Monday, January 23, 2006

The Belgian is in the Fermenter

I had a decent brewing session, yesterday. I finally made the time to brew my new all-grain batch of Belgian Dark Strong Ale. A couple of neighbors dropped by, and my son Matt, Kevin, and brewing-newby-Doug rounded-out the visitors.

I changed a couple of things regarding the recipe (at the last minute), but most of it was true to form. It ended up with a starting gravity of 1.092. That's right at 22.00 Plato scale! This will indeed be a big beer. It now resides in my homemade stainless steel fermentation vessel for the duration of fermentation. I'm doing something different, this time. I started with an initial wort temperature of 60F. I will let it rise slowly to room temp of 68F and leave it alone for 10 days or so. Then I'll heat it slowly to 85F, to kick the rest of my "special yeast combo" into high gear. Then I will condition at a lower temp for quite a while. The goal is to "sneak up on the yeast" and not get such a violent eruption of activity, like I did last time. Of course, I will have the requisite yeast dumpings and additions along the way.

On tap for the session was my latest Imperial Rye IPA. It has a whopping 9.2% ABV, and will bludgeon your noggin and make your liver write bad checks, if you don't treat it with the respect it deserves. My son found that out the hard way. Normally, he has a fairly high tolerance. He came home after working a shift and drinking coffee all day. He hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, and it was now 5:30 pm. He had three 13-oz glasses over the course of an hour, and it hit him like a ton of bricks. Thank goodness, there were no other casualties for the session.

By the way, the Imperial Rye IPA was the first beer that I've produced that I transferred into a total of FOUR fermenters during the fermentation/conditioning process. If you want to know how I do it without infecting or oxygenating along the way, I can give you fairly detailed instructions.

During the brewing session on Sunday, I also had a K├Âlsch-style beer and my crowd-pleasing Black IPA on tap. I still have a couple of items that I need to soak and clean up, namely the brew kettle and its fittings, but everything else is squared-away.


Ben aka "Good Ben" said...

So what kind of color does the Imperial Rye IPA have? I'll bet the Belgian fermenting in Sputnik is a beautiful sight!

Ben, aka BadBen said...

The Belgian is taking off, and almost sending Sputnik into orbit. I went home for lunch today and had to add an extra blow-off tube, just to keep it from blowing foam out of the top seal. And the temp is only 68F!

The Imperial Rye IPA has a magnificent amber/reddish color, and has that "fresh hops taste" from my homegrown hops. Even though there is almost 2 pounds of green hops in it, it turned out well-balanced, because of its high gravity.