6 - Belgian Battleground Ale
July 25, 2014 by
Recipe for this
Belgian Ale Home Brew
Northwestern Gold Malt Extract – 6 Pounds
Dark Belgian Candi Sugar - 1 Pound
Crushed Grain, Belgian Ale Blend (.2 Crystal 200, .2 Belgian
Aromatic, .3 Munich, .3 Special B Malt) – 1 Pound
Styrian Golding Hops – 2 Ounces
5. Mt. Hood Hops – 1 Ounce
6. White Labs Trappist Ale Yeast - 1 Vial
Corn Sugar - 1/2 cup
August 11, 2012 - This is another one of our
standard kit beers. As for the brewing, nothing about this home brew
has changed in comparison to our previous five batches.
But, for the sake of brewing correctly, here is the
process as performed by us.
Sanitation is the number one priority. Everything
got a sterilizing bath in the One Step sanitizing solution.
This is a task we perform religiously!
We then gathered about 2 1/2 gallons of filtered water (from
the fridge dispenser) and heated it to about 155 degrees F
in out stainless steel brew pot.
In went the crushed grain bag, where it steeped at that
temperature for about 50 minutes. This was the first
steeping from the 6 home brews this year where the water
turned dark in color. That come from the roasted grain
within the Belgian Ale grain blend.
Important: We have since learned to not add
the grain bag until the temperature of the water has risen
to, and is holding steady at 150 - 155 degrees F. Why?
Well, if you forget about monitoring your water for a few
minutes, you can always adjust for temperatures higher than
155 degrees F. (by cooling, obviously). If the grain
bag was placed in the water as the temperature was rising,
and you step away for a minute, the grains may accidently
steep at a higher temperature and produce off-flavors.
After the 50 minutes of steeping the grains, the bag was
removed and placed in a bowl. We saved the juice and
added it later, during mid-boil. Then the grains went
outside into the garden.
The temperature was increased to a near boil. We
then moved the brew from the heat and added the Belgian
candi sugar and malt extract, stirring consistently.
The concoction was then moved back to heat and
brought to a rolling boil. Total boil time was 55 minutes.
Ten minutes into the boil, we added 1 ounce of the
Half way through the boil - around 25 minutes into it -
we added the second ounce of bittering hops and the leftover
juice from the grain bag...
When the boil was complete, the wort was moved from the
heat and the flavoring hops were added. After five
minutes, we moved the brew pot to a sink of cold water,
added about 3 pounds of ice (from the freezer, which filters
the water). This brought the temperature down to about
105 degrees F in less than 3 minutes.
Next, we added the 3 gallons of chilled, filtered water
we had resting in our glass carboy overnight. Since it
was at a frosty 41 degrees F, the temperature of the brew
dropped instantly to about 60 degrees F. This is
actually cooler than we had anticipated. Since optimum
yeast-pitching temperature is around 72-74, we were
concerned with adding the yeast until the wort warmed to
room temperature. But, after about 10 minutes in the
brew kettle, the temperature came up some. So, we
siphoned the wort back into the glass carboy in preparation
The temperature scale on the side of our carboy
(basically one of those plastic sticker thermometers) read
68 degrees when it was full, so we pitched the yeast...
The carboy was placed in a dark area of the room.
Fermentation started late, around the 36th hour.
Probably because our yeast-pitching temperature was 10
degrees lower than the usual 74 degrees F.
August 14 - 2012 - Fermentation began yesterday
and is fully active
now, with a beautiful rolling "boil" as seen through the
glass carboy. Temperature is steady around 74 degrees
so we expect this to be a homebrew with fruity esters.
August 16, 2012 - Fermentation is steady, with a
plop of the air-lock happening about 2 times per minute.
Temperature is around 72 degrees F. And, the brew is
starting to settle and clear.
August 19, 2012 - Fermentation has pretty much
ceased. Temperature is at 71 degrees and the brew is
clear... dark, but clear. All the sediment has fallen
to the bottom and formed a thick trub layer. It's time
to move to secondary fermentation carboy. But, we will
wait a few more days for good measure. This is
something that you can do without worry. On a previous
batch - our
German Oktoberfest Home Brew - we waited about 1 and 1/2 months before moving to
secondary. We simply didn't have time for "homebrewing".
As a result, we were worried
our beer would go bad. It actually tasted very well in
So, never worry about the length of time you keep your beer
in the primary or secondary fermenter. It's difficult
to screw up your home brew. Of course, we wouldn't
recommend you keep it in the primary for a year or two!
A few extra weeks or a couple of more months beyond what the
recipe calls for usually isn't ideal. But, don't just
toss out your brew because you think it has rested too long!
Continue and you may brew a tasty batch. Look at the
corn flake: a mistake by the cook and now a staple food
enjoyed by millions.
August 23, 2012 - Ok, time to move to the
secondary fermenting carboy. Using a standard
siphoning hose and racking tube, we moved the home brew to
the secondary carboy where we plan to leave it for at least
another week or two...
August 25, 2012 - After two days the brew has done
nothing as far as fermenting is concerned while in the
secondary carboy fermenter. Could this be because we
were too careful in not taking any of the trub/yeast from
the bottom of the primary fermenter (see trub in image
above)? We gave it a good shake and fermentation
started again, but lasted for about an hour only.
A clear indication that fermentation has finally ceased
altogether can be observed because the wort is beginning to
settle: there is a 2-inch portion of clear liquid at the top
of the carboy (see images below).
August 27, 2012 - Settling has continued as the
clearer portion at top has expanded to about half-way down
the carboy. It should be fully settled in a couple
more days. So, we are going to move it to the kitchen
counter for now, in preparation for siphoning. We are
doing this because we have noticed that in the past when we
were ready to siphon our brew to the racking bucket, we
slightly stirred up the sediment/trub layer when we moved
the carboy prior to siphoning.
August 28, 2012 - Interestingly, the clearer
portion has become less than what it was prior to gently
moving the brew to the counter tow days ago. It's not
that the yeast layer became unsettled during the move,
because it didn't. In the picture above, you can see
the yeast layers extends almost half way down the carboy.
That was two days ago. Today, it's barely below the
top ring, which means, the entire layer grew as opposed to
shrinking to the bottom of the carboy. Perhaps a
change in temperature by 2 degrees got the yeast excited
again? So, we are going to keep an eye on this and see
if it continues to get lower as the day progresses.
August 29, 2012 - We decided to bottle the beer
today. We filled 17 of our 1-liter bottles, and 7 of
our green Grolsch bottles.