Father’s Day Brew

I’ve had some WLP530 slurry in my fridge for a little while and I’ve been itching to use it on something, but was having a hard time deciding on what.  I finally put together a simple recipe for a low alcohol Belgian beer.  Something akin to a Patersbier, but a wee bit darker in color.  With Father’s Day weekend upon us, I felt it was a fitting time to brew this!

The brew day began a little hap haphazardly as I couldn’t find the battery to my drill and so had to go hunting for the crank handle to my grain mill.  Hand cranking was no big deal as the recipe is only about 3 pounds of grain.  I filled my bottling bucket with water, treated with a 1/4 of a Campden tablet, and set the appropriate volume of mash water to heat on the stove while I milled the grain.  The grist consisted of 2 lbs 6 oz of Pilsner Malt and 3 oz of Special B except the local shop didn’t have Special B so I substituted some CaraAroma.

I mashed in a little lower than I had intended, about 150 F instead of 152 F.  I used to obsess about my mash temps a lot, but after reading this exbeeriment by the folks at Brulosophy I’ve calmed down a lot.  Brewing beer should be relaxing, not stressful.  After mashing, I did two sparges instead of my typical one sparge collecting about 3 gallons of wort, which was a quart more than I had anticipated.  Adjusting the boil for the extra volume meant I ended up boiling for an extra 15 minutes.  The wort was quite a bit darker than I had expected, but had a great aroma and a wonderful burnt sugary flavor.

I added 1/4 oz of Hallertau at 60 and 30 minutes along with 4 oz of dark candy sugar at 15 minutes.  After the boil I cooled the wort using tap water initially, but had to recirculating ice water through the immersion chiller with a pump once temps reached about 100 F.  Got the wort cooled to 57 F before pouring into a sanitized Mr Beer Fermenter.

When the flask with the WLP530 had been on the stir plate, it quite vigorously erupted out the top on several occasions.  This led to me cleaning up a few messes, but also to there not being as much yeast density as I had calculated.  I also noticed when removing the foil to pitch the yeast that there was quite a bit of dried, funky (not good funk) smelling yeast deposits at the opening of the flask.  Much of this rinsed away when I decanted the starter wort.  I had some doubts about pitching the yeast, but in the end went ahead with it.  I’ll see how it turns out.

All in all it was a pretty smooth brew day and I managed to hit 1.040 on my OG, which is a few points higher than expected.  I set the Mr Beer fermenter in the closet next to the AC unit as it stays pretty cool in there and my Styrofoam fermentation chamber is undergoing some renovations.  This morning there was already a lovely krausen formed and the temp had risen to 72 F.  I’m leaving for vacation later this week and look forward to bottling this when I get back.

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