Sunday, June 04, 2006


Hell's Bells

So yesterday found me brewing another batch of beer on what started out as a pretty miserable day - raining, overcast... so I did it in the garage. This time around it was a new recipe - "Hell's Bells Belgian Pale", which quite honestly is really just a huge 4.5 gallon starter for the upcoming "For Whom the Bell Tolls Tripel".

It was an amazing brew session for many reasons... a couple I took pictures of. First, the sparge was pretty unique - The sparge water and wort did not mix in the mash tun, but maintained seperate layers due to density differences. If you look at the left pic, you'll see the crystal clear water with some grain matter floating in it, and then below you'll see another layer of a kind of ruddy red color with more - that's not the grain bed! At that point we were still an inch or so above the grain bed... so just like a black & tan, the liquid layers chose not to mix.

Second, I only had to vourlauf about 3 quarts before the wort was coming out crystal clear - most of my batches it has been a 8-9 quart affair. The wort going into the kettle was crystal clear, as shown by the right picture - even at 8 gallons I could see all the way to the bottom of the kettle.

The yeast (WLP510 Bastogne Belgian Ale) took off 5 hours later, and this morning we are fermenting full-tilt. I got a very minimal amount of break material in the fermenter which should leave me with a pretty pure yeast cake for the tripel in 2 weeks. This is apparently the a straing of the primary yeast Orval uses in their beers... and its primary fermentation looks VERY much like a Saison... kind of a fluffy, soapy kraeusen.

Yesterday was the 2006 Buzz-Off competition. I am still anxiously awaiting the results for the two beers I entered. Keeping my fingers crossed...

EDIT:Well, I got second place for my Queen's Darkness in the Imperial Stout category. My guess is they'll tell me it needed more hops and alcohol, but we will see. "My Wife's Nutty Brown Ale" didn't place in the top 4 - They must have shelled me for some flaw that I couldn't catch, or they just flat-out hated it. Again, I'll have to wait to get the judge's feedback on it. Not sure what category of brown ale it went in as... maybe that was the problem. But second place... that's not too bad for my first competition.

You should have waited to Brew this on June 6th ;)
The "Nutty Wife" was entered as an 11. English Brown Ale C. Northern English Brown Ale -
Well, that's exactly what I would have entered it as, so there are obviously other flaws in the beer. Hate being so impatient... but I want to see those sheets NOW!!! ;-)

To celebrate my second place, I drank one of the remaining 4 Queen's Darkness Stouts last night... YUM.
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