Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Golden Bear Brewday 3/5/11

Today we brewed a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, similar to Duvel. A very simple recipe with one hop, one malt, and 2 lbs of cane sugar. The sugar dries out the beer so that it is very crisp at a high ABV.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil Volume: 3 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.072 (including sugar during fermentation)
Measured FG: 1.008
Calculated ABV: 8.5
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 39
Vol. CO2: 2.9
Yeast: WLP570 (Golden Strong)
Measured pitching temp: 63F
Fermentation vessel: AHB Bucket
Days in primary: 16

8 lbs Extra Pale LME
2 lbs cane sugar

3.5 oz Saaz 3.3% AA at 60 minutes

Since the recipe was so simple, the brewday was quite easy, though somewhat complicated by the fact that we bottled the Armadillo Pale Ale in the middle of the boil. Nothing to steep, and only one hop addition. The 3.5 oz addition of Saaz created a thick, green, moss-like coating to the boiling wort that persisted throughout the boil, no matter how many times we stirred it back in.

We made a 1.5 liter starter a few days in advance and crashed it out in the fridge the day before. This volume of a starter would be considered underpitching for a beer of 1.072, as I listed above, but note that we are actually pitching into a wort of 1.054, as we won't add the sugar until fermentation has mostly finished. A 1.5 liter starter is right on target for a 1.054 wort. The starter smelled quite nice, so things are looking up for this beer.

3/6/11: Minor disaster. We ran out of vodka awhile ago, so I had taken to filling the airlocks with sanitizer. Unfortunately, vigorous bubbling during primary fermentation can cause the sanitizer to bubble out of the airlock entirely, quickly lowering the liquid level. So I swapped the sanitizer out for water, and in the course of putting it back in, the stopper was pushed through the hole in the bucket lid, into the beer. After much skimming of the krausen with a sanitized spoon, we managed to retrieve the stopper, and will remember to be very careful with the stopper in the future. I don't expect any ill effects, considering the strength of the fermentation.

Bottled 3/21/11: By far the palest beer we've made so far. A bit more bitterness than I expected, but not overpowering. Slightly tart fruitiness, phenolic, with some malt background.

Tasted 4/2/11: Clearer than anything we've brewed before. Very similar to Duvel, but slightly more bitter (I miscalculated the IBUs because the of the difference between the apparent and actual OG) and without the pilsner malt flavor you get from Duvel. This latter difference is surely because we used extract, but I don't mind because I'm not a big fan of pilsner anyway. Definitely carbonated, dry, crisp, highly drinkable, and delicious. I'd say it's a highly successful brew. We named it the Golden Bear.

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