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Belgian Golden Strong - Finally

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After what seems like 2 months of planning and reading up on this, I'm finally going to brew this tomorrow. It's gonna be a long brew day. 90 minute mash and a 90 minute boil. Better get a good nights sleep tonight. I've got all the ingredients ready to go. I'll crush the grain tonight before I go to bed so I'll be ready first thing in the morning.
Here's the final recipe:

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Brewer: Antler Brewing
Style: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (0.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 7.34 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.46 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.080 SG
Estimated Color: 5.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 27.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
13 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 77.6 %
1 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 6.0 %
12.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.5 %
0.75 oz Styrian Goldings [5.40 %] - First Wort 90 Hop 4 16.0 IBUs
0.25 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 5 2.6 IBUs
0.75 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 6 6.1 IBUs
0.50 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 7 2.4 IBUs
2.0 pkg Belgian Ardennes (Wyeast Labs #3522) Yeast 8 -
2 lbs Candi Sugar, Clear (0.0 SRM) Sugar 9 11.9 %


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 16 lbs 12.0 oz
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 22.13 qt of water at 156.1 F 147.0 F 90 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 3.67gal) of 168.0 F water
Notes:
------
OG should be 1.066 without the sugar additions.

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Looks good Chris,

I use the Ardennes yeast a lot for my Belgian IPA's... It's a great yeast but can get kind of phenolic...

When I made my BSA, I used the Wyeast 1388 and it came out really nice, almost Duvel like...

But the Ardennes should be good too... What temp will you primary at?

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Huge fan of Belgian ales. Recipe looks solid. Can't wait to hear how this turns out. Hopefully good, considering the long day ahead of you!

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"BigPapaG" post=383815 said:

Looks good Chris,

I use the Ardennes yeast a lot for my Belgian IPA's... It's a great yeast but can get kind of phenolic...

When I made my BSA, I used the Wyeast 1388 and it came out really nice, almost Duvel like...

But the Ardennes should be good too... What temp will you primary at?

Thanks. I was originally going to use the 1388 but (according to Wyeast and others here) it can have a tendency to keep producing CO2 even after bottling and I didn't want to mess with that. So I chose the Ardennes. And I also read this on Stones website: "We used the Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes strain, because it doesn’t produce a lot of phenolic clove flavors and ferments strongly to dryness. It’s our second year in a row using this yeast for the Stone Vertical Epic Ale"

My basement is at 70F right now and has been pretty steady. It might jump to 72 if it gets real hot out. So that should put the fermentation temp in the mid 70's, which should work for the Ardennes. And if it does warm a little too much and it does produce a slight spicy phenol, than that's OK also.

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What a great recipe even for a non Belgian fan! What's not to like about Pilsner malt?

And, what's more American than brewing on July 4th? Well, I'm helping a brother paint and move Thursday but am brewing on Friday and helping my brother brew on Saturday (both look to be 80% chance of rain days too) so I'll be brewing with you in spirit.

I know you've been concerned with hitting the OG so let me know how that goes on this one.

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I am torn between using 3522 Ardennes and 1214 Abbey for this Calypso Belgian Pale Ale I've got lined up. I'm wanting it to taste more fruity and less spicy, but I've read conflicting information. Based on info direct from Wyeast, the Ardennes seems to be the way to go. Do you concur?

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Paul....I will post the results tomorrow. Your right, I have been having a problem hitting the OG's. I've made a couple of small adjustments in BeerSmith. I upped the mash to 90 minutes, especially since it's a lower temp. And I'm planning to do a bit more stirring during the mash and definitely during the sparge. So hopefully it will all help.

Phil....I do concur on using the Ardennes to get a little more fruity profile than the Abby. That's another reason I chose the Ardennes. I liked the fact that Wyeast describes the Ardennes as: "This strain produces a beautiful balance of delicate fruit esters and subtle spicy notes, with neither one dominating" That description just sounds delicious!!!

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"philm00x" post=383831 said:

I am torn between using 3522 Ardennes and 1214 Abbey for this Calypso Belgian Pale Ale I've got lined up. I'm wanting it to taste more fruity and less spicy, but I've read conflicting information. Based on info direct from Wyeast, the Ardennes seems to be the way to go. Do you concur?

Do you like Chimay? If so you will like 1214. It tends more towards fruit if you keep it at the higher end of its temp range, it tends more towards spice if you keep it cool.

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Love Chimay. Maybe I'll wait to see how this Golden Strong turns out and decide which to go with from there. No pressure, BlackDuck ;) lol.

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"philm00x" post=383966 said:

Love Chimay. Maybe I'll wait to see how this Golden Strong turns out and decide which to go with from there. No pressure, BlackDuck ;) lol.

To be clear, the 1214 will not get as complex fruit character as Ardennes. What you can get is a pretty darn close Chimay profile.

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@ BlackDuck

The Ardennes will be as described at 68-72...

No worries... I think you will like the results...

:)

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The mash is going. Had to make some adjustment to the hop quantities on the fly. The alpha acid on the packages were lower than what BeerSmith had in their data. I downloaded the new BeerSmith2 Lite for the iPad and was able to make the changes while the timer for the mash was going. Pretty cool. It's a good reminder to check the alpha's to make sure the IBU's will be right. If I hadn't made the chagne, the IBU's would have been way too low.

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Good luck on your brew day!

With the beer that I plan to do, I'm not going to be too particular about the IBUs matching up exactly. I'm more concerned about flavor and aroma. That said, I will likely use Ardennes, since it attenuates a little less so it won't be as dry, and the description lends to a more fruity profile.

Anyhow, sorry to partly hijack the thread, BD. I would love to try this when it's ready, if I could!

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Not a problem hijacking at all. It's all good conversation. I wasn't too particular about getting the IBU's exact either, but when I saw how much lower the alpha's were, I thought I should see how big a difference it would make. After I changed them, the recipe fell way below the style. I'm in the process of cooling right now.

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7/4/13: All done. OG's are still low....DAMN IT!!! This one came in at 1.058 instead of 1.066. Oh well...It should still be tasty beer. The 2 lbs of candi sugar will help jack it up!!

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7/6/13: First off....this is really fun. This is turning out to be a very hands on recipe, which is awesome. Ok, here we go. The bubbling in the blow off container slowed to about 1 bubble per 35 seconds. I dissolved 1 LB light candy sugar in 2 cups water and brought to boil to sterilize.

I checked the SG before adding the sugar and it was 1.011. It went from 1.058 to 1.011 in just under 48 hours. I slowly added the sugar mixture and very slowly stirred so not to aerate. Drew off another gravity test. After the sugar addition it is now at 1.021. So I picked up a full .01 to the gravity. In order to figure the actual OG I add the .01 to the 1.058 for an adjusted OG of 1.068. The color of the beer was a cloudy yellow with just a hint of orangeness to it.

I will let the yeast find the new sugar addition and keep an eye on this over the next couple days. I'll check the SG again in a couple days and feed it another 1 LB of sugar in the same manner. And will measure the gravities just like I did today.

OK...this is really awesome. I just timed the space between the bubbling in the blow off container and it's at 7 seconds. WOW...it didn't take long for the yeast to find the new sugar and get it into a full fermentation again!!

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Feeding Belgians is always fun and rewarding!

EDIT: BTW, you don't really need to stir in the feedings, the yeast will still find it and chew it up. I just pour it in and walk away, and fireworks happen soon thereafter.

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Feed it now and it will feed you later.
I've got no idea how to do this but it's very interesting to see discussion on this. Can't wait to hear about the final product.

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"mashani" post=384635 said:

Feeding Belgians is always fun and rewarding!

EDIT: BTW, you don't really need to stir in the feedings, the yeast will still find it and chew it up. I just pour it in and walk away, and fireworks happen soon thereafter.

+1 They always find it... I just pour mine in (cane sugar or turbinado I generally boil in some water and cool...

Candi Syrup I just pour out of the pouch... Already sterile inside... Just sanitize the cap and neckof the bag...

:)

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"BigPapaG" post=384690 said:

"mashani" post=384635 said:

Feeding Belgians is always fun and rewarding!

EDIT: BTW, you don't really need to stir in the feedings, the yeast will still find it and chew it up. I just pour it in and walk away, and fireworks happen soon thereafter.

+1 They always find it... I just pour mine in (cane sugar or turbinado I generally boil in some water and cool...

Candi Syrup I just pour out of the pouch... Already sterile inside... Just sanitize the cap and neckof the bag...

:)

The only reason that I gave it an extremely gentle stir was for the gravity reading. I wan't to make sure it was mixed half way decent to ensure as accurate a gravity reading as possible.

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7/8/13: I had a note on the fermenting bucket that said "Hey BlackDuck...we are a little hungry in here, could you please feed us some sugar? Thanks for taking care of us....Signed, Your Beloved Yeast" So I guess I had to feed them. I have to make sure they are happy you know.

So I did the same thing I did the other day, dissolved 1 LB candy sugar in two cups of water. The SG before adding the sugar was 1.009, so it dropped from 1.021 to 1.009 in two days time. The SG after adding the sugar was 1.019. Again, a difference of .01. I added this to the first adjusted gravity of 1.068 for a second adjusted OG of 1.078. The color of the beer this time was the same yellowish with a hint of orange, but it wasn't as cloudy this time. This should ferment down to about 1.009 or even a few less. This will put the ABV at 9.1% to 9.4%...WOW. I tasted it this time and it had a good pilsner flavor to it. And I wasn't getting any alcohol warmth to it either. This may turn into a good Sneaky Pete kind of beer.

So far so good. :banana:

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7/24/13: I took an FG reading last night. I will start by saying that the blowoff tube was not bubbling anymore, but there was definite pressure on the lid. If I pushed on the lid even slightly it would force air through and cause a quick bubble. When I removed the airlock, there was a noticable "ppfffftttt" of air that came out. But it's only been two weeks and 1 day since I added the last sugar feeding.

So the the FG reading was 1.007. The recipe called for an FG of 1.008, so according to the numbers, I'm right on. This gives the beer and ABV of 9.4%. It had a nice clear semi dark yellow color to it. The flavor was good, I could pick up a slight spiciness to it, but not much fruity flavor or aroma. There was a slight alcohol warmth on the nose and when I drank it. This warmth was not there the last time I tested it. It was not overpowering though...which is a good thing.

Now for the interesting part. When I checked the pail this morning, the lid had that same amount of pressure built up but not enough to get the blowoff tube bubbling. I may remove the tube and just use the normal airlock bubbler tonight as it might be easier to see if there is movement. I will check the gravity again on Thursday...I was planning on cold crashing on Thursday then bottling on Sunday, but I'm thinking this may not be done yet. It just seems like it's still working a little bit. I'll just have to let the hydrometer make that decision for me. I can't imagine that it can get any lower than 1.007???

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This is more intruiging than a day time soap opera. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Will the yeast EVER STOP? Can this thing GO ANY LOWER? When, if ever, will it cold crash? When oh when will we get to taste this behemoth? Why is this taking so long to get to our taste buds?

Cheers
jeff

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So here's the update on the soap opera....I removed the blow off tube on Wednesday after work. When I pulled it off, there was the same "pppfffftttt" release of pressure from the pail that there was when I took the hydro reading the day before. I put the airlock on and the pressure built up fairly quick in the pail and the airlock started to release a bubble or two. I went down into the basement last night to take another FG reading. The airlock was actually still moving. Although it's a very slow release, it still doing something in there. I decided to just leave it alone. I think I will delay my planned bottling date which was this Sunday. I will let the beer do it's thing and let the airlock and hydrometer tell me when to bottle.

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7/26/13: FG #2 a few minutes ago. And the soap opera continues....it was at 1.006 with an ABV of 9.5%. I guess I'll just have to give this a few more days before the crash. The flavor again was very tasty. It has a nice spiciness too it, but not to overwhelming. The intersting part was that the alcohol warmth that I picked up the other day when I took the first FG wasn't as pronounced this time. And that is a good thing!!

But to keep you soap opera fans intriqued....here's some pron for you!!

[attachment=14390]image_2013-07-26.jpg[/attachment]

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7/29/13: Third FG reading tonight. The gravity was 1.006, same as it was the last time I took a measurement. So, according to the hydro, it has finally stabilized. However, I'm going to let this sit for a couple more days before it's cold crashed. The airlock is still moving very slightly. I think I'll take another reading on Wednesday, then crash and bottle this Saturday.

Is it possible for this to be giving off gasses even though it has seemed to hit it's terminal gravity??

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Looks like the Belgian has 9 lives. I'm sure it'll be good with all the additions you've added. You've taken good care of it and soon, it will take care of you too. :)

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Yeah - this one has been so active that bottle bombs would be a concern for me as well. Guess you can always just put them inside a plastic tub or bin to contain any shrapnel and liquids. This yeast seems like a beast. Guess I will be staying away from it for the time being, maybe fall will be a good time for me to start on a belgian just because I hope to have some temp control ability by that time.

For all the time put in to this - I bet you are going to be justly rewarded when it is finally time to start sampling this bad boy :)

Cheers
jeff

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So here's an update on what has been going on with this:

On 7/30/13:  Beer-lord suggested that I increase the temperature for a few days to see if that would help finish this off.  So I had a seedling heat mat that I put around the pail.  This brought the temperature from 72F to 77F.

On 7/31/13:  I took another gravity reading.  It read 1.006.  So the gravity had not changed in 5 days even with the increase in temp.  But the airlock was still moving ever so slightly.

On 8/1/13:  I took another gravity reading....and once again it was 1.006.  No change in 6 days.  Even with two days at increased temperature....so I cold crashed the S.O.B.  I will bottle it sometime this weekend.  I don't think there is an infection that could be causing the gas release...as it tastes just fine and is clear as crystal!  We'll just have to see what happens after these are in the bottles for a while. 

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RDWHAHB! ;P

If there was an infection you'd likely still be dropping in gravity. I just cross-posted in your other thread, but I'm sure it will be fine.

Cheers Chris!

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8/4/13:  Bottled it up.  It gave me 52 bottles of beer for all the work I've done so far.   What a nice bath of beer to give that many bottles back to me!!!

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Kealia said:With 52 bottles, you COULD take a bath in that ;P

Ok...smart a$$ !!!!  Nice catch on my spelling/typing error.  At first, I was trying to figure out why you write that....then I re-read my post.  Doh!!!

Very Funny Ron!!!  And well played!!!

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I hear ya on the bottlling a big batCh. I did a 5 gallon recipe from Austin Homebrew and had to botlle it yesterday. Man - I know it will be easier once everything is organized in a permanent place but I was dragging ass having to do more than 2 cases (I will be very  happy about it later I am sure). I ended up cheating and did 16 of the MrB 16 oz bottles, 16 of the Grolsch and a six pack of regualr 12 oz bottles :) Yep, I was THAT lazy. I considered using up some of the 220z bottles I brought out here with me but kinda want to save those for bigger beers not a regular strength IPA.

I gotta get to kegging - maybe once we get another fridge and have one in the garage taht can be temp controlled to ferment or serve beer - I can work on that :) I have a feeling you are gonna enjoy each and every one of those bottles once you break into them :)

Cheers

jeff

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