This recipe comes from a Brew Your Own magazine, January-February 2015 issue, page 40. We are planning to tweak it a little bit and change it around especially for the yeast and grains that we have access locally from our brew supply store. This is the all-grain version, they also had a extract only recipe.
Mash at 152F for 60 minutes – for a dry crisp Ale
follow with a 90 minute boil
We will update once we brew it and finalize our recipe and results :- )
5 gallon recipe.
5.2 lb Belgian Pilsner malt – substitute for what you can get
4 lb Wheat malt
1 lb light candi sugar – add in last 5 minutes of boil
1/4 oz or 7 grams of Nelson Sauvin hops at 40 minutes after boil starts
0.4 oz or 11 grams of Nelson Sauvin hops at 10 minutes from end of boil
2 to 4 ounces of dried hibiscus – last 5 minutes of boil / the more the more pinkish it will be
1/2 ounce coriander seed – end of boil (crush these before using with a roller of some kind or a beer bottle), let it soak for 5 minutes before starting to cool and chill the wort
We plan to use a 1214 Belgian Abbey yeast here, but original recipe calls for a WLP400 (Belgian Wit Ale) or a Fermentis Safbrew T-58 yeast…
tip: Never, ever pass judgment on a beer style based solely on your home-brewed experience/interpretation of it, ever!!!!!
If your batch didn’t turn out like you hoped, try comparing it to several commercial examples first, then aim to duplicate for which you like the best.
Unless the beer is made from a limited ingredient/batch source or expensive to acquire ingredients/limited authorized and/or controlled batches, Belgian beer is mostly pricy because of the name to pour reputation developed over time. This is not an attack at all on Belgian beers, if anything, you have to give them Belgian a Thumb up Bro and thanks for sharing your creations with the rest of the world!
Belgian beers are not just made by Monks, clearly we are the non-monks here and love to brew them! There isn’t much to it when you really think about it, there is a beer recipe, and you follow it and brew it and bamm, you have Belgian beer, that’s it!
Out of the dozen or so different Belgians we have brewed here so far, I would have to say that the only factor that stands out in making them a little bit more expensive to brew than other beers is the slightly more expensive grain bill due to many being a Double, Triple and even some Quads, and of average a longer time is required to age them, bare minimum of 3 months, averaging 6 to 12 months (varies by style), the recipes are not any harder to follow or brew than non-Belgian beers.
What makes a Belgian beer taste Belgian-y ?
It’s mostly the flavors put off by the Belgian yeast, fermented at higher temperatures. Belgian yeasts tend to produce distinct spicy to fruity flavors, in addition the use of adjuncts to lighten the body of the beer and increase the gravity are employed, like the use of Belgian Candy sugar.
So yes, when you pay $15 a glass at some fancy Bar, you are paying for the export recognition name, the History and bar markup prices, especially if the beer was brewed locally and is not imported from Belgium.
Fermentation took a solid week. ABV 8.9% // SRM 25
90 Minutes Mash at around 148F, followed by a 45 minutes at 158F, then mash-out at 170F // what we did different this time, used more grain and no Belgian Candi was used. Also, the 2 lb of Caramel 40L was split into 1 lb 40 and 60 Caramel each.
grain schedule (cost of grain bill was $47 from a brew store
Pale 2-row 27.50 lb
Torrified Wheat 1 lb
Chocolate Malt 350L 1.5 lb
Caramel 40 Love 1 lb
Caramel 60 Love 1 lb
hops schedule (whole hops cost was free, since we grew our own hops // pellet we buy it by the pound, this way cost averages down by ounce )
1.5 oz of whole hops Cascades, at start of boil
1 oz of pellet hops, Cascades at 30 minutes
1 oz of pellet hops, Cascades at 45 minutes + Irish Moss
yeast (we maintain our own, so this is almost free)
The yeast was the 1214 Belgian Abbey from 2014 brew which was sitting in the fridge all this time; we made a starter, and like a Boss! 2 liter starter, 48 hours.
December, 2014 Brew below:
90 minutes at 142F, than raise temps to 158F and hold for an additional 45 minutes, Mash out.
Over Ratio Grains Recipe:
80% pale 2-row
5% torrefied wheat
5% Belgian Chocolate mail
10% Caramel Malt (40L)
1lb of Belgian Dark Sugar Syrup
Hops schedule for a 5 gallon batch:
1 oz at start of boil – Willamette
1 oz at 30 minutes – East Kent
1 oz at end of boil – East Kent
for this recipe however we used Cascade hops for the whole thing, because we have a lot of them from the 2014 Harvest :- ) and also, these were the exact grains that we used, sometimes you have to substitute based on what is available where you live, you can also order exact grains and have them delivered, probably costs more money…
For the 10 gallon batch, we used:
24 pounds of Golden Promise – which is a pale 2-row malt
3 pounds of Crystal Malt, 40 Lov. (40L)
1.5 pounds of British Chocolate Malt (450-500 L)
1.50 pounds torrified wheat malt – it increases head retention and body / version of flaked wheat
1 LB of Dark Brown Candi Sugar
1 LB of Dark Belgian Candy Syrup
double the hot schedule for a 10 gallon batch ( see above )
We used 1214 Belgian Abbey yeast on this one!
12/21/2014 Brew OG 1.082
mashing stage with re-circulation:
Ferment for 2 ~ 3 weeks at about 70F, read your yeast specs…
Yeast – many different type of Belgian yeasts exists, please do your research…
Achouffe — Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) and White Labs WLP550 (Belgian Ale)
Chimay — Wyeast 1214 (Belgian Ale) and White Labs WLP500 (Trappist Ale)
Du Bocq (Corsendonk) — Wyeast 3538 (Leuven Pale Ale)
Duvel Moortgat — Wyeast1388 (Belgian Strong Ale) and White Labs WLP570 (Belgian Golden Ale)
Rochefort — Wyeast 1762 (Belgian Abbey II) and White Labs WLP540 (Belgian Abbey IV)
Orval — White Labs WLP510 (Bastogne Belgain Ale)
Unibroue — Wyeast 3864 (Cana-dian/Belgian)
Westmalle — Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity) and White Labs WLP530 (Abbey Ale)
A Counter Pressure bottle filler is a great device that is almost a need to have for any serious home brewer. You can make your own too, but it is recommended to just buy one – unless you have a proven design and access to good parts.
You will get clear, sediment free beer :- )
We really like the one valve design with a pressure relief valve on the left side, this allows for pressure to escape as you fill the bottle with beer/co2 – otherwise the beer flow would stop… it also allows for foam to escape once it is towards the top.
Tip: Many people recommend that you cool down the beer before filling as this eliminates foam problems, but we found that if you release all the built-up pressure in the Keg first, before connecting the co2 input for this process, it almost eliminates all the foam issues even when filling warm beer that has not been cooled at all – and you can totally skip this step.
In this video we show how the bigger bottle was filled… this was warm beer from the keg at room temperature.
As you can see from the pictures below, you can fill all kinds of bottle sizes and after a few bottles you will get a hang of it really quickly. We fill our bottles at about 11 psi… with a T splitter from the co2 bottle (meaning) that we split the gas line, and left side goes to feed the Keg and right side goes to feed the counter pressure device.
Purge all the air from the bottle with co2, squirt some gas as you insert the device into the bottle
adjust your pressure relief valve
once bottle is fully under pressure and the oxygen (air) is out
switch to beer side and let it rip
some foam is good, because you want to cap-on-foam // so this is a no big deal
We started with 12 gallons of total water, this is for the initial mash and then the followup sparge, we were shooting for 7 gallons, but might have been a little more, maybe 8…
OG was 1.060
AVB 6.30 %
We used a 1/4 lb of hops – 3 ounces were pellet hops and 1 ounce was whole hops. We split each by 12 and added the weight together and added that amount every 5 minutes into the boil.
video of the recirculation:
video of the boil:
from mashtun, nice and black 🙂
the whole Cascade hops used in the brew.. from 2014 harvest…
Sometimes the beer don’t need many different grains mixed in, you can get really good beer results from a basic set of 3 grains. The Pale Malt will be the base of your beer, it represents 90% of your grain bill, the other 2 are your specialty grains.
If you don’t want a Black IPA, simply remove the Carafa III and add more of the 60 Crystal.
90% pale malt
5% 60°L Crystal
5% Weyermann Carafa III Special
Make sure you use the Special Carafa III and not the normal Carafa // otherwise you’ll end up with a hoppy Stout. Also, many brewers employ a trick where they add any dark grain in the last 5 minutes of boil or at end of boil, and let it sit for a few minutes, just enough to change the color, this way you don’t have to worry about any side effects of not hitting your goal.
once boil starts add hops every 5 minutes for 60 minutes
only Cascade hops will be used (single hop)
Use a good strain of yeast or your house yeast for this IPA Ale. We used Wyeast American Ale 1056.
On 6/4/2016 this year, we have brewed a 10 gallon version from last year, we scaled the grains and hops up by a factor of 2. Total water used was 15.5 gallons, and to be honest I think we ended up with 11 gallons total beer. However, this time we use canned Apricots, 5 cans total, they were already soft and super easy to create a puree (see video below) // also cost was much cheaper, 1 can costs $1, so $5 total. At the brew store, canned Apricots extracts were much more expensive $20 – so that’s something to consider…
Yeast, since we maintain our own yeasts, we use that, saves a lot of money and we have great results, Wyeast 1056 was used.
OG 1.056 // on day 3 we added 5 cans of apricots, this for sure raised the sugar levels, but we haven’t figured out exactly how to measure that, fruit calculators do exist, but I am not sure how accurate that really is.. Fermentation was for 2 weeks, below is a 2 week fermentation plot derived from the logger and their respective fit lines. You can see a nice spike when the fruit was added to the fermentor (blue lines are internal temps, orange external [outside the fermentor]).
without factoring in the fruit added on day 3, final ABV 6.3% // which probably is closer to 8% 😉 when you do factor in the fruit.
2015 Brew – 5 Gallon All Grain Recipe – Apricot Ale
This recipe is fairly easy and the finished beer is delicious! The ABV % will range between 4 % ~ 6 % depending on how much fruit you use and what kind and the efficiency of your brew setup and the attenuation of your yeast.
FG – 1.012 // Kegging and Botteling Date: 6/21/2014
We only used 2 LB of Apricots and later 4 ounces of a natural Apricot flavoring – which will most likely push the ABV up a little bit too once it is finished aging. Normally recipe calls for 1 to 1.5 lbs of apricot fruit per each gallon of beer.
9 lb American 2 row
2 lb Crystal 20L
Set your timer and once a nice steady rolling boil has been achieved, then:
add 1 oz Cascade (at start of-boil )
add 1/2 Cascade or (1 OZ if you want more Hops) at last 15 minutes of Boil
– The resultant aroma is of medium strength and very distinct. It has a pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristic. The hop is good for both flavor and aroma uses. It can also be used for bittering effectively, and can be used to make any ales.
2~3 lb of Canned Fruit Puree – add this to the Primary fermentation at day 3 of the fermentation. You can also add some apricot flavorings (you can buy those at the brew store), but add this at the kegging or bottling time.
Apricot Extract/Flavoring or making your own Apricot puree (lower cost)…
Do a test before bottling or kegging if you go with the extract: Take a dropper or pipette with mL measurements and blend a measured amount of the extract into a measured sample of beer, this will help you to find the mix ratio you like, and then simply scale up to figure out how much to add for the volume of beer that you have – most people add 4 ounces per 5 Gallon…
7/28/2015 – on Sunday we are brewing a slightly different variation this year. 80% Pilsner, 10% Vienna, 10% Wheat. Columbus for bittering and Saaz for Aroma hops // using French Saison Yeast #3711 by Wyeast. In addition we will use Raspberries during secondary conditioning for a – French Raspberry Saison… Also we will shoot for at least a Double, so approx. 9% ABV+. The colour we are looking for is a farmhouse straw!
The two pics below were a test pour out of the Fermentor at 2 weeks, the classic staw Farmhouse Ale colour was spot on. The beer tasted awesome as well, only will get much better with time.
Raspberries also come through the best in beers for the flavor, taste and their overall profile. It can turn some beer slightly sour with an unexpected benefit!
OG this time was 1.068… FG was 7 days later (1 week fermentation), for a final of 1.005 – which would put this beer at a approximate 8.30% // not too shabby!
Now to Age // CHEERS!
Here is how the beer looks like at mashout…
and here is how it looks like after 1 week of fermentation with the raspberries added to the fermentor at day 3.
7/20/2014 – we used 12 pounds of grain (per recipe percentage proportions), and 1/2 lb of Belgian Candi sugar (that’s all we had left).. OG – 1.049, FG – 1.009
ABV % – 5.25%
Belgian Saison Ale
Historically a Saison is a french style farm beer, brewed in Fall/Winter for the next season – a harvesting/farmer drink. These days many variations exist, and many good articles too – Google for additional research and ask questions if you are not sure about something.
If you want a traditional Saison don’t add any spices or orange/lemon peels and use traditional German hops like the Noble or something regional from the French area – since this is a traditional French beer. We also like East Kent (even tho they are from the UK) and Styrian – these add a sweet edge to the beer.
Traditional Sainson’s are bottle conditioned and highly carbonated. Color can be Golden to Amber, ABV 3 ~ 5%, modern Sainson can be as high as 6.5%+. Should be moderately hoped to balance out the maltiness for all ABV variations.
Age: 1 ~ 2 months, and up to a year+
60 minute standard mash, some people even do a 90 minute mash
We will post out ( OG , FG ) and final ABV later.
85% lbs domestic Pilsner // we like to use the German Pilsner Malt as substitution.
5% Euro Caravienne
Hops / Additional ingredients:
Once you achieve a rolling boil, set timer:
At start-of-boil add 1.5 oz of Styrian Golding Hops and 1 lb of Light Belgian Candi