#24P Belgian Blond Ale

Eureka, yet another post about a recipe from the old days. April 2011 in this case. I would like to upload all the remaining recipes up to batch #50 in the future (three to go) to have a complete list of recipes available. After batch #50 only the most interesting, experimental recipes will be posted. I decided to put more effort into publishing yeast related stuff to give yeast ranchers, hunters and gatherers more information. Back to the recipe of today. The principal goal of this recipe was to further test Wyeast’s strain 3522 Belgian Ardennes. One of my most favourite yeast strains so far. In addition, I used propagated 3522 yeast stored in isotonic sodium chloride solution for the first time here. Never made a batch with stored yeast before. The recipe is not very complicated and therefore makes it easier to detect any yeast originating flavors.

Recipe: Belgian Blonde Ale
Numbers: Volume [L] 5 (1.32 gal)
Original gravity 13.5°P (1.054)
Terminal gravity 4.5°P (1.017)
Color Around 4 EBC
ABV 5.8% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 0.73 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.4 kg
Table sugar (0 EBC) 0.086 kg
Hops: Styrian Goldings (6.1% AA) 6 g and boil for 90 min
Hallertauer (4% AA) 5 g and boil for 60 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s #3522 Belgian Ardennes
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 2.8 L (0.74 gal), sparge: 5 L (1.32 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @64°C (147°F),
60 min @64°C (147°F),
10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 1 month @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3 with sugar addition (34 g sugar to 3.5 L beer)
Maturation time 21 days

04/02/2011: Another small batch brew day. All the grains were crushed and mashed in at 64°C. The sugar is added at the end of the boil. Everything else like rests and hop additions are mentioned above. I then added enough of WY3522 yeast and left the fermentation go for 14 days until I racked the beer into a secondary fermenter and let it ferment out and mature for another four weeks.

05/16/2011: Bottled with some fresh yeast and sugar to a carbonation level of 3 vol of carbon dioxide. I then stored the bottles for another few weeks at room temperature.

08/30/2011: Beer now close to four months in the bottles. Tasting:

Aroma: Lots of pineapple… Light sweet character as well. No hops, no malt.

Appearance: Yellow-golden color, some particles float in the glass (grains!!!), lightly hazy and fast disappearing head… Not very nice to look at. (Looking back, I brew in a bag for small batches now to avoid such appearance problems)

Flavor: Pineapple, watery…

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation and malty, sweet finish.

Overall Impression: Really bad appearance and rather one-dimensional (who would have guessed). I wonder why so much pineapple is detectable in such a beer. I never had pineapple with this strain before. Reading Wyeast’s description of WY3522 Belgian Ardennes, this strain seems to be rather balanced. Some esters and spicy notes. But I could not detect any spicy notes here. Maybe because of a lacking ferulic acid rest? I am not sure if any off-flavor has a distinctive pineapple aroma. Please let me know if this is the case. Anyway, I don’t really have an explanation for pineapple aroma.

To summarize, this experiment did not lead to any conclusive results. Just a pineapple driven beer. I am somewhat used in my every day live that some experiments lead to inconclusive results or not to the results you were expecting. This might be because your expectations were not correct or due to a bad experimental design. Nevertheless, I could at least show that a yeast stored in isotonic sodium chloride can ferment a beer.

The next post will not be about a recipe. I haven’t decided which post I am going to publish next because this depends on the latest results. However, it will be about yeast. Promised!


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