Belgian Pale Ale Homebrew

This one is a Belgian Pale Ale.  These are light session beers that are perfect for the absurd summer weather we’ve been having here in Virginia.  I think when most people think of Belgian beers, their first thought is of big, heavy and complex dubbels, tripels, Belgian strong ales and quads. Those are great styles, but they are a little challenging when you just want to turn off and chill out.

The Belgian pale ale is something easy and refreshing that you would enjoy drinking while sitting outside at a café in Brussels. I’ve done just that and it is amazing.

I went a little experimental with this one in that I used the limited edition Wyeast Leuven yeast. (Rumor has it that this is the yeast used by Corsendonk.) It is a little outside the norm, but it seemed like an interesting choice.

I liked how this brewed turned out overall. It is orange with some straw highlights. There are some malt notes, but the clearer taste characters show up as pear and some peppery spice.

If I would change anything about this brew, I’d ferment it a little warmer. I keep this one cooler than a normal ale (~66°F) to keep it balanced, but I’d like to see what letting this one go hot and wild would do. Belgian strains thrive on conditions that stall most yeast strains. Doing so would have made this one a little less…subtle.

I named it “They’re Filming Midgets!” To fully understand that line, your homework would be to check out the infinitely quotable In Bruges movie.

If you are interested, the recipe is below. Why was half of my base malt Canadian pilsner? No good reason, really.  I had won 5 lbs of it from the Devil’s Backbone in a homebrew competition and thought I’d throw that it in there in place of some of the Belgian Pils.

They’re Filming Midgets! – (Belgian Pale Ale)

Starting Gravity: 1.054 (7/5/10)

Final Gravity:  1.014 (8/2/10) Days    

5.3% alcohol (by volume)

Apparent Attenuation: 73.2%    

Real Attenuation: 60.0%

Mash (65 minutes ~153°)

5 lb Canadian Pils

5 lb Belgian Pils

0.75 lb Caramunich

0.50 lb Belgian Biscuit

Boil (90 min)

1.3 oz/39 grams East Kent Goldings (5.9% AA) Pellet Hops (60 min)                

0.3 oz/10 grams East Kent Goldings (5.9% AA) Pellet Hops (0 min)                

Primary (66º F)  

Wyeast 3538 Leuven Pale Ale (Starter Made 7/3/10)


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