Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Sickle (Belgian Golden Strong Ale) -- Brew Day

The last non-hoppy light Belgian beer that I brewed was my Belgian Single, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The one change that I would have made with it though would be a little higher in gravity and taste a little more "Belgian-y". So, basically that's a Belgian Golden Strong Ale.

The recipe design for this one was essentially an amalgamation of various BGSA recipes that I found online, centered around Vinnie Cilurzo's recipe found in Brew Like a Monk.  I've always been a big fan of Russian River's Damnation, so I'm hoping that the recipe that Vinnie supplied is fairly close to the one he uses for Damnation.

Despite a fairly medium bodied mash temperature at 150f, this should finish dry from the Turbinado added at flameout and the high attenuation of the Belgian yeast strain.  As noted in a prior post, I did a relatively large yeast buy from The Yeast Bay in California.  One of the strains in the purchase was the Dry Belgian,

The Yeast Bay's website describes the strain thusly:

Dry Belgian Ale is single strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated from a unique golden strong ale. The profile is a complex and balanced mix of apple, pear and light citrus fruit with some mild spicy and peppery notes. The apparent attenuation of this strain ranges anywhere from 85-100%, depending upon the mash profile and the grist composition.

For a yeast that's as dry as it is, it creates beers with a surprising amount of balance even without the use of specialty grains or adjuncts. While we haven't completed our own tests in house, this yeast is used at the brewery from which it was isolated to make big beers that are in the neighborhood of 12-16% ABV and sufficiently dry. Use Dry Belgian Ale as a primary fermenter in any big Belgian beer, or to unstick that pesky stuck fermentation.

To achieve high attenuation, we recommend fermenting with this strain at 70-71 ºF for the first 2-3 days, and then bumping up the temperature to 74-75 ºF for the remainder of fermentation.

The blogger over at Brulosphy did a test with this yeast for The Yeast Bay and had a pretty interesting writeup.  In his experience, this yeast attenuated below 1.000 and left very nice, subtle fruity and pepper Belgian esters without any of the bubble gum flavors that can be present in a warm-fermented Belgian.

I'm planning to carb this bad boy up to around 2.8 - 3.0vol to have it ready for Thanksgiving.  The brew day went pretty normal, with efficiency and OG coming in on target.  I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this finish much dryer than predicted by Beersmith, though.

I'm tired...touch meh.

The Sickle (Belgian Golden Strong Ale)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.067
Est FG: 1.009
Est ABV: 7.7%
IBU: 32
SRM: 6

11.0lb Pilsner Malt
2.0lb White Wheat Malt
1.0lb Munich Malt
0.5lb Carapils
1lb Turbinado Sugar (add at end of boil)

1.0oz Styrian Goldings @ FWH (19 IBU)
1.0oz Styrian Goldings @ 30 min (12 IBU)
1.0oz Saaz @ Steep 5 min (2 IBU)

1000ml starter Yeast Bay Dry Belgian

Mash @ 150f for 60 minutes.  Ferment free rise in the mid 70s.

10/16/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Nothing to note during the brew day.  Strong fermentation started quickly. Krausen subsided after a few days.  Beer is still pretty cloudy, perhaps the yeast isn't that flocculant and could benefit from a cold crash.

11/6/2014 -- Cold crashed.

11/8/2014 -- Cleared up nicely.  Great clean Belgian flavor.  Bottled and carbed to 2.9vol.  Final gravity came in at 1.006, one of the driest beers I've brewed without brettanomyces.


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