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Not Sure About This Abbey Blond

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mikec

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Having only recently discovered this site and the wonders of AG, I already had some kit&kilo stuff to put down.
Being a fan of Leffe Blond I had ordered ESB's Abbey Blond style pack, as follows:

Abbey Blond Ale (Style Recipe Pack)
Type: Can Kit Recipe
Batch Size: 22 litres

Ingredients

  • 1 x ESB 1.7kg Pilsner
  • 1 x No10 Body Brew (600g Dextrose, 400g Maltodextrin)
  • 2 x Dextrose 1kg
  • 2 x 12g Hallertau finishing hop
  • 1 x Wheat Grain Enhancer 200g
  • 1 x Clear Candi Sugar 500g
  • 1 x Safale T-58 yeast
Beer Profile

  • Estimated Original Gravity : 1.067 SG
  • Estimated Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
  • Estimaled Alcohol by Volume: 7.45%
  • Bitterness: 20.9IBU
  • Estimated Colour: 8 EBC
Method
Bring 2L of water to the boil, add the grain infusion and steep with the heat off for 20 minutes. Strain into your fermenter. Add ESB beer pack, all sugars and dry malts to above and stir vigorously to dissolve. Top up to 22 Litres with cold water, the wort should be cool enough to pitch yeast and add finishing hops. Brew at 18 to 22 degrees and age for approx. 4 weeks.
I used White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale yeast instead of the T-58. Just poured it into the fermenter (after warming to room temp, shaking etc). Fermenting at 20 degrees.

I'm starting to think that this recipe has too much sugar (3kg+), and might be a bit thin? Nevertheless, that is not the reason for this post.

The OG was higher than 1.067, more like 1.085! I added about 1.5L of extra water to bring it down just a touch. But that is not the reason for this post.

It's taking a long time to ferment out, I guess to be expected considering the amount of sugar. Just over 3 weeks now, and SG is at 1.016 (and still going I think). But that is not the reason for this post.

Having a taste of the sample, it tastes, well, I don't yet have the experience to describe how it tastes. Maybe a bit sour, and a bit thin. Have I wasted 4 weeks and $60? Or should I give it time to condition? Maybe this is normal for this style. Maybe it's just off. What say you? (this is the reason for this post)
 

jbowers

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You have basically made beer flavoured sugar-wine. I've actually never heard of someone using that much sugar in a beer!

I'm not surprised it hasn't turned out great. I wouldn't expect a sourness, however. To be honest, I don't know what to expect with a recipe like that!! The recipe would be much better, in my opinion, with a couple of changes. Replace the dextrose with LME and replace the brew enhancer with maybe 600g of dextrose. That should be heaps. I'd also up the IBU for a beer with that high an OG to maybe 25-30. That's just me though. I find most belgian blondes to be a little sweet for my taste.
 

iralosavic

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Eek. Way too much sugarz! Depending on whether I was bittering myself or using a prehopped kit as a base, I'd use either 2x1.5 tins of LME and 500-800g clear candi sugar OR 1x1.7kg Pilsner goo + 1.5kg LME and 500-800g clear candi sugar. If gravity was going to be under from the tins, I'd add LDME to adjust. And I suppose you could just sub the candi sugar for dextrose or table sugar if you can't make it yourself. I'd consider the addition of a wheat malt extract, but I'd have to experiment first.

I bet you're even more glad you moved to AG after this!
 

mikec

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You have basically made beer flavoured sugar-wine. I've actually never heard of someone using that much sugar in a beer!

I'm not surprised it hasn't turned out great. I wouldn't expect a sourness, however. To be honest, I don't know what to expect with a recipe like that!! The recipe would be much better, in my opinion, with a couple of changes. Replace the dextrose with LME and replace the brew enhancer with maybe 600g of dextrose. That should be heaps. I'd also up the IBU for a beer with that high an OG to maybe 25-30. That's just me though. I find most belgian blondes to be a little sweet for my taste.
Yeah... If only I knew then what I know now...I doubt I'll try it again from extract, next time it will be AG.
 

manticle

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Straight off the ESB web shop.

Really? Bring water to boil then add grain? Presuming wheat grain infusion is actual grain? Wheat (grain) malt should be mashed.

You've added 2.6 kg of dex which is a lot. Add to that another 500g of candi sugar to make over 3kg of sugar (or slightly under if the candi is a liquid).

High gravity worts need a big healthy pitch of yeast which is probably why it struggled to ferment. How much of the WL yeast did you use and how did you prepare it?

Sour doesn't sound great - you mean sour like a lemon or white vinegar? Not to be confused with tart/dry/thin which might be a combo of wheat and loads of dex?

Pilsner tin, some malt extract and some dex or candi sugar, the right yeast and some flavour noble or styrian hops would see you right. The recipe as stated seems way over the top.
 

mikec

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Really? Bring water to boil then add grain? Presuming wheat grain infusion is actual grain? Wheat (grain) malt should be mashed.

You've added 2.6 kg of dex which is a lot. Add to that another 500g of candi sugar to make over 3kg of sugar (or slightly under if the candi is a liquid).

High gravity worts need a big healthy pitch of yeast which is probably why it struggled to ferment. How much of the WL yeast did you use and how did you prepare it?

Sour doesn't sound great - you mean sour like a lemon or white vinegar? Not to be confused with tart/dry/thin which might be a combo of wheat and loads of dex?

Pilsner tin, some malt extract and some dex or candi sugar, the right yeast and some flavour noble or styrian hops would see you right. The recipe as stated seems way over the top.
I know, I KNOW. Spending the last few weeks on AHB has taught me a lot, and almost everything about that recipe looks wrong to me now!
I had done some of their other clone kits in the past and they turned out alright, so naively trusted it. Looking through their kit recipes on the site, they all seem to have the same method - steep 200g of grain for 20 mins, finishing hops for 10 mins, then dump everything in the fermenter.

I used a whole vial of White Labs. Out of the fridge, let it warm up to room temp, gave it a good shake and tipped it straight in. Plenty of activity after the first day or so.
The taste isn't so much lemon, so it could be tart. It might just be green, plus very thin. I have given it a good swirl a couple of times to try to get the yeast back into suspension, but not shaken it or opened it. What would oxidisation taste like?

So, options are tip it, or try and save it. Assuming it's not off or oxidised, and just lacking in flavour, any suggestions for improving it from this point on? The kit plus the yeast cost close to $70, so if I can turn it into something drinkable, I'd give it a go.
 

iralosavic

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If your fermenter were big enough, you could add more ME and further dilute it. The yeast is probably slow due to high gravity. You could try rousing the yeast with a sanitised spoon that reaches the bottom. What's the SG at present?
 

mikec

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If your fermenter were big enough, you could add more ME and further dilute it. The yeast is probably slow due to high gravity. You could try rousing the yeast with a sanitised spoon that reaches the bottom. What's the SG at present?
SG is at 1.016.
30 litre fermenter with 23L of liquid.
 

iralosavic

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Normally for high gravity beers, you'd add the second wave of fermentables at high krausen. I'm not sure what the concensus is about doing it after fermentation is finished (which is probably the case here). However, with the ingredients you've listed, could it really hurt to try? You're looking at a 9% ABV with bugger all body - it will be like a wine almost. I'm honestly not sure how to figure out what the ABV% would be if you made changes, but if it were me, I'd either carry on and bottle/keg it and just drink it when I'm already pissed OR add a kilo or so of DME and 5-7L of water. See if anyone else with more experience doing stuff like this chimes in maybe.
 

manticle

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Adding after is fine.

That recipe is so all over the place, I don't know where to begin.

I am a fan of fixing beers because it challenges you to be creative but this one looks like such a mess, I'd be tempted to let it finish (if it isn't already - try a fast ferment test) bottle and leave for those moments when you really want a beer and have run out of everything else.

1 vial of whitelabs is probably insufficient for that gravity without being stepped up first.
 

mikec

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I'm thinking as it is now, it's going to be tasteless.

Thinking outside the box here... What if I was to tip a third or half of it out, then BIAB up some more Pilsner and hops, and combine it?
 

ekul

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If this was my brew i wouldn't bother trying to fix it by adding some grain to it. Its an extract brew that is over 50% sugar that has been underpitched with yeast, adding grain to it will only waste grain. Unless it tastes good?
 

iralosavic

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It's a pity it cost you so much so far, but I agree with Ekul- don't waste grain on it. I'd throw a kilo of Ldme and extra water into it if I had some lying around, but wouldn't go beyond that.
 

mikec

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Yeah fair enough.
 

Markbeer

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Add some Raspberry flavoured cordial. :)

Or throw it.
 

mikec

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I think I've resigned myself to dumping it.
However I will let it finish fermenting and bottle a couple. Next time I head out to ESB (The Brew Shop) I'll take one out for them to sample. I will make them drink it in front of me so I can see the reaction...
 

iralosavic

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I have a feeling they'll remember the hangover for quite a while! Yep, even from just one longneck.
 

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