Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brewing of a Belgian Golden Ale

A little over month ago, a few of us homebrewers got together to brew up a batch of beer for this year's homebrew party at my buddy Matt Aerni. To start, Matt and I wanted to think of a beer, something that would not to take to long to mature into a good beer, but something that would definitely age if a bottle or two is held back. The original thought was to develop a sour recipe, but that would take way to long to mature. After spending some time looking at different recipes on the Internet, it was that a Belgian Golden Ale would do good.

This recipe design and most of the brewing process I was able to refrain myself from taking the reigns and taking over. The idea, design, and the whole brewing process I let Matt take over. Plus, this is the maiden brew for Matt's new system, plus we decided to start a homebrew club (in which I will talk aboot later).

For this beer, it was decided to do a longer boil to do some caramelization. Another thing that we did was to use an additional adjunct malts to give more aromas and better mouthfeel.

Malt Bill:
14# Belgian Pilsner Malt
0.5# Melanoiden Malt

On brew day (Sat. 21 July, 2012), we began with boiling water and pre-heating the mashtun. The grain was crushed the night previously. We decided to keep the recipe simple by doing a single infusion with a batch sparge. When water reached the optimal temperature (165 ºF), we mashed in while stirring to reduce the amount dough ball that could form. We let the mash steep for an hour.

When running off the wort from the mash, we preformed a vorlauf to clear the beer. This process clears the wort by using the grain bed as a filter for the wort. We then sparged with 170 ºF water to rinse the grain of any left over sugars. Our final volume before the boil was around 7 gallon with a pre-boil gravity of 1.066.

Once the wort started to boil we added 2# of Clear Candi Sugar. We let the wort boil for 90 minutes while adding the following hops with the scheduled times:

Hop schedule:
Stryian Hops (60 min.)
Styrian Hops (30 min.)
Saaz Hops (20 min.)
Saaz Hops (15 min.)
Saaz Hops (10 min,)
Saaz Hops (5 min.)

When the boil was complete, the beer was cooled to 80 ºF. It took long enough to get it that low, being 90 ºF outside. The original gravity came out to a whopping 1.104. The wort was poured into a sanitized fermenting bucket and a flask of yeast starter with WLP570 Golden Ale Yeast was poured into the bucket. 

After 3 weeks the beer was transferred to a glass secondary fermenter. A week after the beer was bottled in 12-oz. Bottles with a FG of 1.016. That gives this brew a ABV of 11.8%.

EDIT:  I have to give credit to Alex Allegree for all of the photos.

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