A Belgian Ale Which Will Rock Your World

March 29, 2012

Beer Recipes, General posting

We got a taste of warm weather, and we all know what means – it’s Belgian time!

With warm weather coming in, it really makes me itch for Belgian beers.  When Pinocchio said, Anything is possible if you just believe, I’m pretty sure he was referring to the world of Belgian brews.

(Got to love the Disney world of beers)

If there are rules with Belgian brews, they are pretty loose and for the most part they are common sense (keep it light and refreshing – for the most part).  You really can use your artistic side when brewing Belgian beers, AND ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Every year my summer project with brewing is to get really good at one style of beer.  That means I go over board on experimenting with a style. Last year was colonial beers (which if you are feeling extra patriotic, time your colonial brewers for the 4th of July), this summer its Belgian brews for me.  I’m on a quest to get a bit out of my comfort zone, expand my palate and my appreciation towards Belgian beers.

(Billy Holiday I know what you mean when you sang, “summertime and living is easy”)

So I wanted to share 2 different recipes that will hopefully spark some interest of yours into the world of Belgians.   I wanted to share 2 of them because I have managed to turn a Belgian into my favorite style of beer, a session brew.  The other well it’s more to, “style”.

Belgian Session Brew – 30 min boil 5 gallon batch

4 oz Crystal Malt 20L

3 lbs Pilsner Malt Extract

4 oz Malto Dextrin

.75 oz Saaz (30min)

.5 oz Saaz (5min)

Saf T-58

OG: 1.023

FG: 1.006

ABV: 2.2%

SRM: 3

IBU:  26.1

Directions:

  1. Heat 2.5 gallons of water up to 150 and steep your grains for 30 min.
  2. Take your grains out, add your dme and bring up to a boil
  3. In the beginning of your boil add .75 oz of Saaz hops
  4. Boil for 25min then add .5 oz of Saaz hops
  5. Boil for 5 min
  6. Kill heat, cool down, fill up to 5 gallons pitch yeast
  7. Primary – 7-14 days
  8. Bottle -14 -28 days

Why Would You Do That…?

Easy to answer, I like session beers.  Now this is a super light session, but again these types of brews are my jam.  The 20L will make it just a tad sweet and add a bit of color to it.  Malto dextrin is a non fermentable sugar, this will add a bit of mouth feel as well.  The Saaz hops are floral and have a bit of spice to them.  They are also low in alpha (3%) which will be good to balance out a light body.

It is light, 2.2%.  So it’s REALLY light.  If you have been working on, “Summer Shape” and working out but want a beer still, this one only has 65 calories per pint so don’t feel too bad having a few of these.

One thing to note with this beer is that it is only a 30 minute boil.  To make this one would be pretty quick.  Also you might see that it has dry yeast as the recommendation.  I generally do this with session beers because it’s odd to me to buy yeast that would cost about half of recipe (session beers are pretty cheap to make if you can take out the expense of the yeast), so I would get dry yeast for this one.  It’s still a Belgian style dry yeast.

If you were going to do this one all grain I would read up on a post we did about the no sparge technique.

If you were going to add any other grains to it I would suggest any of these:

  • Honey Malt – this will bring a sweet flavor to it kinda like honey nut
  • Flaked oats – increase the mouthfeel
  • Aromatic – a bit of Belgian smell
  • Caravienna – much like cara munich but lighter.
  • Acidulated malt – gives a tang to the beer

If you were going to add any or all of those grains I would keep it below 8 oz for the total amount of grains.  Not to many specialty grains are needed for this brew just because it is so light, the balance can be thrown off very quickly.  THINK SMALL!

On that note, if you wanted to add spices to it, add them in the last 10-5 min of the boil.  Half or even quarter what you would normally use in a normal batch as well (we’re talking on the lines of .25 oz of coriander/.25 oz orange peel or even less than that).

Again with small beers, balance is key and it  can be thrown off very quickly.  Less is more when it comes to these small beers.

And now up for another Belgian.

Belgian Blonde Ale

4 oz Carapils

4 oz Vienna

4 oz Victory

4 oz Oat

6 lbs Extra Light Dry Malt Extract

8 oz Light Candi Sugar

1 oz Hallertau (60min)

.5 oz Saaz (5min)

WLP 530

OG: 1.062

FG: 1.011

SRM: 6.78

IBU: 23.7

ABV: 6.6%

Directions:

  1. Heat 2.5 gallons of water up to 150 and steep your grains for 30 min.
  2. Take your grains out, add your dme/sugar and bring up to a boil
  3. In the beginning of your boil add 1 oz of Hallertau hops
  4. Boil for 55min then add .5 oz of Saaz hops
  5. Boil for 5 min
  6. Kill heat, cool down, fill up to 5 gallons pitch yeast
  7. Primary – 7-14 days
  8. Bottle -21 -35 days

Why Would You Do That…?

With a 6.6% ABV you really don’t have to wait too long for it to sit in the bottles.  You will find a lot of Belgian brews to be around 7% or 8% which is I guess to style, but when you have brews that big I typically recommend them to sit in bottles not measured by weeks but by months.  The reason is, they tend to taste, “Hot”. You really start to see that when it comes around the 7.5% mark and you drink it with the timing to a, “normal” ale.   Having this one a bit lower in the ABV (not by too much but by enough) means that if you made it now, you can have it ready in the middle of the summer with ease.

As far as the specialty grains that are in this recipe:

  • Cara pils – helps with the head retention
  • Victory malt – gives a biscuit like flavor
  • Vienna – has some bread tones to it
  • Oats – will make it a bit silky
The hops are pretty mellow hops (noble hops are always clutch to use).

If you wanted to make your own Belgian candy sugar we do have a post about it.  Also if you wanted to do this all grain the post for conversion is helpful.

Being 6.6% it would be a pretty good beer to have once the sun starts to set and you are relaxing.  Typically I wouldn’t think of grabbing one of these after mowing the lawn of doing outside yard work in general.   Is it refreshing though? Most defiantly.

Hope you enjoy, and make sure to leave your comments and questions in the space provided below!

Are you brewing any particular beers this summer time?

 

Related Post

White Labs Yeast Profile

How To Design A Beer Recipe

WYEAST vs WHITELABS

 

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Answering The Question, “Which Is Better Dry Malt Extract Or Liquid Malt Extract?” | Jay's Brewing Blog - January 24, 2013

    […] A Belgian Ale That Will Rock Your World […]

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