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Belgian Dubbel bottling

08-28-01I brewed my Belgian Dubbel on the 15 of August and got around to bottling it on Wednesday the 26th. All of the fermentation was complete and the beer just smelled wonderful. This is the first beer I have bottled in the new digs so it was a bit of guess and check to find the proper routine. I did eventually find something that worked for me. I also happened to use a lot of new products when I bottled this time.

I started off by putting 5 gallons of water into my bottling bucket. I then added the correct amount of Iodophor Sanitizer. This is the second beer that I have used this stuff on. The first one would be the Tripel. I also tossed a bunch of bottles into the bucket to get them sanitized. 08-28-02After a minute or so (I actually left them in for 5 just to be safe) I pulled them out and put them on the dishwasher rack. Then I put a new round of bottles in and repeated the steps. Finally I threw in my auto-siphon, hose, and bottle filler. I poured a gallon and a half of the sanitizer solution into a smaller bucket just so I had some on hand.

08-28-03I then got the beer out of the closet and started transferring it to the bottling bucket. In all it took about 5 minutes to transfer all of the beer over. Once transferred, I put the bottling bucket on the counter with the bottle filler handing over the edge. Grabbing my bottles I put carbonation drops into them. This is the first time I have used these and I am anxious to see the results. The package said put 3 for low carbonation, 4 for regular carbonation, and 5 for high carbonation. These drops are made up of corn sugar, heading powder, and a few other ingredients. I opted for 4 tabs, mainly because I want to get the Tripel done from the same packet. 08-28-04

So now the beer is being carbonated and should be ready to drink by next weekend. The final beer came out to 5.9% which falls .1 points away from the minimum alcohol percentage for the style. Do I care? Not really, they are just guidelines. I am pretty happy with it. If Austin Homebrew Supply hadn’t shorted me the 1/2 pound of grain, I would of easily fallen into the correct range. A review of the beer should be coming once it is ready to drink. I already like it raw, I can’t wait to drink it carbonated.

Belgian Dubbel Brew Day

08-22-03Last Saturday around the time of this post I had a chance to brew my Belgian Dubbel. The wife went to see the Time Travelers Wife, which gave me a few hours of time to brew. The whole idea behind the beer was to save some money on yeast and have another Belgian style beer on-hand since I’m really digging Belgian beers right now, so is the wife. I ordered from Austin Homebrew Supply again and followed the ingredients that I had originally set-out on using. I didn’t order a half pound of wheat malt from them becasue I already had a pound on hand. One problem, they shorted me a half pound of Belgian Pale malt. Crap.

08-22-02I decided to go on with brewing anyway and get that half pound reimbursed at another time. I threw all of the grain into the mash tun and heated my strike water to 165ºF. Being that I roughly had 6.5 lbs of grain and wanted to keep a water to grain ratio of 1.25 quarts per pound the 2 gallons of water reached that temperature very quickly. I then let it all sit there for an hour and again, it only dropped 2ºF from 152ºF to 150ºF in that hour. I’m really happy with my new mash tun.

On my last brew, I had a terrible efficiency, so I wanted to fix that up a bit. I collected my first runnings and threw it back on top of the grain and collected it again. My thinking was that the water was still hot and I could grab some extra sugar.  I heated up another two gallons of water to 180ºF for the second and third runnings. On both I let them sit in the mash tun for 10 minutes. By the end I had collected 3.5 gallons of wort for the boil.

08-22-04I did my 60 minute boil using .5 oz of Styrian Goldings hops and 1 oz of Saaz hops for 15 minutes. I also threw in some Irish Moss to try and help clarity. Why I didn’t do this for the Tripel is still a good question. I cooled down the wort and pitched it on top of the yeast cake from the Tripel as that is now in a carboy.

I was shooting for a gravity of 1.062 but actually got 1.053. It was better than the Tripel but still pretty poor. Only 65% or so. I’m not sure if the problem is coming my mash, the water, or 08-22-01how Austin Homebrew Supply is crushing the grain. I’m inclined to lean towards the latter after talking to some people my the local homebrew club. Maybe new brew I will borrow on of their grain mills.

This brew marks my first experience with Belgian candy sugar as well. I used a dark variety of it. I was a bit concerned about scorching, but during the wait time with the second and third runnings I dumped all of it (1/2 lb) into the boil kettle and stirred like a madman. The kettle was sitting on the floor under the mash tun. The liquid was still hot and it dissolved pretty quickly. No scorching at all! I’ll have a few updates on both of my beers soon.

Tripel upate #2

08-17-01On Saturday I reracked my Tripel to a carboy and also brewed the Dubbel, which was pitched onto the yeast cake of the Tripel. I’ve been getting a stuck fermentation in my mini fermenter so I got my trusty refractometer out and took a reading from the real thing. Don’t you know it, that is stuck as well. Crap.

I pondered my options while it was transfering over and decided to boil some water with some corn sugar and pitch it in. I only used 2 tablespoons worth to try and jump start fermentation. On the plus side, it is tasting excellent. I don’t think it is going to be as strong as I had hoped, but the taste is there, and that is what is more important. You can’t tell from the picture, but the beer is starting to clear nicely. I’m going to leave it sit for another few weeks and test occasionaly to see if anything else happens. If not, I’ll be looking forward to my great tasting 5% Tripel. Crap.

Belgian Dubbel Recipe

08-14-02The evil homebrew monkeys are churning in my head. I already have the Triple going and I am planning on racking it to the secondary this weekend so getting the most out of my yeast sounds like a good idea. I have the space in my fermenters right now to make an additonal beer and I am still on my Belgian kick so this seems perfect. I am going to make a nice dark, malty, and spicy Belgian Dubbel.

Part of my want to make this beer (other than reusing yeast) came from the May/June 2009 addition of Zymurgy. In it they say, “It was a sight to behold: glistening ruby highlights; a thick, creamy head; aromas of malt and caramel; sweet, but with a dry finish; hints of dark fruit and spices.” O my, that sounds wonderful.

08-14-01I loosely based my recipe off of some research and some of the recipies that the magazine provided. I also only wanted to make a small batch, like a case worth. Below is the recipe that I decided on.

  • 5.5 pounds of Belgian Pale malt
  • 6 oz Belgian Special B malt
  • 4 oz Munich malt
  • 4 oz Caramunich malt
  • 4 oz wheat malt
  • 1/2 pound of Amber Belgian Candy sugar
  • .5 oz Styrian Goldings hops (60 mins)
  • 1 oz Saaz hops (15 mins)
  • WYeast 1214 (reused from Belgian Tripel)

I’m shooting for a gravity of 1.062 which is on the low end of the style guidlelines. A 6.13% abv will be a nice compliment to the Tripel and I am not looking for alcohol notes in this beer like I was for the Tripel. A bitterness of 20 IBUs falls right in the middle of the style guidelines. This beer is going to be darker than what the guidelines call for but I don’t really care that much. The upper end of the Lovibond scale is 17°L, this beer is expected to come in at 21°L so it isn’t a drastic difference. The only thing that should change a bit are those “ruby highlights” that Zymurgy talked about.

The Tripel is coming along nicely. There is a nice smell and spicyness to it currently. I am just waiting for the gravity to drop a bit more. I will update on the Tripel when I rerack it and a Dubbel brewday post should soon follow.

Belgian Tripel update

08-09-02The Belgian Tripel is fermenting away and is my most active fermentation to date. Most of my brews go crazy for a day and a half and then the bubble subside and the yeast start working on all of the tough sugars left. The Tripel on the other hand, has been bubbling like crazy for the past two days and shows no signs of stopping.

What I generally do with my brews is take a clear bottle and put a small sample of wort into it. I then seal it up with a rubble stopper and airlock. Of course all of this is sanitized. I do this for two reasons, the first of which being that I can see what is going on in the fermenter on a small scale because it is all based off of the same wort and yeast in the larger fermenter. The second is that I don’t have to waste wort getting samples out and don’t have to risk contamination in doing so. My refractomer only requires a few drops of wort, so it does not make sense to open up the whole thing to get a little bit out. You can read more about my “mini fermenter” here.

08-09-01

When I first put the wort in the mini fermenter I noticed some seperation happening towards the bottom. I believe that it was the wheat malt dropping out and some of the reminents from the hop pellets. When I check the mini fermenter today there was no sediment at the bottom. There was a very active fermentation going on, almost violent. I was and still am thrilled that the fermentation seems to getting along so well with my concerns about the yeast. As of this morning, the fermentation seems to have peeked and the bubbles as coming to a slow (but the violence happening in the bottle is the same). I still haven’t taken any gravity readings yet but that should be coming along soon. I want to wait for all of the activity on the top to subside before doing so. I’ll update in a few days on the progress of the beer.