Work’s been busy recently so I haven’t had much time to blog anything, but here’s a recipe inspired by Belgian Blonde Ales which I brewed up today whilst working from home. Sorry – I meant brewed during a recent unspecified period of free time and certainly not in between odd tasks whilst working from home. That would be cheeky.
I wanted something with quite full mouthfeel with detectable (but not cloying) sweetness, balanced with a relatively high level of bitterness for the style. I also wanted a kick from some additional spices which, along with the hops, would give the beer real character. I didn’t want it too strong for a Belgian-style Blonde, so the plan was that these additions would compensate for the resulting lower levels of esters from the yeast action.
I was really happy with a Tripel Karmeliet clone I adapted and brewed last year, and thought that basically I could play around with the proportions of the ingredients for that and come up with something close to the beer I was imagining. The final recipe is below.
Cheeky Blonde OG 1054 23l 30 IBU
Lager Malt 4500g (could substitute with Pale or Pilsner)
Wheat Malt 300g
Rolled Oats 200g
Use soft water
Hallertau Hersbrucker 2.8% a 40g
Bouclier 7% a 26g
You probably won’t be able to get hold of Bouclier so substitute with your favourite Styrian Golding (which will be just as good if not better).
Licorice root (crushed) 17g
Coriander seeds (crushed) 11g
Sweet orange peel 46g (get the best quality fresh orange you can find)
Peel from one lime
Mash all the grains in a single step infusion mash at perhaps half a degree hotter than you normally do (to ‘up’ the mouthfeel a shade). I didn’t bother with glucan / protein rests for the oats / wheat – at these quantities I didn’t think it would be worth the extra effort.
Sparge as usual but use 60% of the bittering hops for first wort hopping – this should ensure that the higher level of bitterness has a soft rather than harsh quality, more suitable to the style. You can add the dextrose before the boil or half way through, but if you choose the latter option you may wish to lower the bittering hops to compensate for the better utilisation at lower gravity at the start of the boil.
90 mins: remainder of bittering hops
75 mins: crushed licorice root
80 mins: aroma hops and copper finings
0 mins: orange and lime peels, crushed coriander seeds
Leave for 20 mins then chill to 21 degrees. Run into fv, aerate as needed and pitch a suitable yeast (I used Fermentis T33).
My fridge is tied up lagering at the moment, so I’ve gone old skool and placed the fv in a builder’s bucket with water at 20C providing a warm jacket for the beer. A small immersion heater is clicking on and off to keep the temperature roughly correct.