Brewday: Belgian Dubbel Ale

It’s been far too long since I spent an afternoon brewing, and with the weather here at the Devil’s Gate being so warm and wonderful, this weekend was a perfect opportunity to make a Belgian Dubbel Ale.

I had a lovely time brewing, and I documented in pretty much real time on Twitter. If you don’t see anything below, you may need to let an extension allow Twitter (Ghostery and NoScript block it, for good reason):


I realized I’d made a stupid typo:

This is the first boilover I’ve had in over a year. It could have been much worse, but I caught it seconds after the hot break.

I made a mistake here, because I was trying to do too many things at once. The hops addition should have happened at 10, and the Candi at 15.

So the Candi was only in the boil for 10, but with a five minute whilrpool before I added the chiller, I think it’ll be okay.

We’re having a drought here, so when I use an immersion chiller, I always collect the water that goes through the coil, and save it to wash my equipment, give to my dogs, or water my plants. Yesterday, I used about 25 gallons to chill the wort to 80, and was able to reuse all of that collected water to clean all my equipment, fill my dog’s water dish, and rinse off my hands when I was done. I’m getting a plate chiller soon so this won’t be an issue as summer arrives and the water crisis gets even worse.

I played the waiting game for much longer than anticipated, probably because I didn’t make a starter, and probably pitched a tiny bit too warm. But as of right now, about 20 hours later, it’s going nuts.

I undershot the OG by a bit. I wanted to hit 1.061, and I got 1.058 (maybe 1.059, if I’m generously reading the hydrometer). Presuming that I get to somewhere between 74% and 80% ADT, I should finish up between 6.5% and 7% ABV, which is a tiny bit on the low side, but within the BJCP guidelines. I also lost about a quarter gallon to hops trub, because I didn’t have any hops bags, which left me with about 4.75 gallons instead of 5. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and theoretically lets me moderately over-pitch, to really let the yeast esters go nuts. I used Wyeast 1214, and I expect it to give me some nice floral and spice notes.

A couple of updates to existing brews: My Pliny clone, Pompey the Great, is nearly gone, because it’s incredibly popular with my friends (#homebrewerproblems). I’ll probably put the porter on when that keg is blown.

I checked my extract w00tstout last night, because it had been in primary for two weeks. The gravity has fallen to about 1.022 (from 1.108), which math tells me is about 11%. I’d love to get it up to 12.5%, like #w00tstout Prime, and the airlock is still bubbling, so I’m going to let it hang out in primary for another week. The sample tasted incredible, with heavy chocolate notes and not a lot of booze.

I also made a super quick and super easy apple cider, because I already had all my equipment out. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with it, because it calls for 6 gallons of top-off and a 7 gallon fermentor, but I only had 5 gallon fermentors available. I won’t add anything to sweeten it, but I expect it’ll be a little bit sweeter than I wanted, just because of the extra concentrated nature of the beast. One thing I really like is being able to leave it uncovered by a T-shirt in the carboy, because there’s no hops, and I can watch the yeast do their thing. If you’ve never watched yeast swirl around during fermentation, do it. It’s really neat.

Happy brewing, everyone!

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