Bride Blonde – Belgian style blond ale

One of my first beers I made was our wedding beer, called Bride Blond. A typical Belgian style blond ale. The beer was a big success at our wedding so I decided it was time again to brew the same beer.

I have tried to brew a couple of Tripel and blond style beers in the mean time. However, after I got some comments back from the Danish beer judges (I sent in a beer for the DM i håndbryg competition), it was clear that I needed to change the malt types for the beers. The taste was too much caramel-like, as I used too much biscuit malt in the malt bill.

So that is why I went back to my Bride Blonde beer recipe. The malt bill for this beer is quite simple, only some pilsner malt with some malted oat and a little bit of munich malt as well. On top of this, I also added some light kandis sugar to get the correct alcohol percentage. For the hops, I used a mild bitter hop, Mittelfrüh, which has a nice delicate hop taste.

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On top of the simple malt bill and sugar, I also added some typical spices used in a lot of Belgian style beers: dried orange peel and koriander seeds.

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As usual, I used the Braumeister, my favorite brew system :-).

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I wanted to try 2 yeast types, that is why I brewed around 37-38 liter, so I could split the brew. The two yeast types I used were WLP 510 Bastogne Ale yeast and WLP 570 Belgian Golden Ale yeast. I wanted to see the difference between the two as the WLP 570 is more spicy and fruity while the WLP 510 is more clean in taste with a light acid after taste.

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After filling the wort in two fermentation buckets, I fermented the two different beers at 22 degrees Celsius. The fermentation took two weeks and then the beers matured for another week before bottling.

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The beers were bottled with some added glucose and went into the fermentation cabinet for another 2-3 weeks until it is completely ready. Now it is waiting to be tasted….

 

 

Dynamite Devil Tripel – probably my best homebrew up to now

img_3566 In July, after the DM i håndbryg, I started brewing a new Tripel recipe. I really want to get a very good Tripel recipe as this is one of my favorite beers (of course, coming from Belgium, that is not so weird 😉 ).
So I did a little bit of research on the web, looking at different homebrew blogs and also looking through the beercalc.org website to get some inspiration from other homebrewed Tripels.
I found out that typical Belgian malt varieties as well as typical Belgian sugar is the key to get the typical Tripel taste, as well as a Belgian style yeast of course. I therefore used a meriad of malt types for my Tripel:
– pilsner malt
– cara pilsner malt
– cara belge malt
– biscout malt (to get a little of caramel taste)
– munich malt (only little bit)
For the sugar I used both light and dark ‘kandijsuiker’, at least the ones I could find in my favorite shop, Maltbazaren.
And then of course I needed to decide on the yeast. I looked through quite some recipes and read all the Whitelabs descriptions and decided on the WLP510 Bastogne Belgian Ale Yeast, which is one of their platinum yeast strains and the WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast.
The hop to be used for the Tripel should not be too aromatic, so I used Mittelfrüh. However, as I also like experimenting a bit, I added a little Huell Melon, to get a bit of hop fruitiness.

I brewed the beer in my bathroom, as unfortunately the summer was not the best one in July here in Denmark ;-).
img_3565Actually, I brewed it in our shower (after serious cleaning of course), as this was easy to just clean the Braumeister afterwards :-). After brewing, the wort cooled down until the next day before I added the yeast. The WLP530 did not want to start after 24h, so I added the WLP510 as extra in this vessel.
I had two times 20 liter, which was excellent to put in my fermentation cabinet.
img_3568I put the temperature on 22 degrees Celsius and the beer fermented for 14 days. After two weeks more at 4 degrees Celsius I put the beer on bottles and added some extra sugar to referment in the bottle. I added quite some, as I like my Tripel quite carbonated. I added 3g of glucose in a 33 cl bottle, which turned out to be perfect :-).

 

After a couple of weeks, I tasted both Tripels and the WLP510 fermented one was really amazing, very fruity, estery (banana) with a little spicy note (coming from the yeast -> 4-vinyl guaiacol). The 530+510 one was not carbonated enough and tasted a little too yeastie. So the WLP510 is now my favorite Tripel yeast, cheers!
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DM2016 is coming up

It is exciting times for home brewers in Denmark as the ‘Danmarks Mesterskab’ in home brewing is coming up. A competition for home brewers where you can send your home brewed beers, which will be judged by professional judges.

Last year I had sent in 1 beer, my Barley Trouble, which got some very nice feedback. This year I wanted to do a good effort and therefore I have sent in 4 beers. 3 of them I brewed in autumn 2015/winer 2016 and 1 beer is a bit more special, as it has been maturing for a year. These are the beers I prepared:

  1. Saison Maison – saison style
    A saison style beer brewed with pilsner, munich, wheat and some biscout malt and a lot of hops (Tomahawk, Centennial and Mosaic and Simcoe as dry hops). The yeast I used was WLP565 (Saison 1). This one has been brewed outside 🙂
    Brewing Saison and IPA
  2. In house Pale Ale – IPA style
    Funny enough exactly the same recipe as the Saison Maison, but just with another yeast (WLP090 – California Super Yeast). Very interesting to see how the beers evolved by just changing the yeast. The Saison Maison tastes like a saison, e bit spicy, peppery with a very nice fruity hop finish. The In house Pale Ale, which is an IPA, is more bitter with more hop finish and very fruity hoppy flavor. As you can see on the picture below, the Saison Maison (to the left) has a bot darker color, but both the saison and IPA have a beautifu foam.
    Saison and IPA
  3. Snowlunde – bock style
    This was a big challenge, as it was the first time I brewed a beer with a Braumeister, but more importantly, also fermentation at low temperature. For this beer I used pilsner, Munich and Cara Munich malt. I added only a bitter hop (Mittelfruh) and as yeast I used WLP820 (Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager yeast), which should do the job. The fermentation took a long time (6 weeks), but after fermentation the beer already tasted very ‘bock’-like: sweet and malty and not too bitter. I have to admit that in the first week my fermentation cabinet smelled really like fart. The whole room in fact smelled like fart ;-). But the sulfur notes disappeared after two weeks fermentation. As my beer gun is not yet properly working, I also had to referment this beer and that is a little bit of a challenge as I did not know how much sugar the yeast would eat. It is still under refermentation today. So let’s hope by the time the jury is opening the bottle, the beer will be ready ;-).
    Brewing bock
    Brewing in a Braumeister is like brewing in heaven – very easy to use and more reproducable.
  4. Saison Faison Maison – saison style with Brett refermentation
    This beer is just amazing, to say it myself. My favorite beer is Orval and I wanted to make something similar, so that means refermenting with Brettanomyces yeast. However, the beer was made by ‘mistake’, as so often happens. I had made an Imperial Wheat Saison last year that I tried to bottle with my beer gun, but without succes, as the CO2 content was too low. As it would be a pitty to throw the beer away (it tasted really like a saison), I decided to add some Brettanomyces (WLP645), but no sugar, as the end density was still 1012 and the Brett would eat the left-over maltose and dextrins. Then I left the beer for a couple of months and now it really has the Brett taste, but very balanced. As that saison was very hoppy and quite bitter, the Brett balanced the beer so the bitterness is soft now. The fruity hoppy aroma is still there which finishes off the beer. Very exciting experiment. The Saison Maison has the same recipe, but with less bitter hops.

So now it is waiting waiting waiting … . The judgement will be known at the Beer Festival this year in May. So let’s cross fingers!

Autumn is coming – and so is my cider…

As we are approaching more cold and rainy days, it has become time to use all picked apples to make juice and cider.

Last year I tried to make cider with a blend of our own apples and the apples of a friend, as the apple harvest was quite poorly. However, as I let in too much oxygen with racking off, the cider became more of a vinegar. We had to pour it away.

So now I want to try again, as the harvest is looking very promising. Luckily, I have a good friend and colleague that has very good equipment to smash the apples and to press the juice of it. A perfect job for a Sunday :-).

All in all, our harvest was around 100 kg, not too bad at all!

IMG_2531The first step of cider making is to grind the apples into smaller pieces. You can do this by hand with a manual mill, but my friends did it with an electrical fruit mill. And yes, that went fast :-).

After milling all the apples into small pieces, the pieces need to pressed into juice.

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As it is hard work, I was glad there were some guys around to help out with the pressing. The leftovers are for the cows, nice dessert for them, as quite some sugar is left :-).

And so the first part is ready, apple juice. The juice was way more sweet than I expected, which was super nice. I picked some of the apples when they were still green, but the juice was not acid at all. In fact, the juice had a perfect sweet/acid balance.

Then came the time to drive home with my freshly pressed apple juice and decide what to do with it. As it is tasting really delicious, I decided to sterilize 24 liter of the juice, just to drink as juice and to make cider of around 10-12 liter of the juice.

Sterilization of apple juice is really important if you want to keep the juice at room temperature. However, sterilization is not difficult at all. You heat up a big pot of water to 66 degrees Celsius (or a bit more to end up with 66 degrees with the bottles in), you put in the bottles with apple juice and you keep the temperature at 66 degrees Celsius for 1 hour.

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So that is exactly what I am doing here on the picture, in my almost closed home brewery (yes, we are getting there with our building, only one more wall missing!).

It is great to have good home brewing equipment, as I can use some of the pots for other purposes as well.

 

Now the last part, making cider! I decided to use a Chr Hansen yeast, namely Prelude, which is a specialty yeast (it is not a normal Saccharomyces wine yeast, but a so-called non-Saccharomyces yeast – it is called Torulaspora delbrueckii).  This yeast will definitely finish the fermentation, as the expected alcohol content is 6.5 – 7%. Prelude is mainly sold as a wine yeast, where you have to add an additional Saccharomyces yeast to finish the fermentation.

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And so I did, adding some Prelude to the freshly pressed apple juice and now it is nicely bubbling away in our kitchen 🙂

My guess is that it will need around 2-3 weeks before it is attenuated. Then I will bottle it to referment in the bottle. With some luck, it might be ready for New Year, to have some sparkling cider as aperitif, instead of Champagne :-).

Exciting to see if it works this time and how it will taste – to be continued…

Flanders Tripel

After three months of not-brewing, it was time to dig up my brewing kettles from our work shop to brew a new golden liquid, called beer.
As my last brewing experiments were quite a success, I wanted to brew one of those recipes again: Flanders Tripel. I actually had to rename the former beer to Flanders Blond, but as my smart brother noticed that the beer was more a Belgian Blond style then a Belgian Tripel style. And right he was, as the alcohol level was too low for a Tripel, ‘only’ 6% v/v.

The new beer is brewed with barley malt, wheat malt and rhye flakes, like last time, but with a higher density. This time I used also another yeast: WLP500 TrappistAle yeast instead of WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale yeast. The WLP570 gave a too fruity taste in the former beer.
As hops I used Styrian Golding and Saaz, the classical ones for Belgian style beers.

My husband and me tasted the former batch of Flanders Blond and the beer looks beautiful with a very nice fruity and also a bit flowery taste:
Flanders Tripel
The beer is not clear, as quite a high ratio of wheat and rhye is used. The foam however is very stable. Very satisfying :-).

The new Flanders Tripel is still under fermentation:
Flanders Tripel 2
I am still very happy with my homemade fermentation closet. The temperature is very stable and the beer is fermented at 20 degrees Celsius.
Next step is bottling and refermentation in the bottle. Very exciting, because two-three weeks later we can taste the first new Flanders Tripel :-). Looking forward to that!