Belgian Blonde eBIAB v2_1

It had been a while since I brewed a Belgian style beer and I felt like brewing a new style so considering the summer heat a Blond seemed like the way to go.  Most Belgian Blond recipes that I looked at (Jamil, NHC winners) seem to be pretty similar.  Pilsner malt and a portion of sugar.  My buddy recommended trying Gambrinus Honey Malt so I decided to add a bit to mix things up.  I stuck with Styrian Golding but the only variety I can get is called “celeia”.  no complaints.  it comes across pretty similar to willamette to me.  a low earthy note and a nice herbal character with just a hint of spice.  subtle but nice and a good fit for this beer.  I used my favorite belgian yeast, the westmalle strain.  I really like its pepper character and nice orange, tangerine notes.


Recipe Info

Beer Name: belgian_blonde_ebiab2_1
Style: Belgian Blond Ale
Date: 4-7-16


Original Gravity: 1.067
Final Gravity: 1.013
Color: 4.3
Alcohol: 7 %
Bitterness: 23.4 IBUs


Efficiency: 70
Attenuation: 80


Mash Fermentable Weight: 17.5 Pounds
Mash Thickness: 2.14 Quarts per Pound
Grain Temp: 72 F
Strike Water Qty: 11.36 Gallons
Mash Volume: 12.76 Gallons
Strike Water Temp: 157.7 F
Mash Temp: 149 F


Kettle Gravity (start of boil): 1.058
Predicted Mash Run-off Volume: 9.7875
Target Starting Boil Volume: 9.75
Boil Duration: 60 Minutes
Evaporation Rate: 1.25 Gallons per Hour
Final Boil Volume: 8.5


Weight (Lbs) % by Weight Name Yield SRM
17 85.0 Castle Pilsner; Belgian 80.0 1.6
2.5 12.5 Sugar 100.0 0.0
.5 2.5 Gambrinus Honey Malt 83.0 25.0


Weight (ozs) Name AAU Time (mins) Use IBUs / Addition
2.5 Styrian Golding Pellets 3.7 60 Boil 19.2
1.5 Styrian Golding Pellets 3.7 10 Boil 4.2

Yeast and Friends

Amount (Milliters) Name
1 pouch White Labs WLP530 Trappist Ale


Amount Name Time
1 Whirlfloc Tablet 15
.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Wyeast) 10


Liquid Yeast Pitch – Stirplate Starter
First Starter
Quantity of Yeast: 1 vials / pouches (100B cells per)
Quantity of DME: 147 grams
Starter Size: 1.5 liters
Salt and Acid adjustments:
Mash Salts:
Gypsum: 6.0 gram
Calcium Chloride: 6.0 gram
Mash Acid:
Lactic Acid: 6.0 ml @ 88 %
Sparge/Boil Salts:
Predicted Mash pH of: 5.45
Mash Ions (ppm):
Ca: 77.7 Mg: 3.0 Na: 21.0 Cl: 78.5 So: 102.0
Boil Ions (ppm):
Ca: 77.7 Mg: 3.0 Na: 21.0 Cl: 78.5 So: 102.0
mash @ 149F for 60 mins
168F @ 10 mins
cool to 64F to target a pitch @ 66F. raise to 72F over 8 days and hold through 2 weeks.
carb to 3 volumes
5/3/16 made a 2L starter of 200g DME and 1 pouch of WLP530 on stirplate
5/5/16 normal brew day.  pitched decanted starter @ ~2pm and bubbling away at 8pm
beer pitched at 65F.   put in a fridge set to 70F.  i didn’t use a thermowell like I normally do.  I find with westmalle yeast it is better to put it in an ambient of 70 and let it do it’s thing.  I put a temp probe in the thermowell just so I could record what the ferment looked like.  here is the graph:
you can see that it got up to 73.5F at it’s peak.
5/6/16 big kreusen and ferocious bubbling
5/7/16 ~2 sec apart steady bubbling
5/8/16 ~7 sec
5/9/16 ~11 sec
5/10/16 ~11 sec
5/11/16 ~11 sec
5/17/16 ~30 sec
5/18/16 ~30 sec
5/20/16 ~65 sec
5/23/16 no bubbling with blow off tube
5/27/16 moved to bubbler and very occassional bubbling and still cloudy with yeast.  going to wait to bottle.
had accident that kept me from brewing for a bit.  so this beer sat for longer than it normally would.
6/26/16 finally racked to keg.  decided not to bottle because with injury kegging is easier.
FG 1.006
clean with no infections or off flavors
noticeable alcohol but not harsh
esters (orange) and phenols (black pepper) noticeable but not overwhelming. very nice.
very promising.
I bought a Val-Dieu Blond which is a BJCP commercial example for this style and did a side by side.
Aroma: mine: low, grain sweet.  low herbal hop.  orange notes.  low alcohol.  nice pepper/spice.  med-low.
vd: candy sweetness.  sweet orange w/ hints of cherry.  odd off nose -> burnt rubber.
Appearance: very similar color.  gold.  similar head size and color.  mine is a bit clearer than the vd but similar.
Flavor: me: grainy sweet malt.  low herbal hop.  orange ester, black pepper phenol.  noticeable but clean alcohol.
vd: honey sweet malt.  ester forward.  tangerine.  low pepper.  a bit of burnt rubber.
mouthfeel: similar.  both are med-high carb.  nice but not over carbonated.
Overall Impression: vd – not very good.  appears to be old and oxidized.  very sweet.  rubber off flavor is very off putting.
me: definitely too style although a bit high on the alcohol scale.  would maybe tune that back a bit.  maybe a hair boozy.  malt, hop and yeast character is spot on.

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