Brew Day: Daddy's Belgian Blonde Ale
Today I’m brewing something I haven’t brewed before: A belgian blonde.
My objectives with this beer are:
- Very crisp and clear appearance, should look a like a pilsener with good head.
- A bit of a malty and toasty aroma and flavor.
- Balanced hop bitterness and a bit of spicy hop aroma.
- High gravity and alcohol.
- Subtle and complex, easy drinking and delicious.
The majority of the grist is belgian pilsener, but I’m adding a bit of aromatic malt to give it that distinct maltness that plays well with the pilsener. It also has a bit of flaked wheat to aid with head retention and a bit of a creamy body. I’m also adding 2 pounds of light beet sugar from candisyrup.com to contribute some caramelly richness but also to aid attenuation and get even higher gravity.
For this brew, I’m keeping it very classic as it comes to hop schedule. This is not a hoppy beer, and the hops' contribution should be that of balance and a bit of spicyness.
The glowing star for this beer is the yeast. I’ve had a lot of success with WLP510 for big belgian brews, and I think it’ll fit well with this beer for its dry, acidic finish and the mild spicy notes it produces.
I plan on letting this one “lager” in a keg for at least a month before carbonating to aid with clarification and let the high alcohol fusel flavors mellow out.
The recipe ended up as follows:
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||OG||FG||ABV|
Start with RO water. Treat strike water with:
|Calcium Chloride||1 tsp|
|Belgian Pilsen Malt||13lb||92%|
|Whirlfloc||1 tablet||15m left in boil|
|Golden Candi Syrup||2 lb||10m left in boil|
|WLP510 Bastogne Ale Yeast||White Labs||74 - 80%|
Mash at 151F for 90 minutes. Boil for 90 minutes to reduce chance of DMS.
I Treated RO water per the recipe. This brought strike water pH down to 6.1. Along with the salt additions, the mash pH was on target, at 5.4. Didn’t have to treat mash pH at all, even for such a light-colored grist. The approach of using phosphoric acid in strike water rather than adding acidulated malt is one that works well.
I mashed at 151F.
For sparge water, I added 0.5ml of phosphoric acid which brought it down to a pH of 5.7. This is about the right amount of phosphoric acid to add the sparge water without overshooting it!
Fired up the kettle, it started boiling 12 minutes later, and got to the hot break 4 minutes after that. At this point I started the 90 minute boil.
Added kettle additions per the recipe.
Post-boil volume was 6.3 gallons. Chilled and transfered to fermenter where I aerated for roughly 40 minutes.
Pitched two vials of WLP510 as I hadn’t prepared a starter this time around. Stored fermenter at room temperature where it will sit for ~2 weeks.
OG was 1.065
Kegged and took a gravity reading. Ended at 1.011. Leaving at room temp until there’s space in my keezer.