Belgian Brun (all-grain)

This was a random Belgian ale that I threw together for experimentation and also to produce a refreshing Belgian ale for Spring. I’ve never tried 6-row in a beer, so I went with a bill consisting of nearly all of that, and just a half pound of Belgian chocolate malt for color and a slight nutty flavor (according to Dingemans website). Projected OG 1.052, 28 IBU, 5% ABV, 17 SRM.

  • 10 lb US 6-row
  • 0.5 lb Belgian Chocolate malt
  • 1 oz Hallertau (60 min)
  • 1 oz Hallertau (60 min)
  • WYeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes

// Mash-in 1.5 qt/lb at 148F for 45 min, 158 for 15 min, mashout at 170. Sparge w/ two batches of 3 gallons to collect 6.5 gal 1.046 wort. Boil 60 min, collect 5.2 gal 1.054 wort. Chill to 65, pitch 1L starter. Brewed 4/25/14. //

I actually ran out of time after collecting the wort pre-boil, so i let it sit overnight and finished the boil the next day. There were a bunch of leaves an bugs that had fell in, but they skimmed off, and surely nothing survived a roaring 60 minute boil!

UPDATE (4/30/14): Fermentation was out of control and overflowed my blow-off vessel. After 3 days in the primary at 68F, significant yeast dropped out and I pulled a sample. Gravity is at 1.014, however, it tastes pretty thin. I would have guessed 1.01 or lowed. The flavor is nice – a very light caramel, biscuity / nutty flavor but a little lacking in body. There is a very subtle hop presence after you take a few sips. Maybe that rest at 148 was a little too long, and the 6-row really converted the hell outta the starches. Very mild Belgian ester profile which is just enough to give it the right character (fermenting cooler is definitely worth it!). Increase the temp to 72 for 1 day, then racked to keg and crash cooled. FG 1.012

THE VERDICT

This was a very quaint and satisfying Belgian brown ale. I really think the simplicity of this recipe kept the beer in bounds, letting the yeast shine with some soft nutty malt flavors to round out the picture. It’s a really nice combination.  The 6-row could probably be definitely be for something else and still work just fine.  I goofed by not doing a SMaSH beer with just 6-row, so I really didn’t get a great read on it… but regardless, it worked. The chocolate malt worked great – nutty, biscuity, slight toffee is spot on; not very chocolaty at all. This would work well in a dubbel or stronger ale, or could come down to 1/4 lb in this recipe to make more of an amber beer, which I think would be really delicious. 1/2 lb made this a way darker brown color than I expected, but it was enjoyable in the end. I really enjoyed the yeast profile of the Ardennes strain, but would be OK with fermenting just a few degrees cooler next time. There were some slight banana esters that creeped in towards the end of fermentation. Perfect for a spring afternoon!

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Filed under All-grain, Amber, Balanced, Belgian, Brown

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