Tried out my Belgian Ale today… I’m pretty happy with it. Lots of orchard and tropical fruit aroma from the yeast and Azacca hops, and a bit of a lingering bitterness from the Citra. I don’t think the Belgian yeast really shines due to being unable to maintain a consistently high fermentation temperature, I will try again this summer when reaching 30° is more practical than in a wood-heated home in Februrary!
I had a packet of Belgian Ale yeast I have been wanting to use for a while now, and also wanted to brew a hoppy beer for an upcoming home brewer’s exchange so I decided to combine both ideas into a hoppy Belgian ale. For malt I used 7lbs ESB, 2lbs French aromatic, 1lb Munich, 1lb crystal 20, and 1lb carafoam. Hop additions were 1oz magnum at 60 minutes, 1oz citra at 15 and 1oz citra at 5. I’m planning on dry hopping with 2oz of Azacca and I’m hoping that the tropical mango flavours will pair well with the fruity, spicy yeast. My only problem is not researching my yeast fermentation temperature very well. Ideal temps are from 26° to 42° C – not ideally suited to brewing in March! My fermentors are wrapped in several layers of blankets with an electric heat pad inside, which seems to be working so far. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do a lagering phase after the initial two weeks of hot fermentation, I may split the batch up and lager one for to see what the difference is like!
Well after about 50 hours of labour picking, sorting, washing, crushing, juicing, fermenting, racking, bottling and all the cleaning in between… We have cider! That actually tastes good! Made 72 bomber bottles in all, some dry hopped with Azacca. It was definitely a learning process and I know now what not to do next year, but I think overall it was a success and I’m pretty pleased its all organic and from my own yard!