1826 Belgian Golden Ale

Third Place, Belgian Strong Ales (18D), 2013 Lunar Rendezbrew
Second Place, Belgian Strong Ales (18D), 2013 New Mexico State Fair Pro-Am
Second Place, Belgian Strong Ales (18D), 2014 Enchanted Brewing Challenge

Brewed 3/10/13
Bottled 5/26/13

1826 days. That's 5 years (including a leap year). A fitting way to celebrate my brewing anniversary. This is an all-grain version of The Shakes, with a few minor tweaks.

I'm still trying to maximize my brewhouse efficiency. Even though this batch calculates to a respectable 81%, there's still plenty more years to practice.

A word of warning: WLP500 yeast is EXTREMELY slow to get going. I pitched without making a starter, and it took about 40 hours to begin bubbling. I researched a few blogs and found that a lag of 36-48 hours is common with this strain, even with a starter. So don't think your yeast are dead. They're just taking their time.

Initial taste tests reveal this brew may be a victim of Acetaldehyde. There is a STRONG green apple taste up front that masks the maltiness. I'm beginning to wonder if I got a bad batch of yeast, which would explain the slow start.

UPDATE: August 4, 2013 - The green apple flavor is all but gone. Someone made the comment that "time is this beer's best friend," and they were absolutely right. These have turned into a great example of a Belgian, adhering to the category guidelines quite well. I'll test it again in a year or so, if there's any left...

Gravities:

Initial 1.084
Transfer 1.009
Final 1.006
10.24% ABV How is this calculated?

Ingredients:

11.75 lbs Belgian Pilsner malt
1.75 lbs 2-row pale malt
7 oz Munich malt
5 oz Biscuit malt
3 oz Aromatic malt
2.0 lbs light candi sugar
1.0 tsp (2.0g) Grains of Paradise seed
2.0 oz Styrian Goldings hop pellets (3.8%)
1.0 oz Saaz hop pellets (3.2%)
1/2 tablet Whirfloc
1 vial WLP 500 Trappist Ale Yeast (allow 36-48 hours for kickoff)
3/4 cup table sugar for priming

Directions:

In 4.5 gallons water, steep grains at 150 for 40 minutes.
Sparge to collect 6 gallons.
Dissolve Candi sugar, bring to a boil, and add 1.5oz Styrian hops. Boil for 45 minutes.
Add 0.5 oz Styrian and 0.5 oz Saaz hops, along with Whirfloc. Boil 10 minutes more.
Add 0.5 oz Saaz hops and Grains of Paradise seed. Boil a final 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, cool to at least 80, then pitch yeast.
Ferment at room temperature (70) for 5 weeks, or until the airlock goes flat.
Transfer to secondary and let settle 3 weeks before bottling.
Bottle and store for at least 1 month before chilling.

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