Friday, June 6, 2014

#23 Belgian Single - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

As an amateur brewer (in skill, not just pay grade) it can be nice to brew styles that are more open.  There's plenty of room to "experiment" ... or rather, when things go awry nobody notices.  I guess that's especially true of Belgian "styles" because Belgians don't really brew to style anyway.  This next beer is a light Belgian blonde / enkel / patersbier / table beer, which if you couldn't tell by the confusion with the name is even less of a style than your average Belgian.  The idea is for a beer light in color and body, dry and crisp, just enough hops to be noticeable, and that classic Belgian yeast character.  Generally something a Belgian would drink by the liter (not saying I support drinking in metric).  They aren't real popular here in the U.S., but I came across a few other brewing blogs with recipes (listed at the bottom) and the details in Brew Like A Monk helped lead the way.  Take a look at those resources for a real preview of the style as well.

However, the real reason I want to brew this beer is that it will be a test bed for the mashing and fermentation techniques I'll need for my next beer, a quadrupel.  The ingredients for that one will be expensive, and the target more defined, so I'll start with something cheaper.  The Trappist monks use a decoction mash, so I'll try my hand at that.  I've read that it doesn't really make that much of a difference with fully modified malt, but if the monks keep doing it then there must be a reason.  I'll try to keep this post short and leave the exact temps and times for the brewday post.

Another signature of Belgian brewing is the estery yeast character.  I tend to ferment my ales cool to limit esters production, but Trappist breweries often ferment in the 70's and Westvleteren as high as 82F.  While it's not difficult to set a different number on the temperature controller, it's worth taking a practice run to make sure the fermentation profile works as planned: flavorful esters without the harsh phenolic and fusel alcohol flavors.  Again, checkout the the brewday post if you're into specifics.

Belgian Single
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.1 %
Estimated OG: 1.046 SG
Estimated FG: 1.007 SG
Estimated Color: 3.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 34.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 77.4 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt         Name                                     %/IBU
10 lbs      Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)            100.0 %
2.00 oz     Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min            18.9 IBUs
0.55 oz     Willamette [5.70 %] - Boil 60.0 min      9.9 IBUs
1.00 oz     Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min            5.7 IBUs
1.00 Tablet Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)        -
1.00 oz     Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min             0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg     Trappist High Gravity (Wyeast Labs #3787)-

Mash Schedule: Double Decoction, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs
Estimated Cost: $23.45

One last note about the hops.  Originally I was going to go all Saaz, but it's surprising how little alpha acids they have (3.0%) compared to American hops.  I ended up supplementing the bittering addition with some Willamette I had laying around to keep the total hop mass down.  Ideally I would have liked to use something with lower cohumulone like Magnum, but I don't have any on hand and I really don't think it will be noticeable.

The Mad Fermentationist
The Perfect Pint
Odin Brewing

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