Third time brewing during this pandemic, and I’m ready for something spicier and boozier (think: Chimay.) Belgian ales aren’t always brewed with spices, and we American imitators always use WAY too much. I did decide to use a blend of spices I like, but aimed for a very very light touch, hopefully emulating natural Belgian yeast traits. “Background strength” as the BJCP guidelines put it.
6 US gallons = 5 Imperial gallons = 22.7 Liters
80% = 9.86 lbs = 4.47 kg, Pale Ale Malt (I wanted Pilsener malt but it wasn’t available)
5% =.62 lbs = 281 g, Bulghur Unmalted Wheat
2% = .25 lbs = 113 g, Medium Crystal 30-37L
13% = 1.6 lbs = 726 g, Amber Invert Syrup
TOTAL: 12.33 lbs = 5.59 kg, plus a sprinkle each of gypsum and sodium bicarbonate.
MULTI-STEP MASH SCHEDULE
118°F/48°C for mash-in, 10 min rest
130°F/54°C for 10 min rest
140°F/60°C for 10 min rest, took 25% DECOCTION, brought to boil then added back
149°F/66°C for 60 min rest, then raised to
172°F/78°C, for VORLAUF and LAUTER.
SPARGE to collect 7.5 US gal/6.2 Imp gal/28.4 L
BOIL hard for 2 hours, reducing to 6 US gal/5 Imp gal/22.7 Liters
- 2018 Tettnang Callista hops, 2.9% AA, 2.8 oz = 80 g, first wort addition
- Whirlfloc tablet, crushed and added at 15 minutes remaining
- Callista hops, ½ Tbsp = .125 oz = 3.5 g
- Cubeb berries (aka tailed pepper, Java pepper), ½ Tbsp = .125 oz = 3.5 g
- Coriander, 1 tsp = .08 oz = 2.3 g
- Clove, 1 tsp = .08 oz = 2.3 g
- Lime zest, 1 tsp = .08 oz = 2.3 g
CHILL, AERATE & PITCH at 62°F/16.7°C.
YEAST: I didn’t have any real Belgian yeast ready, so I’m going with a dual-strain fermentation. A big Urban Chestnut Zwickel Lager starter, at ale temps so it’ll produce some fruity esters, and Bakers’ Yeast for some spicy phenols.
STATS: 78% mash efficiency and 82% apparent attenuation
COLOUR: 11, reddish amber
BJCP STYLE: 26B. Trappist Ale - Belgian Dubbel
Very full mash/lauter tun
Homemade amber invert syrup (basically the same as Belgian candi sugar)
Collecting the first runnings
Weighing the first wort hops
Spice mix: measured, crushed, and mixed
Boiling on the propane burner outside, Assistant Brewer Albus on duty