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High Gravity Belgian Ale Q

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RichLum

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Hi all,

Am using my first liquid yeast at the moment and it si also my first high gravity beer.
I'm using thw WLP550 Belgian Ale yeast and the Brewcraft Belgian Ale kit with malt added ended up with a OG of 1083.

I put it down Wednesday night. There was mild krausen Thursday morning and real high and active krausen Thursday night and there is still high krausen now (Monday morning).
Airlock continues to bubble about once every 5 seconds at the moment.

From what I've read being a higher gravity it will take longer to ferment out than the other beers I've done (between 1040 and 1050).
This being the case, should I rack it to a secondary fermenter once the krausen dies down to stop it sitting on the yeast cake too long?
Or is it a case of as long as it's fermenting, sitting on the yeast cake is not a big problem and only leaving it on the yeast cake after fermentation has finished will produce off flavours?


Also, anyone got any simple (kit and bits - steeping grain is about as complicated as I get at the moment...) recipe suggestions for a belgian strong ale or similar that I can use the other WLP550 starters I cultured?

thanks,
Rich
 

warrenlw63

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Rich,

Probably better to let it ferment out first. If it's in the primary for a couple of weeks it won't matter. Rack to secondary when you're pretty confident that you're close to your final gravity.

Give it a couple of weeks in the secondary to clear properly.

When you bottle it may be a good idea to mix up some fresh yeast with your priming sugar (if you bulk prime) to help the bottles condition properly. I've found by experience that high grav Beligans tend to carbonate rather slowly due to the higher than normal alcohol content. Be patient and refrain from sampling for at least 3 months.

Haven't made too many from extract and specialty grains. You can pretty much use your imagination here. Just refrain from going overboard with highly roasted grains. Maybe steeping some Caramunich supposing you are making 23 litre batches (say 150-200g) and Cararoma (100g) (Weyermann) and very small amounts of Carafa (no more than 50g) are a good starting point for making an extract Tappist/Dubbel or something similar. Combine this with the correct amount of Malt extract and about 10% raw sugar or dextrose/white sugar. Candi sugar is even better if you can get hold of it.

The beer reciprocator is always a good starting point for gleaning some recipes;

http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipes?group=20

http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipes?group=21

Hope this helps -
Warren
 

RichLum

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Thanks Warren.
That recipe site looks real cool. Never seen that one before.

I haven't racked any of my other beers to secondary I've just let them clear and condition in the bottle after primary and they don't come out too cloudy for me. So I might just do that and there should be some yeast in teh bottles to carbonate it.

Does anyone know where to get Belgian Candi Sugar in Sydney?

Also, if using brown sugar to prime is that just the brown sugar you get at the supermarket?
And how would the ratio differ to dextrose? ie. for a 20L batch I would normally use about 120-130gm dextrose, would I need to use more or less brown sugar?

thanks,
Rich
 

Wreck

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Just wait until it cools before you give it a taste test....
 

RichLum

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Thanks for the link Mike.

Doesn't sound too hard...
I might give that a go this weekend.
Then next brew do the Brewcraft belgian ale kit again and add some candy sugar and grains as well as the malt...

Any suggestions on aroma hops?
I used Kent Goldings in the first batch as that is what I had on hand

Rich
 

wessmith

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Folks,

Belgian Candi Sugar is made from beet sugar not cane sugar. It is a crystalline sugar, not an invert sugar. Invert sugar is a liquid syrup and WILL NOT crystalise. One of the great urban myths of homebrewing has been this nonsense about adding a pinch of citric acid to get "some of the sugar to invert". If it did work, you would never get the resulting "toffee" to set. By all means caramelise your sugar - it will produce some interesting flavours. but if you really want the authentic Candi Sugar flavours, Grain and Grape do now have stock.

Wes (who does not get any commission from G & G).
 

warrenlw63

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Rich,

Like Wes stipulated Grain and Grape have Belgian Candi sugar; (Must get myself some)

http://www.grainandgrape.com.au/ingredients%20_info.htm

That notwithstanding I've actually had some pretty good results using Yellow Chinese Lump sugar. Commonly available at most supermarkets in the Asian food section. Or from your local friendly Vietnamese grocery store. Looks a little like Candi sugar and seems to give a similar finish to raw sugar. Usually about 2-3 dollars per half kilo.

Personally if it were me I'd spend the extra dollars and err on the side of authenticity. Go for the real candi from G/G. I'm picking the results would be well worth it. B)

Warren -
 

RichLum

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Thanks guys.
I was wandering about the chinese yellow sugar myself as my parents have some in their cupboard and it looks like pretty unrefined stuff, just formed into blocks. Although from memory it has a couple of different layers to it like it has been boiled and different parts separated out or something.
Am going over there this weekend so might have a look at the box.

If I need to I can pick some up fairly easily as the coles at broadway here has a fairly decent asian section and I live close to china town if i can't find it at coles...

Thanks,
Rich
 

RichLum

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Another question on this batch....

It is still in the fermenter and still had quite a lot of krausen on top but the airlock has slowed to about 1 bubble every 1 or 2 minutes.

As I've never done any beers with such a high OG (1083) or used a liquid yeast before I'm not sure whether it is normal for the krausen to still be there after 9 days? Usually the krausen disappears off the other beers I've done after 3 days or so.

How long would it normally take to ferment out a beer with this OG at 22-24C?
And will the krausen just stay there till the end (and I need to avoid it when bulk priming) or should it eventually disappear?

Haven't taken any hydro readings yet as the fermenter is sitting in the bath tub with the tap wrapped in gladwrap so it's a bit of a hassle to take a sample and I usually wait till I think it's ready to bottle before starting to take readings

thanks,
Rich
 

barfridge

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With a big beer like that I wouldnt even be thinking about seeing if it was done until at least the 2 week mark.

Another handy hint that I've been told is to add a little more yeast to your bottles (assuking you're bottling it), as large beers can be slow to carbonate, and the high alcohol content may impair the yeasties resulting in a flat brew.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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With big beers aeration becomes more important, good aeration before adding the yeast and again 14-18 hours after adding the yeast. As well, you need a good size starter. By doing these my 1135 beers ferment out in 5 days.

For really big beers I then put the primary fermenter in a fridge for a week, then rack to a secondary which also goes into a secondary. This way I avoid autolysis and hasten the dropping of yeast in the primary stage.

If the beer is taking too long, either shake the fermenter or use a sanitised brewpaddle to rouse the yast off the bottom back up into the beer

Jovial Monk
 

Wreck

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How much would you add for bottling?
 

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