Sunday, January 03, 2010

Brewing: Belgian Dubbel

Trying my hand at my second Belgian style. I've brewed several Belgian Wits, which my wife tends to like a lot, but haven't explored beyond that style, until now. My brother had given me a gift cert for a while back, so I redeemed it for their Belgian Dubbel extract kit. I haven't brewed from a kit in a really long time, and couldn't resist tinkering with the recipe somewhat. However, I restrained myself to just adding a bit more DME. Here's the recipe

Year of the Belgians: Dubbel
.25 lbs.
Belgian Special B
.25 lbs.
Weyermann Carapils®/Carafoam®
6.75 lbs.
Dry Extra Light Extract
.5 lbs.
Candi Sugar Clear
.25 lbs.
Candi Sugar Dark
1.5 oz.
East Kent Goldings (Whole, 4 %AA) boiled 47 min.
1 oz.
Hallertau (Whole, 3 %AA) boiled 12 min.
1 oz.
Styrian Goldings (Whole, 2 %AA) boiled 2 min.
1 ea.
Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss)

Yeast :
White Labs WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale

Originally, I had planned to harvest yeast from a bottle of Duvel I received for Christmas, staying up late one night last week to do so. However, after about 48 hours, it was clear the harvesting wasn't going to happen--with no activity in the Erlenmeyer flask. So, I trucked it to my homebrew store, bought a vial of White Labs WLP570, and created a small starter about 24 hours before I brewed. Not enough to get a huge influx of more yeast cells, but enough to wake them up and give them a head start.

Brewing went well, helped along by Nathan and Jonathan. It was bitterly cold, and we brewed in my garage. The propane burner produced enough heat to make it bearable, but the hose partially froze when we tried to use the wort chiller, and once we turned off the propane, our toes started to suffer from the cold. The only real glitch was that the stupid cork was evidently just a shade too small for the opening, and so now I have a cork floating in the carboy with the beer and had to steal another cork from another carboy I had sitting around. Hopefully it won't affect the beer and I can figure a way to get it out of the carboy, since that bottle is one of my favorites.

Glad I kick-started the yeast. Four hours later, I had about 3-4 inches of foam, and by this morning, the yeast had clearly peaked. Ferm temp will be a bit of a challenge. Usually, in the winter, I have a struggle to keep beers warm enough, but with this super active yeast, I have already had the opposite problem, having to bring the temp down about 5 degrees.

Am on the fence about bottling or kegging this beer, but figure I have a couple of weeks to decide. It will sit in the carboy, in the closet, for at least 2 weeks, before I have a chance to move it to secondary.

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