Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Exploited Belgian Pale

During the fall of ’09, our attempt at cloning the Bruery’s Autumn Maple led us to an interesting discovery:  whatever yeast they use is a complete ass kicker and unlike any other commercial strain we’ve played around with before.  The beer started out with an original gravity somewhere in the ballpark of 1.100 and after a month-long fermentation, it finished at an astonishingly low 1.001.  Not only was it impressive that the strain could chew through so much sugar regardless of the increasing alcohol content, but the beer itself still retained a decent amount of body without being overly thick or chewy.  It’s an incredible strain and one that we’ve wanted to play around with ever since. 

Fast forward a year later and we’re at it again.  Whether or not the Bruery uses their house strain to ferment out their near 20% abv RIS Black Tuesday, we decided that this would be a great style to inoculate with their strain to test out its limits.  With the relative ease that the yeast converted our autumn maple wort into a 13% abv beer, I’m confident that we’ll end up with a stout upwards of 16%.  In order to produce such a beer however, we’ll need a massive amount of yeast at pitching time.

According to the pitching rate calculator on Mr., a beer with an OG of 1.135 would need about 441 billion cells of yeast to complete fermentation.  Since we’re playing around with yeast harvested from the dregs of a bottle, stepping up a starter to achieve that amount of cells would not only require about 1 ½ - 2 gallons of starter wort, but it would also be risky since at each step-up period we’d open up an opportunity to unintentionally introduce a spoiler organism.  Rather than taking that long and risky route, we decided to build up a starter until we had just enough yeast to ferment 5 gallons of 1.050 wort and then later use the yeast cake from said beer for the big RIS experiment.

Although the spices and high alcohol content of our autumn maple clone somewhat masked the flavors from the Bruery’s yeast, it is a Belgian strain that does produce a moderate amount of phenols.  With this being the case, it only seemed appropriate that, for the purpose of this cell development beer, we brew a simple Belgian Pale in order to let the flavors of the yeast shine through and be a star for a brief moment in time.

The Exploited Belgian Pale Ale

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 6.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.0
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated SRM: 6.7
Anticipated IBU: 23.2
Wort Boil Time: 90
Anticipated ABV: 6.4%
Actual ABV: 6.0%

77.5% - 7.75lbs German Pilsner
10.0% - 1.0 lbs CaraVienne Malt
5.0% - ½ lb Flaked Oats
5.0% - ½ lb Biscuit Malt
2.5% - ¼ lb Aromatic Malt

30 grams Czech Saaz (Pellets, 5.0% AA) @ 60 minutes
10 grams Czech Saaz (Pellets, 5.0% AA) @ 10 minutes

Bruery house strain – cultured from a bottle of Orchard White

Water Profile and Additions
Charcoal filtered Seattle water
Mash Additions: 0.5g/g gypsum, 0.5g/g calcium chloride + 2ml Lactic acid
Boil Kettle Additions: 0.4 g/g gypsum, 0.4 g/g calcium chloride, 0.5 g/g Epsom salt, 0.3 g/g salt (based on final volume of 6 gallons)

Mash Schedule
60 minutes @ 152
15 minutes @ 168
Sparge with 172 degree H2O

Brewed on 1/15/2011 with Blake

1/8/2011 – Used an inoculating needle to grab a few cells from a slant of Orchard White yeast that was plated back in October of 2010.  Cells were mixed with 10ml of 1.035 worth.  Once fermentation started, I added another 10ml and then 24 hours later, another 20ml.  24 hours after that, I stepped it up to 50ml, then 250 ml, 1000ml, and eventually, 2000ml.  All steps had about 24hrs in between.  Starter was placed in fridge about 24hrs before pitching.

1/15/2011 – With the known high attenuation rate of the yeast, we increased the amount of CaraVienne to 10% in order to prevent the beer from seeming completely dried out. 

Mashed at 152 for 60 minutes.

Efficiency was higher than anticipated and we collected 5 gallons of 1.060 wort (added 2.5 gallons of filtered water so that after a 90 minute boil, we’d end up with 6 gallons of 1.050 wort). 

Whirlflock and yeast nutrient added at 15 minutes.

Chilled to and pitched decanted yeast at 64°.  After 60 seconds of pure O2, carboy was then placed in fermentation chamber set to 66°.  After 48 hours, temp was raised 1 degree per 24 hrs until 70° was reached.  Held at 70° for the duration (6 more days).

1/27/2011 – Gravity down to 1.004. Crash cooled.

1/29/2011 – Kegged and carbonated.

2/27/2011 - First Tasting

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