Homebrew Batch #35 – Max’s Belgian Blonde Ale

Last Wednesday, February 5th, I brewed up a 2.5 gallon batch of an improvised Belgian Ale.   I was taking advantage of my new mash tun, which I built from a 10 gallon cooler according to these instructions.   Previously, I mashed in a 3 gallon cooler, which left me barely enough room for grains to brew a medium alcohol 2.5 gallon batch.  The new setup will allow me to lauter/sparge more efficiently (I was basically doing brew-in-a-bag before), and, more importantly, allow me to up my grain bill where necessary.

I was surprised to find my efficiency in this batch to be only 60%, which is roughly what I was getting before.   I figured that the larger mash tun and actual lautering would improve my efficiency, but alas – no.   After mashing for 60 minutes at 154 degrees, I drew off the wort into a pitcher and poured it back onto my grain bed, gently.  I repeated the process several times, and then drew off a few pitchers-worth into my kettle, and sparged with 170 degree water.  I was essentially batch-sparging, and I repeated the process.   When all was said and done, again, I was surprised that my efficiency still sucked.   My twitter-homebrew-consultants suggested that it may have something to do with the way the grains are milled.  Anyway, the good news is that I can round up my grain bill now with ample room in my mash tun.



Max’s Belgian Blonde, in honor of Max the foster dog, looks like this:

mash for 60 minutes at 154 degrees:

5lbs pilsen malt

0.5lbs Munich malt

0.5lbs biscuit malt

0.5lbs carapils

lauter, sparge, bring to a boil, then add:

0.5 oz perle hops

boil for 30 minutes, then add 0.25 oz saaz hops

boil for another 29 minutes (59 minutes total) then add 0.75 oz saaz.

remove from heat, chill to 70 degrees, and pitch Safale T-58 yeast.

My OG came to 1.058, which was about 60% efficiency.  I will give it 3 weeks in fermentation (roughly 57-59 degrees in my basement) and then bottle.



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