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scouterbill

Started Belgian Spiced ale today

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As the title states I just started my first batch of Belgian Spiced ale. The LBK just went into the cooler with some frozen water bottles. My question is, for anyone who has done this kit: What was your OG? I looked on the Mr Beer site and couldn't find any estimated gravity.  My OG for the batch I did this morning was 1.057 (temperature corrected).

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That' sounds about right. I got 1.059 on my last batch of Belgian Spiced.

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Cool!! Thanks Josh.

 

I have to say that was alot of extract in that can. It took some work to get as much as I could. That was my first experience with a seasonal recipe. I've only done standard batches up until now. I'm looking forward to this one. I tried the wort from the hydrometer tube, man was that spice bold (I happened to boil the mulling spices for 2 minutes, oops). I'm certain that it will mellow over time. I'm going to give this one until Thanksgiving to condition. It should be just about right by then.

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Question for staff: This brew has a best by date of august 2015, so the brew is recommended to begin by then or it is recommended to be all drank by then?

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Brew by then.  Dates on any food product are "use by" dates, once you cook/make the product then the expiration is based on how that product lasts in its "cooked" state.

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Brew by then.  Dates on any food product are "use by" dates, once you cook/make the product then the expiration is based on how that product lasts in its "cooked" state.

is that y that Hershey's white chocolate bar that had an expiration date of june 2003 turned into a off pale green color? I thot it was a new kind of chocolate or possibly a spring release chocolate for easter holiday.  it tasted a little odd, and the same day I felt a little odd...

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You can brew the beer for up to a year or so beyond the Best By date. After that date has passed, the malt will start to darken with time. But as long as the can isn't swollen, bulging, or ridiculously out of date, it's still brewable, it just may not be the same color.
 

 

i still think the spice pack should be reduced to half the quantity, just my opinion

 

You could just use half the pack. Then you 'd have extra for another batch of beer. But even with the whole pack, the spices will mellow with age.

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If you use half the pack, make sure you get some of each spice, some bits are big.

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Just replaced the ice bottles in the fermentation chamber a little while ago. When I opened the lid I was greeted with a wonderful aroma!!! It almost made me call in sick to work so that I could stay home and enjoy a few of my cold brews that I have in the fridge. I feel this is going to be a really nice batch. Fermentation temps are staying between 62 and 64. I had one small spike (during heavy fermentation) when the wort temp got up to 67.8, but was able to slowly cool it back down. I'm 36 hours into fermentation now, so I believe the temps should stop spiking soon. There is a nice pillow of fine krausen on top of the wort. It almost looks like a dark whipped cream. There is also a really nice layer of trub on the bottom of the LBK. I know that good things come to those who wait, but.....

 

This is the part of home brewing that sucks. Waiting. :huh:  I know! Pipeline! :P

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Oh yeah. About a minute after I opened up the ferm chamber my wife says: "What's that smell?" with a distasteful look on her face. I reply: "Good beer" as I see her sitting there with a B_d Light in her hand.

 

Sigh, I wonder what I ever saw in her. :unsure:  :rolleyes:

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At least she drinks beer - even if it is Bad Light.

 

My wife hates all beer.

Even the German Wheat beer that is half grapefruit juice - very refreshing drink.

Smell this I said - Hmm, it smells like beer with grapefruit in it she says.

Oh well. Can't fool her. She has a nose for it.

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My condolences.

 

I was very shocked when I came home from the Schlafly Tap Room with a couple of growlers a few weeks back and she asked what I had brought home. I said that I had a Maibock in one and "Holliday Red ale" in the other. She asked if I would let her try some, I almost fainted. Both are somewhat big brews: Maibock (6.9% abv) and Holliday Red ale (7.2% abv). I let her try the Maibock first, she didn't care for it (no surprise).

 

When she tried the Holliday Red she said: "that's pretty good". There may be hope for her yet. 22 years tomorrow, I have to have been holding on for some reason! :P

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Congrats on 22 years! :lol:

I am at 38 yrs despite her lack of beer palate, but I keep trying.

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Wow, 38 years of having the beer all to yourself! ;)  It must be love. :wub:

 

By the way Nick, every time I glance at your avatar I see a pair of board shorts (you know, surfing), not mugs. It must be because I spent the first 40+ years of my life on the left coast.

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looks like a digital cooking thermometer. The metal spike on it should reach the wort just.

I use a reptile tank thermometer ($10) - the sensor is on a cable so I can put tape the sensor to the LBK with insulation over it and have the cable go out my cooler drain plug hole to read the temp with the cooler closed.

 

LBK with icepacks and sensor taped on

cooler with LBK - thermometer probe and icepacks

Reptile Thermometer display on cooler end

cooler temp

Cooking thermometer (lower grade than his though)

cooking thermometer --> LBK lid?

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Scouter....where would I get a thermometer like that?  Thanks!

 

Nick is right. It's a $10 digital cooking thermometer from Wally World. The probe is stainless steel and about 6" long. When in place, it extends 2" into the wort.

 

I needed to do this because the cooler that I have has just enough room to fit my LBK and 2 small frozen water bottles. There's not enough space to be able to read a stick on thermometer on the side of the LBK.

 

I drilled a hole "slightly" smaller than the probe and pushed it in. It is held in place by a small amount of food grade silicone adhesive (http://www.amazon.com/Clear-Food-Grade-Silicone-Sealant/dp/B0063U2RWU).

 

I also have a wireless temperature sensor from an indoor/outdoor digital thermometer that I was no longer using, so I placed that in the cooler and can immediately see the temp inside my cooler from my desk. Kind of an early warning indicator for changing out my frozen bottles when the temp starts rising.

 

It's worked really well to help me stabilize my fermentation temps and improve my beer. I'll continue with this system until I can get my hands on a small fridge and make a temp controller.

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The wireless one is a good idea. I have a an outdoor one I got from Hardware store - was about $40 I think.  But that measures cooler air temp not keg temp and they are different. I used to just use the probe in the air in the cooler. Now I tape it onto LBK with insulation over it and under tape.  You can see it in the picture above. 

This better reflects LBK temp. But I like the cooking thermometer in the lid.

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I do not use the frozen bottles because our freezer has no room. SO I use the freezer packs - either those you can see in the pic or the rectangular ones that are about 4x7x0.5 inches. They work really well.

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If you use remote thermometers, two points.  First, make sure they are accurate.  We have two Accu-Rite thermometers that are anything but.  Second, as was stated, tape the probe to the LBK with a cloth folded over it, so you insulate it from the air and read the temp of the wort.

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Talking of Belgian Spiced Ale. It is a real bargain and still available, additionally taking into account it includes the fancy yeast.

I have used the HME  as base for other brews ( together with other malts, making 2 brews at once  (a saison and an amber ale - I hope - detailed in other posts)  but I would also be interested in knowing what kind of beer it would make if brewed without spices and just using the HME alone and various other yeasts, like S-05, S-04,  or the regular Mr B one. I might just try that too to see if I get a dark amber ale.

 

Has anyone else done this?  - I guess they did - :lol:

 

Here are the 3 reviews on this HME.

 

Brew this beer without the spice pack, you will need two kegs to do this ( or 2 carboys) let it ferment for 2 weeks then rack to secondary ( keg or carboy ) put 1 (one) star Anise and only 1 (one) !!!!! and 1/2 half oz. (14 g.) of sweet orange peel in a small muslin mesh bag put the bag in a small glass , add one shot of good vodka to sanitize it put the vodka and the filled muslin bag in the secondary put cover on keg or air lock on carboy let it ferment for 1 week then bottle your beer condition for 2 weeks then chill and drink we call it "orange black licorice ale"

 

 

I loved this beer and I'm not a spice guy. Used bag in fermentation. Can't beat the sale either.

By Christian

 

Great flavor! I like to boost it and carbonate with brown sugar and let it condition for 3 to 4 months it gets better and better the longer it sits the problem it I can't seem to let it age. I seem to keep going back for another bottle every day!

By Budd

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Oh yeah. About a minute after I opened up the ferm chamber my wife says: "What's that smell?" with a distasteful look on her face. I reply: "Good beer" as I see her sitting there with a B_d Light in her hand.

 

Sigh, I wonder what I ever saw in her. :unsure:  :rolleyes:

For all bud light haters out there, if you have not seen "Last Week Tonight w/John Oliver", I highly recommend you watch both of the clips below.  He puts that horrible vial piece of s*** beer in it's place fairly consistently on his brilliant program.  I watch it every week and am always hopeful Bud Light will come up, his insults are hysterical.  He even agreed to drink a Bud Light Lime if Sepp Blatter resigned, so he did, what a brave man!

 

Seriously, Scouter you need to play these for you wife to see if you can get her to stop drinking it!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjN2BFf-AXs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bcpZMX_Iqs

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The remote thermometer is there as a matter of convenience. I rely on the thermometer that is placed in the lid measuring the wort temp. I also know what the wort temp will be compared to the cooler temp. Like I said, it's a convenience.

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Mafifer,

I'll have to play them for her, however, this B_d light thing seems to run in her family. I don't know but it seems like it might be genetic.

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Mafifer,

I'll have to play them for her, however, this B_d light thing seems to run in her family. I don't know but it seems like it might be genetic.

Well consider me an optimist that you can get her the help she needs...that poor woman.  Maybe there is a surgery that can save her life?

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I use a probe inserted through the lid. It is very acurate for wort temp. I shoot the keg with an infrared gun to test the temperature throughout the keg and find a 2-4 degree diference.

 

Hence if your actual wort temp is 64 then the klausen area will yeild around 65-66 and closer to the lid might be 67^F.

 

My first Belgian Ale is conditioned 10 weeks now. OG was 2.00 FG 1.02. I am going to try a couple of these on the 4th.

Just bottled my second batch of Belgian Ale yesterday, OG was 1.08 FG was 1.02. This will get at least 10 weeks as well.

 

Some gals are real keepers wether they drink beer or not, I am hooked for 33 yrs and it wasn't the cooking either.

 

Cheers

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I use a probe inserted through the lid. It is very acurate for wort temp. I shoot the keg with an infrared gun to test the temperature throughout the keg and find a 2-4 degree diference.

Hence if your actual wort temp is 64 then the klausen area will yeild around 65-66 and closer to the lid might be 67^F.

My first Belgian Ale is conditioned 10 weeks now. OG was 2.00 FG 1.02. I am going to try a couple of these on the 4th.

Just bottled my second batch of Belgian Ale yesterday, OG was 1.08 FG was 1.02. This will get at least 10 weeks as well.

Some gals are real keepers wether they drink beer or not, I am hooked for 33 yrs and it wasn't the cooking either.

Cheers

I have to ask. How was your OG so high? My OG was 1.057

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I have to ask. How was your OG so high? My OG was 1.057

 

I'm curious about this, too. 2.00 is ridiculously high. That's higher than most wines. Even 1.080 is really high. How are you getting those numbers?

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This 2.00 recipe was a tweaked Chimay Blue. I will let you know this weekend. I just studied the hydrometer it is more like the 1.08 with a 20 rounding the next chart. These hydrometers do not go that high.  so I misread it that day. (oops)

 

The 2nd 1.08 was basic with an LME bump and less dextrose than the other, I steeped some grains while hopping, 8/10 weeks to go

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Super quick question about the Belgian Spiced Ale.  I actually brewed last night following the instructions but I guess now the one thing I am unclear on...was I supposed to leave the mulling spice bag in the wort when I poured it into the LBK or should I have removed that after 1 minute in the boiling water?  I read and re-read the directions and am now not sure I did what I should have.  I left it in and its currently in the LBK as we speak for the last 14 hours since I finished the brew.  If someone could clarify, I would appreciate it.  

 

Actually when I checked it out this morning there was already a super high layer of foam on the wort which I was excited to see things happening so quickly.  Compared to my first brew (Diablo) which took like almost 4 days before I could see anything happening.  

 

Thanks

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Leave it in the LBK to get all the good spice flavor

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Leave it in the LBK to get all the good spice flavor

Yeah that was my line of thinking, I was just more concerned that I was not supposed to leave it in there and that it would eventually cause my LBK to blow or something.  

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Yeah that was my line of thinking, I was just more concerned that I was not supposed to leave it in there and that it would eventually cause my LBK to blow or something.  

 

I did this one in early spring when my basement stays around 60 and didn't get a hugh overflow, but did get a few trickles out of the vents. This time of year I'd probably do it in a cooler so I could keep the temp lower the first few days. Just make sure you loosen the lid a quarter turn and at least put a cookie sheet under the LBK in case you do get an overflow. 

 

Also in my case the spice bag pretty much fell apart so when it came to bottling time I had a bit of trouble keeping the spices from blocking the spigot.

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First time for using the spice bag, I had the same problem - spice in the spigot. I think I was too vigorous stirring the wort in the pan.

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I received all of the components of the Belgian Spiced Ale in my order yesterday,

Can of HME,

Yeast,

No Rinse Cleanser...

And no instructions printed on the can....

Are there supposed to be paper instructions included with each order?

Oh, that's OK. The instructions are available at a URL printed on the side of the can:

http://www.mrbeer.com/seasonalinst

Which very helpfully reads:

"Oops! You’re looking for a page that has either moved or no longer exists."

C'mon! Really?

I would think this should be a permanent link. Can you wonderful folks at Mr Beer scrounge up that page and relink it?

Secondarily, regarding that mulling spice bag, if it has a tendency to disintegrate in the wort during fermentation, is it best to put it into a sanitized muslin hop sack, or perhaps to cold crash the Belgian Spiced Ale for 3 days after fermentation with the spigot end elevated to settle the spice particles into the trub in the back of the fermenter before bottling?

Also does the same 3-4 week fermentation/ conditioning period apply to a higher gravity and ABV beer like the Belgian Spiced Ale, or would it usually benefit from a longer period in the fermenter, or do I really need to rely on the hydrometer for this one?

Suggestions?

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It si still for sale, and the directions are with the listing here: http://www.mrbeer.com/belgian-spiced-ale-2013-winter-seasonal. Yes, link should be permanent.

Hop sack is fine, can't imagine what, they are using...

Spigot should be elevated for ALL brews to keep things away from the spigot. I cold crash everything.

Yes, still 3. No reason to go longer. But not 4. Instructions say 1 - 3 months. Rule of thumb is take OG (~1.06) and remove the leading 1, so 6 weeks.

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Okay, I finally found the FULL instructions. But for a novice brewer who just bought this kit, they shouldn't have to look so hard.

Ergo, the permanent hardlink:

http://www.mrbeer.com/seasonalinst

printed on the can should be pointed to this new link:

http://support.mrbeer.com/support/solutions/articles/5000523374-belgian-spiced-ale-2013-winter-seasonal-instructions

Unless of course that particular hardlink is printed on ALL of the seasonal recipe refills, in which case there should be a page linking to all of the seasonal kit instruction pages in one place.

Until RickBeer pointed it out, I had overlooked the instructions on the product page. However the instructions on the support site page have several footnotes that may be helpful.

RickBeer: The mulling spices come in what I would guess is a paper tea bag folded on one edge and sealed on three sides. Slipping that into a sanitized muslin hop sack might make it more durable during the boiling and stirring process, and help keep the little pieces of spice out of the wort.

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I am enjoying som Belgian Spiced Ale right now, While it is hopped and boosted the flavor is wonderful.

 

The hops are hidden with a mild bittering flavor and the ABV is present ever so slightly, This is the best HME next to Oktoberfest to date.

The color is close to Irish Stout but all the goodness is there.

My second batch of Belgian Spice Ale was not original either, but has been steeped with grains and the spice bag in wort.

Expecting less ABV but bettter taste and foam report.

 

Happy aft 4th folks

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Has anyone actually had that mulling spice sachet stay together throughout the boil and a 3 week ferment? Is it a matter of just being gentle with it during the stirring, or is it a foregone conclusion that it will disintegrate and leave particles in the beer?

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(If you ferment it too hot, does it become a Belgian... steamer?)

I shouldn't go there....

 

 

Sulu-Oh-My.jpg

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By the way, piece of advice to those of you trying to rescue a defective LBK with injection molding flash around the outside of the spigot hole. Sand the flash down flat BEFORE you install the spigot for the first time. The injection molding flash is sharp enough to cut grooves in the spigot washer, if you take the spigot off after that, and especially if you then sand down the injection molding flash, the spigot washer may never seal properly again.

I knew there was a reason they included a new spigot with the bottling wand just bought. ☺ If I hadn't had the new spigot, I would have had to abort my brew tonight and wait for at least a week for my new LBK warranty claim shipment to arrive.

Whew, dodged that bullet.

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Ok, I bottled the Belgian Spiced today. A few observations from this batch. The spice bag held together (Woo Hoo)! ^_^  My F.G. was 1.020 on 2 consecutive days so I do know that fermentation was complete. Oddly enough, there wasn't that much trub on the bottom of the LBK. :unsure:  I was also slightly disappointed that my F.G. wasn't lower, but who's complaining. This batch also turned out much darker than I had expected, however, thats not a problem. 

 

This batch has a wonderful aroma, however, after sampling the gravity sample I find that the spices are still a bit strong. I'm certain that will mellow with time. I'm planning to give this batch until Halloween :ph34r:  before trying the first bottle, that should let me know if this will be ready for the Holidays.

 

I'll be getting my next batch of Belgian Spiced started on Saturday and I think that this time I will remove the spice bag after the boil to see what difference that makes. I may also do a Carapil steep for this next batch.

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Has anyone actually had that mulling spice sachet stay together throughout the boil and a 3 week ferment? Is it a matter of just being gentle with it during the stirring, or is it a foregone conclusion that it will disintegrate and leave particles in the beer?

 

I've done three Belgian Spiced Ales and the mulling spices did not disintegrate.  Two are in bottles and the third is fermenting.  Maybe I'm lucky, but I've never had that problem

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Belgian Spiced ale

 

Ok. My lack of patience got the better of me. I had to try the first Belgian Spiced ale today (the second batch just went into the fridge for a cold crash). I am at 4 weeks post bottling and all I can say is: "Man I'm going to have a tough time not touching any more of this batch before Thanksgiving!" The spices are still a bit "in your face", but it's going to mellow into an amazing Holiday ale. It's got a nice head and a beautiful deep red color. This batch will definitely warm a body on a cold winter night. ^_^

 

The second batch is almost the same with the exception of 4oz of Carapils steeped and the spice bag not placed in the fermenter. I tried the S.G. sample and the spices are not going to dominate.

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Mine got better as time went on, by 3 months it was pretty good. But next time as you noted, I think I'll remove the spice bag too. It wasn't long after that however, that it was gone. 

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on the advice from this forum, i only used half the contents (transferred contents to a muslin sack) of the spice pack.  So i'm hoping that equates to all the goodness and not the overpowering spice!

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The second batch is almost the same with the exception of 4oz of Carapils steeped and the spice bag not placed in the fermenter. I tried the S.G. sample and the spices are not going to dominate.

So added to the boil?

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So added to the boil?

 

Yep. I probably should have mentioned that. About 1 1/2 minute before flame out, mixed everything together and removed spice bag before pitching yeast.

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I used powder spices and added to the last 5min of the boil. Over all it was ok but I used a little too much ginger and all spice.

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