Brewed – Belgian Blonde

Brewed – Belgian Blonde

Belgian Blonde In PrimarySo, my first 10-gallon brewday was by and large unremarkable. It was a bit odd heating up a volume of strike water that’s closer to my normal pre-boil volume than anything else, but unfamililiar territory aside, I hit my mash numbers on the button and ran off 12.75 gallons of 1.053 wort, which put me at 89% efficiency coming out of the tun. Not at all bad considering the grist was 40% wheat. Rice hulls? We don’t need no stinking rice hulls. I continue to be happy with the new manifold I built, and the mill that I bought earlier this year.

Since the handle rivets leak on my 15.5 gallon pot, I decided to wing the second half of the brewday and boil in my keggle for the first time. I had only a rough idea what the boiloff rate would be, so I chose to err on the high side, expecting something close to or a little less than my other pot. Instead, I ended up with 11, but I was still a hair above the target O.G for this recipe (1.059 vs 1.057 expected at 75% efficiency for 10 gallons). So, everything went great up until the point when I turned off the flame and started chilling.

I’ve never had a problem dropping 5 gallon batches to pitching temps mid-summer with my 25′ copper immersion chiller, but I hit a wall with this volume around 95° and short of watering my entire lawn, it was clear I wasn’t going to make any substantial progress toward pitching temps in a reasonable amount of time, so I knocked out into two carboys and threw them in the fridge to chill further while I headed out to run errands.

I should have a temp controller built for my fermentation fridge in a few weeks, but I don’t see any more 10 gallon batches in my future until I can figure out what I want to do in terms of a pump, kettle fittings, and how I need to modify my wort chilling to make that process quicker in the few warm months we get. I’d love to go with a plate or counterflow chiller, but I don’t like what happens to my hop utilization using mesh bags, and I use pellet hops almost exclusively, so I have some pros and cons to weigh, and probably some more DIY in my future.

As for this batch, I’m going to keg 5 gallons after a good cold crash and drink it fresh while summer is still here. I’m thinking I’ll split the remainder and experiment with some brief aging on fruit.

Belgian Blonde Fruit Insanity Thing

  • Batch Size: 11 gallons
  • Total Grist: 20.5 pounds
  • O.G: 1.058
  • F.G: 1.011
  • Brewhouse Efficiency: 85%
  • Boil Time: 60 minutes

Fermentables

  • 10# US Two-row
  • 8# Wheat Malt
  • 1# Crystal 10L
  • 1# Flaked Wheat
  • 8oz Caravienne

Hops

  • 2oz Willamette @ 60m (not bagged)

Notes

2012/07/08 – Brewed early-afternoon. Knocked out 11 gallons at 90°.  Fermenters went into the fridge and chilled for about 4 hours until pitching. Carboys were shook for 3 minutes each to aerate and a 2000mL starter was split between the two carboys. Fermented in a cold-water bath at ~68-70°

2012/07/23 – Fermenters moved to fridge to cold-crash

2012/07/27 – Racked 6 gallons of beer onto 5# frozen strawberries in a bucket fermenter. Bucket went back into the fridge.

2012/07/30 – Broke down and pulled a sample. Nice strawberrie notes, racked to keg.

2012/07/31 – Bled pressure and reset to 8 PSI. Fridge at 34°

2012/08/06Really refreshing brew. Stoked with how the first keg came out.

2 Comments

  • Steve on Feb 24, 2014

    What yeast did you use?

    • Brandon Hornseth on Feb 28, 2014

      Pretty sure it was Wyeast 3944 – Belgian Wit