Figured I should try another belgian beer now that I have my efficiency issues ironed out. Since I have a hefe in the 5 gallon tank, I decided to do a belgian clone from my BYO magazine as a small batch.
Ended up doing a 1L starter since I didn’t have my dry yeast for this (Fermentis BE 256), and the liquid yeast at the store only had 100 billion yeast cells (this style beer needed more). Didn’t want to waste $$$ on a 2nd smack pack, so I made a starter with some DME.
To better dial in my efficiency, I did a stovetop test to see what is my actual boil off rate. As it turns out, the default in BeerSmith was way off compared to my stovetop. Once I adjusted it down to meet my actual set up, my volumes were much more accurate. Just goes to show – learn the software you are using, and you’ll get great results.
I’m really excited for this beer. The wort was crazy sweet.
Brew notes (I’m not going to regurgitate all of the steps – just the ones that are important):
- 75 minute mash
- 60 minute boil
- Add belgian candi syrup at 60 min (stir to make sure it doesn’t settle to the bottom and scorch
- Hops @ 60 min
- Pre boil SG: 1.069
- missed by a hair – 1.067
- 1.75 gallons
- nailed it
- OG – 1.086 , FG – 1.012
- Killed the OG. Brewhouse efficiency over 83%!
This will be bottled once it reaches its final gravity.
Bought ingredients at my local homebrew store (Bacchus & Barleycorn).
Brew day notes:
- Date: 9/23
- Stove top BIAB set up (used nylon paint straining bag)
- Total time (including cleaning): 4 hours
- Brew day beer of choice:
- KBS baby!!!
- Brew day music of choice:
- n/a – rolling with Two and a Half Men, season 3 in the background, then some FOOTBALL!
- Actual OG: 1.101 – this beer might kill somebody 🙂 This blew away my brewhouse efficiency estimates. I really dialed in my boil volumes this go around, and it appears to have paid off.
- Final OG: 1.032
- Final ABV: 9.2%
- What went well: the wort tasted so darn sweet!
- What went bad: missed pre-boil gravity, but that turned out to be a non-issue.
- Fermentation notes:
- Brew day update – the airlock is bubbling 6 hours after putting in the fermenter!
- 10/6 update – 1.034 – not sure how much lower it will go.
- 10/13 update – 1.032, 2 days in a row. I’m happy with the result, but wonder if I left some efficiency on the table. In my SMaSH Centennial + caramel 20 post, I talked about a problem I had with my mash temp and holding in an oven. For this batch, I used a similar technique, but the oven wasn’t as hot. I wonder if a few longer chain sugars were pulled out by the mash temp rising a bit. That would explain the OG being so much higher than the recipe called for. I won’t pout too much – this is a delicious 9% belgian dark beer. I’m actually drinking the room temp sample in a tulip glass as I type this. It is amazing. I’m cold crashing it now, and will bottle tomorrow during FOOTBALL!
Have you ever brewed this style beer before? Please let us know about your brewing experiences. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share. Thanks!