Tonight, amid a torrential downpour, I’ll be brewing a Belgian Blond Ale. It’s a light, effervescent, refreshing beer with fruity esters provided from Belgian ale yeast and balanced by Saaz hops. The backbone of this beer is Pilsner malt. I added a half pound each of Munich and Vienna malts to give it a fresh baked bready goodness and a half pound of aromatic malt. My goal is to make an extremely fermentable wort so that it finishes dry. I’ll start with a 20 minute protein rest at 125, followed by a beta sacchrification rest at 145 for 30 minutes, a 30 minute alpha sacchrification rest at 158, and I’ll perform mash out at 170 and then lauter. It will be a 90 minute boil to reduce the DMS from the lightly kilned Pilsner malt. I’m adding a pound of table sugar, but not during the boil. Instead, I’ll add it when primary fermentation dies down. It should finish around 6% alcohol. I cannot wait to taste this beer!
Belgian Blond Ale is one of my favorite beers. I work in a hot, sweaty repair shop, and there is nothing more satisfying on a 95 degree day after I’ve sweat through every piece of clothing than coming home, taking a cold shower, and popping the top on a cold, refreshing, flavorful home made beer, pouring it into a goblet, and relaxing in the air conditioning
This is going to be the 5th lager I’ve brewed, so admittedly I’m not an experienced lager brewer. This is the first Munich Helles I’ve brewed. The recipe for this 5 gallon all grain light German lager is pretty simple: 10 1/2 pounds Briess Pilsen Malt, half a pound of Weyerman Carafoam, Hallertauer hops, and Munich lager yeast. Munich Helles is very close to a (Czech )Pilsner, only more malt forward and not nearly as hoppy. It should finish out at 1.053 OG and finish around 1.013 FG for an ABV right at 5.24%. I’m adding 1.25 ounces Hallertauer pellet hops at the onset of the one hour boil and a half ounce with 5 minutes remaining in the boil. This should give my Munich Helles 21 IBU’s. The plan is to cool down the wort in my deep freeze to the low 40’s then pitch then pitch the yeast and slowly let it rise to around 48 degrees for primary fermetation, which should last about 10 days. After that, I’ll bring it inside and let it rest at room temperature for three or four days then crash cool it down to just above freezing where it will remain for 4-6 weeks. Ya dig.
I’ve been reading a great deal about water chemistry and how it pertains to brewing. It makes good sense to worry about water chemistry as a homebrewer: this ingredient makes up 95% of the finished product. However, most homebrewers I’ve met aren’t concerned with it. It’s easy to get all of the water you need for brewing from the faucet, heat it up to 162ish and dough in at 150. After using a test strip on a glass of City of Decatur, Illinois tap water this afternoon I’m thinking hard about either buying reverse osmosis purified water and essentially building my water chemistry mineral by mineral from scratch or investing in a filter. The Ph is 8.4. Most material I’ve read has advocated aiming at 5.4 for a Munich Helles grain mash. I need to find out how much Gypsum or acidulated malt to add to drop my ph to an acceptable range.