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Showing posts from July, 2015

Brewing a Belgian Dubbel Style Beer

Being a big fan of Belgian and Belgian-style ales, there are several types of beer I'd like to dial in a good recipe and process to brew.  Those include:
Tripel:  This is one of my favorite styles.  I've made this four times now and still haven't made a beer with the right fruity, spicy, slightly sweet flavor I want.  As I write this, I have one of these in the secondary fermenter.Quadrupel:  I've not attempted this style yet.  I had found a very promising recipe online but can't find it now.Dubbel:  I've not attempted this style, until now.Strong Dark Ale:  I've attempted this one once.  It was drinkable but had no recognizable Belgian style elements to it, so I was disappointed. When I found a Belgian Dubbel recipe recently that sounded really good, I realized that I probably had all the ingredients I needed except for yeast, and that was actually on order from Midwest Supplies.  A few days later, the yeast arrived along with a 5-gallon economy kettle I wa…

How to Convert Between Grain, LME, and DME

While all-grain brewing is generally less-expensive and often produces much better results than extract brewing, there are plenty of times where you simply want to produce a drinkable beer and don't want to put the time and effort into an all-grain batch.  When this happens, you'll want to convert an all-grain recipe to extract.  Similarly, there may be extract recipes that sound good, but you want to reduce the cost and improve on the quality.  In those cases, you'll want to convert the extract back to an equivalent of whole grain.

Grain to/from Malt Extract Conversion
Conversion from extract to grain or vice-versa is the most difficult. That's not because it involves complex math, but because extract manufacturers don't share the recipe for their extract wort.  That means you won't know for certain which grains were used or in what amounts.  All you can really do in these cases is approximate.  BYO Magazine suggests that you can use specialty grains to closely…

How to age hops for less-bitter beers

If you're a fan of hop-forward beer styles like IPAs, Pale Ales, and Imperial ales, you're probably not going to be interested in this post.  Those styles tend to benefit from fresh hops, and as much of them as you can infuse into the beer.  There are other beer styles, like Belgian ales, lambics, and others which aren't hop-forward in nature.  These beers can benefit from more-subdued hops bitterness and flavor which allows their malt character to shine through.  This is where aging can make a difference.

Although I'm familiar with aging wines, cellaring certain beer styles to allow them to age, and even bottle conditioning some home brews to improve the flavor, I'd never heard of aging hops.  At Barley's 20th Annual Meet the Brewers event, I met brewmaster Sam Hickey of Smokehouse Brewing and Lenny Kolada (a co-owner of Smokehouse).  Sam was there with his Brewtus Maximus Belgian Quadrupel (which is an absolutely excellent beer).  I told Sam that I'd brew…

Walkthrough: Brewing the Brewer's Best Belgian Tripel Kit

A few weeks ago, I visited a local homebrew shop and decided to support them by picking up a Brewer's Best Belgian Tripel extract brewing ingredient kit.  I'm a big fan of the Belgian Tripel style and have yet to find a recipe that I am happy with.  The ones I've made have come out too sweet, too bitter, and often with a bitterness that doesn't match up to a genuine Belgian Tripel such as Karmeliet.   I decided to try out the Brewer's Best kit.

The ingredients in the box include:

6.6 pounds of light dry liquid malt extract (CBW)3 pounds of Pilsen light dry malt extract4 ounces of Aromatic Malt1 pound of what the instructions says is Belgian Candi Sugar but what was in the box was just a soft white sugar1 ounce of Northern Brewer hops 9.6% alpha acid0.5 ounces of UK Golding hops at 4.9% alpha acid1 sachet of S-33 Fermentis Dry YeastMuslin bagBottle capsPriming sugar The brewing process described in the instructions is: Put the Aromatic Malt in the muslin bag and steep…