Monday, May 21, 2007

Belgian Pale Ale - Conception - Recipe & Brewday Stats

First off, I have to give a lot of credit to my wife Sarah. She's been more "open" to trying my beers, and beer in general. As a result, she's found out which styles please her taste buds. For quite some time her beer of choice was Lindemans Framboise. She has also enjoyed a number of IPA's, including the DC Rye IPA I brewed a couple years back. But now she's found a new favorite called Tripel Karmeliet put out by Brouwerij Bosteels in Belgium. This beer gets great ratings on Beeradvocate (90) and Ratebeer (98), and I would agree with most of their comments. It's like a big Belgian/wheat beer with a great big citrus/caramel aroma and flavor with a mouthfeel thats super smooth, creamy and well carbonated.

With hopes to make Sarah happy, I'm getting ready to brew my first "Belgian" style. Though it wont come close to the Tripel Karmeliet, it will be a good basic Belgian pale ale to build future recipes on. For this one, I'm going for a golden refreshing summer brew...a Belgian Pale Ale. With a target OG of about 1.051, the ABV will come in at about 5%.

The ingredients are mostly Belgian with a little Munich and Indian Jaggery. A mild addition of Styrian Goldings and Saaz will add to its complexity and provide some bitterness and flavor. Mild spice additions will lean towards very light "peppery" notes with just a sprinkling of orange rind and coriander (since I didn't get good Indian coriander and orange, we decided to not include these ingredients).

I've never used Belgian yeasts before, but I think the Wyeast Ardennes should provide a balanced Belgian flavor. This will be the first time I'll try out a "batch sparge" technique. After hearing Denny Conn talk about it on Basic Brewing and reading his site for the 3rd time, I'm intrigued. (his article is also at TastyBrew)

Brewday was yesterday, Sunday, May 20th. Batch sparging went well. Not that I'd want to, but if I had to, I think I can brew alone with this method. I also agree with my bro that fly sparging is more fun with more people. The first water addition was added at a water/grain ratio of about 1.85qts/lb, and after flushing the first runnings we hit 3.75 gallons perfectly. After adding the second 3.75 gallon mashout water addition we hit the temp right on at 170*F, and again flushed 3.75 gallons. This resulted in a perfect 7.5 gallons of runoff.

Now comes the part that is sort-of boggling my mind. I took a pre-boil gravity and it came out to about 1.037...very low. So after plugging in some calculations I decided to correct the situation with a longer boil and added .25 lb more jaggery cane sugar. We also scaled down the bittering hops by .25 oz.

After it was all said and done, the final gravity came out high? 1.058! Not sure how that happened. I'm siding with the second of two possibilities: 1. Boiling really did raise the gravity significantly? 2. The gravity contribution of jaggery is impressive?

Thanks Travis for your comment. It pushed me to search out the answers. Using TastyBrew calculators, it looks like the jaggery sugar contributed about 5.8 gravity points. The boiling from 7.5 gallons to about 5.9 gallons rose the "grain" gravity by 11 points (very good to know, and much more than I thought). And my brewhouse efficiency for that day was about 79.4%.

Belgian Pale Ale
5.9 gallon primary

Fermentables (OG: 1.058)
7 lbs. Dingeman Belgian 2-Row Malt 3.2*L
3 lbs. Durst Munich Malt 8.3*L
.5 lb. Dingeman CaraVienne 21*L
.25 lb. Dingeman CaraMunich 57*L
.75 lb. Jaggery Palm Sugar

Hops & Spice (IBU: 22)
1.25 oz. Styrian Goldings, 4.8%, pellets, 60min.
.25 oz. Styrian Goldings, 4.8%, pellets, 15min.
.25 oz. Czech Saaz, 2%, whole, 15min.
.5 oz. Czech Saaz, 2%, whole, 5min.

Wyeast 3522 - Belgian Ardennes (forgot to activate the pouch until wort chilling phase, but its just an indicator that yeast is alive and well)

Brewday Stats

Water Adjustment: .3g gypsum/gallon, .3g CaCl/gallon

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.85qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.2
Sacch Rest Temp: 152*F
Sacch Rest Time: 1 hr
Pre-boil Vol: 7.5 gallons
Boil Time: 1.5 hrs
Post-Boil Vol: 5.9 gallons

OG: 1.058
Color: 8-9 - Golden Amber

Brewhouse Efficiency: Approx. 79.4% (using TastyBrew calculators)

Fermentation Temp: 74-77*F
Cost: $30.70, .54 cents/12oz bottle, $3.24/6-pack

Please check out a brief description of this beer at here.


Travis said...

After it was all said and done, the final gravity came out high? 1.058!

Did you cool the early gravity reading to the right temp? It seems like a no brainer, but I brew alone, and last time I was brewing and my mind was elsewhere. I took a reading and it was low. So I did an aggressive boil down and wound up .010 over my target! I added water to get close, but I had not realized what I did wrong until I went over the whole thing in my brain.

Ted Danyluk said...

Travis, I noticed you had a similar situation after reading a post of yours. I did cool the wort before taking the readings. I'm not used to taking a pre-boil reading, and wonder how much it changes after the boil (boiling off about 1.5 gallons). From my memory, it only changes about 3-5 points, but I'd like to figure that out. Would you know?

I guess fixing wort gravity can't be done too haphazardly. But taking many samples is cumbersome.

This calculator will hash out pre/post-boil gravities and brewhouse efficiency...

By using the above calculator and their recipe calculator, I've figured out a few things...

-The Jaggery contributed about 5.8 points.

-Boiling from 7.5 gallons to 5.9 gallons rose the "grain" gravity 11 points.

-My brewhouse efficiency was about 79.4%

Tastybrew has been very accurate. Do you use these kinds of calculators? Thanks for your comment, it made me search out the answers. I'll post this info in the original entry.

Travis said...


First off, that's a great calculator! Good find. I have seen a lot of free things out there, and I listened to the Basic Brewing radio podcast on brewing software. I am a spreadsheet man myself, but I am going to give some of these programs a try.

So anyway, after reading your response, I revisited my recipe, efficiency and the calculator and found a very obvious source of my over shot on OG. I added 1lb of candi sugar as opposed to the .5lbs that the recipe called for. Mystery solved!

Seriously though, it was just me being arrant and dumping in the whole bag instead of a 1/2 bag. easy enough. I may be a little off on my efficiency as well, but that sounds plausible.

Thanks and I will be sure to post up on my blog if I try some beer software.


Unknown said...

Honey, it's awful nice of you to brew a belgian for me. I will never forget my first Tripel Karmeliet experience...

David said...

Brilliant of you to post the cost per 12oz. bottles and the 6-pack! NoMeansNo would be proud of you, even though you forgot to mention there is no liquor tax on home brew! I am very psyched to drink your first Belgian brew! Cheers, mate.

Ted Danyluk said...

Sarah, I just hope you will love this pale ale. It should have all the Belgian yeastiness, with a very low bitterness and hop profile, which should be nice. But it won't have the citrusy, spicy or floral character you find wonderful in some commercial examples.

David, thanks again for helping out with this brew. Our first time "batch" sparging went really well. Because we used a very small amount of whole hops, the yeast sediment I collected is all very smooth and white. I wont have to separate the good yeast form the rest of the trub junk.

Also, it looks like I simply forgot to add a couple things into the cost of this beer. The Jaggery, and shipping costs. Together, these contribute about 13 cents per bottle. That will raise the cost from .41 to .54 cents per bottle. I'll go change that in the post. Still its awesome, especially after comparing it to the prices for micro-brews at the corner liquor store...$10.99/6-pack! Yikes!

Yeah NO LIQUOR TAX, but... I'd like to figure out how much we're spending in natural gas while running 2 burners at full blast for 1.5 hours plus heating up the strike/sparge waters. I'm sure that adds a few bucks.

Wonder if anyone knows how to figure that out.


Hi there Ted.

I am hoping to use some jaggery / panela in a Saison recipe this week. I am having trouble finding an acurate extract potential figure for this kind of sugar.

What value did you use for this recipe?


Ted Danyluk said...

Merkin Man,

Jaggery is a unrefined sugar made from cane juice. It's fermentability, I would imagine is fractionally less than refined sugar due to its content being more nutrient rich. However, I did input cane sugar as the ingredient in my recipe.

The flavor of the jaggery was definitely unique, not cider-like, but a definite sweet "candy-like" flavor was noticeable with the amount I used. If you have more flavors coming from more character malts, it may blend better, otherwise, try using it along with some candy sugar or corn sugar. Definitely worth a try, and it should present a unique quality to your Saison.

Hope this helps. Let me kow how it turns out.


Thanks for the help, Ted. I am brewing up the Saison today.

Anonymous said...


I just found your site and really enjoyed reading the articles and detailed notes on each brew. Thanks for taking the time to document your success!

As far as your gas costs...

If you are using bottled gas (i.e. propane) just weigh the bottle before and after your brew day. From the weight of fuel that you burned, you can calculate the $$$. If you are using gas from your house/stove, I guess you will have to look at the meter. Your gas bill should give you a $/unit of gas used. Take readings from your meter before and after your brew. If you have gas heat or gas water heater, make sure they don't come one while you are brewing and throw off your readings. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Wyeast Ardennes is very slow at room temp. Wyeast's temp range is suspect. I use this yeast at up to 90F with great success. I've also noticed very slow activity at room temps: TURN UP THE HEAT!

Anonymous said...

How long did you let ferment?