just to say that one can reasonably expect foam-stability problems in a high-gravity, all-malt beer.

I think we all know Belgian Ales defy science :D
 
But you're right, my statement was rude. I should have said that however that holds true for almost every style, Belgians have a tendency to get and keep big heads even into the higher ABV ranges.

Sorry Ron :mug:
 
It's worth noting that most Belgian styles are not all-malt. Having a proportion of sugar as a nitrogen and protein diluent influences the breakdown of foam-enhancing proteins during the ferment. Different strains of yeast also have an effect.

So I think everyone is kind of right. :D

Now let's all sing Kum By Yah and have a beer. :p
 
My thoughts are to listen to Bob. He knows what he's talking about.

Rest assured GuldTuborg that I come into this with all the humility and deference appropriate for an absolute novice homebrewer conversing with a selection of highly experienced homebrewers and professionals :) - just keen to learn.

On that note, I think I may have missed a crucial point, Bob... I thought that I was bringing the water to temperature first and putting the grains in once I've reached a stable 60C, but your last answer seems to indicate that I should put the grains in and then raise the temperature to 60C in the mash tun. Is that right? Or do I get the water to 40C, put the grain in and raise the temperature to 60C for its first rest?

re: fermentation temperature, I don't have much control over this to be honest (? insulation, ? water bath), but the ambient room temperature is pretty much 20C (68F) in my house at the moment, and since we are approaching high summer it may well increase at the right time as well, so fingers crossed...

thanks again for everyone's input - fascinating and indispensible ^_^.
 
Rest assured GuldTuborg that I come into this with all the humility and deference appropriate for an absolute novice homebrewer conversing with a selection of highly experienced homebrewers and professionals :) - just keen to learn.

Learning is good. ;) At the same time, it's important to apply critical-thinking skills. It's unwise to take as gospel something someone tells you on the Internet. UKIP have a website, too, you know. :p The most important advice I can give you is to read, read, read, and read some more. Even we professionals sometimes do boneheaded things. Just because someone is a pro brewer - or experienced homebrewer - doesn't mean they know what they're talking about!

Now I've set in concrete your faith in my pronouncements, let's move on. :D

On that note, I think I may have missed a crucial point, Bob... I thought that I was bringing the water to temperature first and putting the grains in once I've reached a stable 60C, but your last answer seems to indicate that I should put the grains in and then raise the temperature to 60C in the mash tun. Is that right? Or do I get the water to 40C, put the grain in and raise the temperature to 60C for its first rest?

That's a good point. If you're heating your strike liquor to a temperature above the initial rest - which you need to do, because doughing-in will drop your strike-liquor temperature considerably - you won't pass through the initial stages. Still, doughing-in to 60C will suffice.

The vast majority of base grains available to the homebrewer are very well-modified. They're designed to provide excellent extract in a single-infusion mash. Adding a lower rest encourages certain enzymes present in the malt to do their jobs, jobs they wouldn't be able to do if you mashed in at, say, 150F, and let it rest there. Empirical observations note that a 60C/70C sequence promotes the formation of foam-enhancing precursors. That's why I recommend it.

re: fermentation temperature, I don't have much control over this to be honest (? insulation, ? water bath), but the ambient room temperature is pretty much 20C (68F) in my house at the moment, and since we are approaching high summer it may well increase at the right time as well, so fingers crossed...

I preach a pretty strong sermon for fermentation management - which includes yeast pitching rates and temperature control. I preach that the single most important thing a brewer can do to improve the quality and consistency of his brewing is to equip himself with the gear necessary to that end and the knowledge of how to use it. Properly pitching is pretty simple - the calculator at Mr Malty [ http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html ] makes it a cakewalk. But temperature control can be more difficult (and expensive) to master.

If you're pitching at 68F, the temperature in the fermenter can be several degrees higher than that. And it should be, with this style. You want to encourage the yeast to create the esters which make the beer identifiable as "Belgian". So for this beer, don't worry too much about it. But take the time to read up on homebrew temperature control. There's been plenty written about it here on HBT. Equip yourself to take advantage of your new knowledge. Then sit back and enjoy the result. :)

thanks again for everyone's input - fascinating and indispensible ^_^.

It always amuses me when someone says "indispensable" when referring to beer. WE MEAN TO DISPENSE BEER. That's the point! :p :mug:

Bob
 
I once tried to run allotment one year (if your not familiar with the concept, as I'm not sure it's universal, in the UK we have small council run vegetable plots you can hire by the year). I was taking some fresh horse manure from a communal pile to my plot to fertilise the soil. The first experienced old-timer guy I passed told me I needed to get it on my plot as soon as possible, so it would rot down over the winter and would be ready for planting in the spring. The second experienced old-timer I past told me not to put it on my plot whilst it was fresh, as it was the wrong pH, would have parasites, and would render my soil useless.

Even the most experienced will differ on key subjects. In time I'll find what's right for me, my tastes and my set-up ^_^
 
That's why your best friend at this point is a notebook. You should be taking notes on EVERYTHING. You never know when some little thing might come into play. If you don't take careful notes, you'll never figure out what that was.
 
... just brewed this today (recipe below as a reminder). I was quite pleased with the mash process - hit all the temperatures perfectly as described. Weirdly, though, my original gravity has come out as 1.066 - considerably lower than the estimate (1.077). Not sure why this has happened, but if it attenuates well it should still come in at a highly drinkable 7% AVB. I'm not too disappointed but I'm definitely puzzled...

12.00 l Bristol Water 1 -
3.00 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 80.0 %
0.15 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.0 %
30.00 g East Kent Goldings (EKG) [5.00 %] - Boil Hop 4 22.4 IBUs
20.00 g Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 5 5.6 IBUs
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 6 -
0.60 kg Dememera Sugar [Boil for 5 min](2.0 SRM) Sugar 7 16.0 %
1.0 pkg Trappist High Gravity (Wyeast #3787) Yeast 8 -


Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 3.75 kg
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash step 1 Add 20.28 l of water at 63.2 C 60.0 C 10 min
Mash step 2 Add 0.00 l of water and heat to 70.0 C 70.0 C 40 min
 
Drinking my first bottle of this today. It's a delicious beer but wouldn't win me any prizes. Firstly the OG was far below expected. Secondly still no head retention. I think this may be due to using washing liquid when cleaning my fermenting bucket. Will rinse well and look for alternative methods next time. Thirdly there are some phenol characteristics due to a heatwave during fermentation. I'm either gonna have to start going seasonal or look at temp control.

On the plus side it's a lovely balance, nice appearance bar the lack of head, and has dried out well. The recipe is a keeper but still need to work on my process. Massive thanks to everyone for your input - my first go on the forum and couldn't have imagined a better response!

20140802_195329.jpg
 

Latest posts

Back
Top