Last spring my girlfriend Audrey and I brewed a Lemon-Pepper Single for our first joint brew (she had helped out on parts of several brews, but that was the first one where she was involved in every step). She tends to like Belgian style beer, Ommegang, Unibroue, and Goose Island are the breweries she tends to go for when left to her own devices (although she also comes home with a six-pack of Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye and New Holland Dragon's Milk). This time around Audrey wanted to go a bit darker and stronger to make a beer that would hold up well enough to bring with her when she heads off to Tufts for grad school this fall.
I encouraged Audrey to keep the recipe pretty simple, a blend of Pils and Munich accounted for 90% of the grain, with some flaked barley for body and head retention and a few ounces of chocolate malt for color (despite an estimated color of 16 SRM the beer looks closer to 20, brown more than amber). We used Willamettes and US Fuggles to bitter (just working through the last of the 2008 crop) and a touch of Saaz near the end for a faint spicy aroma. I forgot to check which yeast we used last year, and Audrey picked out White Labs 550 (the same La Chouffe strain we used for our previous collaboration). While the color, alcohol, and yeast might lead some people to call this a Dubbel, it lacks the dark fruit character that dark crystal malt or dark candi syrup usually provides.
This batch also marks the first of what I hope will be many partial batch Brett'd beers. I got a culture of Brett bruxellensis from White Labs and made a starter that I'm hoping to keep going indefinitely. I'm planning on pulling a gallon off of any beer that seems interesting to try some relatively quick Brett beers without lactic acid bacteria. For this one I added the Brett along with the primary yeast (I'm going to wait to bottle until the gravity is stable), but eventually my goal is to do some Brett finished beers by adding Brett at bottling (although that will probably wait until I have a corker).
Audrey's Belgian Amber
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.25
Anticipated OG: 1.071
Anticipated SRM: 15.6
Anticipated IBU: 29.9
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74 %
Wort Boil Time: 95 Minutes
67.9% - 9.00 lbs. French Pilsner
22.6% - 3.00 lbs. German Munich Malt
7.5% - 1.00 lbs. Flaked Barley
1.9% - 0.25 lbs. English Chocolate Malt
1.38 oz. Willamette (Pellet, 4.00% AA) @ 80 min.
0.63 oz. US Fuggle (Pellet, 4.00% AA) @ 80 min.
0.50 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 2.90% AA) @ 15 min.
0.25 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 Min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 Min.
White Labs WLP550 Belgian Ale
Profile: Carbon Filtered Washington DC
Sacch Rest 70 min @ 150
1.5 L started 5/14/10 with a bit of yeast nutrient. Fermenting well by the
next morning, shook every 12 hours or so.
5/16/10 Brewed with Audrey
Added rice hulls, but still had a bit of a slow sparge. Fly sparged, collected 7 gallons of 1.054 wort.
Good strong boil. Could only chill to 72 due to warm tap water.
Pitched ~1 L of starter into 4 gallons. 1 gallon got a cup or so of yeast starter plus half a cup of Brett B starter.
Good strong fermentation after 12 hours, ~67 ambient.
5/23/10 Racked to corny keg for secondary, still has a bit krausen, but I needed the carboy. Gravity still 1.020 (72% AA), left warm ~75-80, hopefully should drop a few more points.
5/30/10 Lots of CO2 to vent when I returned from Florida, looks like fermentation is complete.
6/2/10 Moved down to the basement where it is slightly cooler.
6/5/10 Racked the Brett portion to another 1 gallon jug, pitched the dregs into the Session Brett Belgian Pale Peter and I brewed.
6/13/10 Bottled ~4 gallons with 1 5/8 oz of table sugar and 2 7/8 oz Demerara (out of table sugar). Aiming for ~3 volumes of CO2. Might be a bit higher since there seemed to be more CO2 than I was used to in suspension. Down to 1.010 (8% ABV, 86% AA). Did an extra through job stirring the dissolved sugar into the wort after the inconsistent carbonation with last year's batch.
8/5/10 First tasting, nice carbonation, good blance of fruit/spice/malt.
10/14/10 Bottled 7 bottles worth of the Brett'd portion each with 1/2 tsp of table sugar, a bit band-aidy but hopefully that will pass with more time.
3/9/11 The Brett'd portion is doing well. Some earthy funk, but it isn't too aggressive. Nice balance of fruit, malt, and funk.