Tuesday 24 September 2013

Brew Day: Belgian Golden Ale with a Twist!!

We just cannot get enough beer over here so we just keep making more and more and more.... We would like to welcome you all back for another brew day. On this day we will be brewing a Belgian Golden Ale with Chamomile and Juniper berries. Here we go!

So we began by making a starter early in the morning. We sanitized the mason jar and the tin foil in the oven at 350f. While those items were baking away, we added some dextrose to a pot with water and brought that to a boil - to kill germs/bacteria, as well as dissolve the sugar. Once that cooled off we added the sugar/water solution and the WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale Yeast into the mason jar to start breaking down those sugars and reproduce.

The grain profile is as follows: 4kg Pale malt, 1kg Maris Otter, and 1kg Rye malt. We used 50g of Simcoe hops, 20g Chamomile, and 25g Juniper berries.

Our new indoor setup is situated in front of the basement exit. We keep the doors open to evacuate any potentially troublesome fumes.

We use Star San to sanitize our equipment. 

Star San's instant foaming action sanitizes our carboy, helped along by our vigorous shaking.  

Checking the temperature of our strike water (the water that we use to get our grains to the desired mash temp). The amount of water required to attain a 1.25quarts/pound mash ratio is 16.5 quarts, which is heated up to 160f to mash @ 148f for 75min. This helps us obtain a highly fermentable wort. 

Our beautiful mash being stirred up.

Nice plump grains being so kind as to give us all their sugar! An unseen step in the process is the mash-out which is done using boiling water to stop starch conversion, this occurs at 168f.

Taking the first runnings to clarify the wort and vorlauf.

You get the idea.

Transferring the wort to the boil kettle.

Batch sparging the mash to make sure we get as much sugar as possible and reach our desired volume. The water is heated to 185f; hot water helps to loosen up the grains.

We encountered a bit of a stuck sparge so we mixed it a little... definitely not within "best practice" guidelines.

Sparge is now unstuck and filling up again.

Done! Ready to boil. We obtained roughly 6.5 gallons.

Our remaining ingredients.

We hit a pre-boil gravity of 1.028, not great; that gives us roughly an efficiency of 65%.

Let the boiling begin!

A lovely Simcoe hop cone.

Adding all 50g at once before the boil; this helps to minimize the boil over effect.

What a beautiful mess. The fragrance coming from the hops is delicious!

The hops are rehydrating and plumping up. We added them all at the beginning because we do not intend to impart hop flavour or aroma to this beer, we have other plans for it...

The wort has begun to boil, so we give it a nice stir often enough because we suppose it is helpful... The wort will boil for 60min.

All the Chamomile and Juniper berries will enter the wort with 15min remaining to the boil.

Boiling down, you can see the evaporation coming out of the wort.

Cooling Time! Summer time is not ideal for cooling down wort, fall and spring are good, but winter is by far the best.

Cooling in action. You can see water coursing through the tubes; water comes in from the top, right-hand tube and exits from bottom, left-hand tube.

After cooling we take the post-boil gravity, it reads 1.050. So, we should end up with a roughly 5% ABV beer.

The wort is seperated into two carboys, because we have something special planned for it. You will have to wait and see what we have in store...

A nice view of coagulated proteins bouncing around. The foam at the top is from us dropping the beer from high up into the carboys - this helps to aerate the wort, giving the yeast more breathing room.

The yeast is added, the carboys are sealed with an airlock filled with vodka, and covered with their lovely garbage bag jackets.

Thank you all so much for reading about our Brew Day: Belgian Golden Ale with a Twist!!, sorry for not divulging the "Twist" just yet, bare with us for another few days. You may be very interested in what we have hidden up our sleeves.... Way too much hype... OK, fine! We are going to add fruit to them, two distinct fruits, one each for the carboys. Catch the next post soon!


- Jean

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