Solo Belgian Ale

December 25, 2014- Dickie’s post via Tom

IMG_1300I am trying my hand at a version of a Belgian Ale. I was given an old vial of White Labs WLP545 Belgian strong ale yeast and a bunch of Palisade hops by the brewmaster at 4204 Main St. Brewing. Naturally I had to design a beer around these two items. So technically it’s only Belgian in style as I did not use all Belgian ingredients. This is my first time using candy sugar in a brew. This is also the first time brewing in the big rig by myself.

The day turned out to be pretty nice to brew. The temps got close to 50° and the sun was out. To cut down on the wind and keep the propane tank from freezing excessively, I brewed in the garage. Set up was a bit slow while I worked my way through things mentally.

Grain Bill: – 15 Gallon Batch

  • 25 lb Pilsner
  • 6 lb Munich
  • 6 lb CaraMunich
  • 6 lb Aromatic
  • 1 lb Light Candy Sugar

Hops:

  • Palisade 8.1% Alpha – A few handfuls? Looked right to me.

Yeast:

  • White Labs WLP545 Strong Belgian Ale Yeast

IMG_1298Schedule:

  • 9:00  – Set Up
  • 10:00 – Heat Strike Water to 150 Degrees, Grind Grains
  • 11:15 – Strike temp 140°, Mash in temp 128° (holy Crappadilly!!! I hit a friggin target!!!)
    • Hold 15-20 mins, Super Thick Mash. 43 lbs Grain, 9 Gallons Strike Water.
  • 11:55 – Step Infusion Water Temp 198 Degrees, 7 Gallons
  • Mash Temp 144° Degrees — and so it begins. 6-10° surely this will cause a gravity issue. Try to bump temp then hold 60-90 mins note: got temp to 152°
  • 1:30 – Mash Out, 5 Gallons boiling water, 168 degrees
  • 1:55 – Vorlauf 20 Mins – Interesting Process Alone
  • 2:20 – Collected 18 Gallons of Wort
  • 3:30 – Achieved Boil, Run 90 Mins
  • 5:00 – Cold Break
  • 6:30 – Rack and pitch yeast

OG Gravity reading: 1.062 (Missed the Target of 1.081 calculated and 1.075 min. for style)

Sample: The sample was very good! No off flavors and great color!

IMG_1294This was an experience. It is always a good day when you brew. However, brewing a large batch in the big rig solo is a tough job. The system almost requires two people. I continue to have issues hitting target temps. This is something I need to address and adjust. I was shooting for a “strong dark” Belgian and have what now appears to be just a “special” Belgian according to the styles on Brewtoad. The only thing I can think of is I did not hit the saccharification temps for a long enough period.

December 26, 2014

Carboys are producing CO2. The kid called me at work to let me know one of the airlocks has been overrun by the krausen. So the yeast is going strong.

 

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