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Belgian IPA Recipe

I’ve been in a bit of a hop kick recently. I know, I know, a craft beer person in the mood for hops, big shocker. I also fell back in love with Belgian beers this summer so I decided to marry the two ideas in to one. As I have mentioned before, the Belgian IPA style is still in development so you can kind of do what you want with it. I basically had two criteria when designing this beer 1). It has to be hoppy and 2.) the Belgian flavor components should be noticeable and add to the quality of the beer.

I began this recipe by taking a look at my Belgian Tripel recipe. It’s a pretty simple recipe with three malts and two types of hops. I then gave my IPA recipe a look and it also had a simple recipe with four grain and two hops. I then began to compare the malts and hops in use. Clearly the IPA hops would overpower any of the Tripel’s hops, so I ditched any of the traditional Belgian Tripel hops and went with high alpha-acid American hops. The base malts were not far apart and I only had American 2-row in hand so that won out. The rest you can see below:

  • 12 lbs. 2-row
  • 2 lbs. Munich
  • 1 lb. German Wheat Malt
  • 1 lb. White Table Sugar (added @ 15 mins)
  • 1 lb. Dried Malt Extract (added @ 15 mins)
  • 1 oz. Magnum @ 60 mins
  • 1 oz. Columbus @ 5 mins
  • A half and half mix of WLP530 and WLP500

As I said the base malt is pretty standard. I really like adding Munich malt to almost all of my beers as it adds a nice touch of bread and complexity to my beers. The wheat malt is there to enhance the body and to aid in head retention. I didn’t want to murder my base malt supply in making this beer so I added a bunch of sugar and a pound of dried malt extract to this one to supplement the base malt. The table sugar is also there to make sure the yeast get off to a quick and happy start.

The stats for this one can be seen below:

  • OG: 1.094
  • FG: 1.024
  • ABV: 9.39%
  • IBUs: 77

I love trying new things with my brewing and developing a recipe around a beer that doesn’t have a set style was both a challenge and a joy. This beer is currently kegged and I will get tasting notes up shortly.

How do I make a yeast starter?

There are several things that you can do to help your beer turn out better, but one of the easiest things you can do is make a yeast starter. What is a yeast starter exactly? Well a yeast starter is a “mini” batch of beer that you make in order to allow your yeast to reproduce and become active. This allows you to pitch active and healthy yeast directly into your beer instead of yeast that have been dormant for a long time. By doing this, you cut down on your lag time between when the yeast first enters the wort and the time that it begins to eat the sugars. This limits the chances of other critters who like beer to get a head start. It can also allow you to ferment fuller and cleaner. You can read more about this from Mr. Malty along with information of proper pitching rates.

For my yeast start I use a 1:4 ratio of dry malt extract to water. I generally use 1/2 cup of dried malt extract and two cups of water. From there I boil it for 15 minutes and then cool it quickly. You can put a tiny amount of hops in or leave it without hops. In either case, your sanitation needs to be stellar. Remember these yeast are going to go in your final beer. I use a growler with an screw on cap and an airlock to pour my wort into (once properly cleaned and sanitized). From there I pitch my yeast in and give it 2-4 days to ferment. Make sure you plan your brew days ahead if you are going to do this. You should wind up with something that looks similar to the image below:

A quick recap

  • 1/2 cup of DME
  • 2 cups of water
  • Boil for 15 minutes
  • Cool quickly and place into (sanitized!)  growler
  • Aerate your wort
  • Pitch yeast into wort
  • Seal container with airlock
  • Give 2-4 days and then pitch into brew day wort (more…)

Belgian Tripel bottling

09-25-05I finally got around to bottling the Belgian Tripel that I brewed back in the first week in August. It was a pretty standard bottling day and I got it all done in just under an hour. The Belgian Dubbel that I bottled a few weeks ago still has yet to fully carbonate. I blame the carbonation tabs that I used. I decided to give them another shot (mainly because I didn’t have any other options).

The carbonation tabs say to use five for high carbonation, four for normal, and three for low. On the Dubbel I used four to try and stretch it so that I could use it on this batch as well. I went with five this time and I thought about even going six. Tripel’s are supposed to be highly carbonated and I am worried that five was just not enough. I 09-25-01guess we will see in a few weeks when they should be ready.

I tasted a bit of the beer just to see if the correct flavors were in it. Man was it good. As a homebrewer you learn to love room temperature, zero carbonation beer. It had the Belgian spice with a good malty backbone and just the right amount of heat. If this carbonates correctly I think it will be a winner. Judging from my past experiences with tasting beforehand, this could be my most favorite homebrew to date. That is certainly excited but I’m hoping the pumpkin ale blows it out of the water. I did buy all of the ingredients and made sure I got some dried malt extract (DME) as well so that I can carbonate it correctly.  I will give a tasting of the Tripel once it fully carbonates (hopefully) and I need to give a review of the Dubbel. (more…)