Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adventures in Homebrewing: Belgian Golden Strong Ale Brewday

Some of the best beers in the world fall under the umbrella of "Belgian Golden Strong Ale" so for my latest venture in homebrewing I decided to, perhaps foolishly, give the style a shot with my own recipe. I wanted to create something in the same vein as DuvelPiraatDelirium Tremens, and an American interpretation, Russian River's Damnation. This is a tall order I know but I'll be entering this one in the Monk Melee Belgian Homebrew Competition so I figured I might as well try something new.

Usually I take my time researching and putting together my recipes but I was feeling impulsive one day at work so I just headed straight over to Wine, Barley, and Hops with a pretty rough recipe in mind. Here's what I ended up going with:

Specialty Grains:
7 oz - Munich Malt
5 oz - Biscuit Malt
3 oz - Aromatic Malt
3 lb - Briess Pilsen Light
1.5 lb - Clear Belgian Candi Sugar
4.5 lb - Briess Pilsen Light (Late Addition)
1.5 oz - Styrian Goldings (60 min)
0.5 oz - Czech Saaz (60 min)
0.25 oz - Styrian Goldings (15 min)
0.25 oz - Czech Saaz (15 min)
0.25 oz - Czech Saaz (5 min)
White Labs - WLP530: Abbey Ale
1 tsp - Irish Moss
0.25 tsp - Grains of Paradise (5 min)

I should also add one of my mother's magnets to the "Misc." list there because a small magnet fell into the boil after I knocked it off of the range...oh well.

I started by steeping the grains in 1.75 gl of water at 150F for 30 minutes then removing from the heat and sparging with about a 1/2 gl of 150F water. Once back to a boil, I added the first 3 lbs of DME, candi sugar, the first batch of hops, about 3 gl of water, and then boiled this for another 45 minutes.

By splitting up the DME into two additions I'm hoping to keep the beer lighter in color with bulk of the Pilsen Light going in with 15 minutes left. The rest of the boil went along without anything too abnormal except for maybe the Grains of Paradise which I'm hoping to get just a bit of peppery-spice from.

With an OG of 1.084, fermentation started within 12 hours and was really aggressive for a couple days. The temperature in the bathroom where I'm keeping my fermenter has been in the low-70's which should work well with this yeast strain. I do enjoy brewing lighter beers like this just so I can sit there and stare at the carboy as the yeast goes wild inside. I think that would make for a great screensaver, just saying.

This'll be racked soon as I'm trying to get this one nice and clear for the competition on October 8th which is being held at the Hulmeville Inn. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to the event because I'll be down in Center City for Brews For Boobies 4 but wish me luck, I'll obviously be keeping you all updated on it's progress. Hopefully that magnet didn't do anything wild in there.


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