Dare Mighty Things

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Unnamed Ale #4

For those of you looking for a race blog or some sort of training insight I'm sorry to say that this one's for the hopheads in the crowd. This afternoon was the birth of unnamed ale #4, a Belgian Witbier. As I steadily work my way through the Belgian-style ales, I grow more and more found of them with each passing boil. I promised Karen this would be the last handcrafted ale until the weather warms up. Oh no, she likes beer...she just prefers to keep the house on the "cooler side" (of cold) and yeast is much happier when you keep them a little warmer. Actually, each strain of yeast I brew with has a specific temperature range and wouldn't you know it, generally it's below our thermostat setting. But ever the supporting spouse, she lovingly puts up with my crazy all consuming "hobbies" and gives up a few degrees north of 63F. As a novice I'm still using the 'fool-proof' kits from Northern Brewer (NB). Yeah, it's sort of like making brownies from a box but the way I look at it is this, if I'm going to invest 6 weeks of my life brewing beer I want to make sure it's not going to taste like dishwater.

Another reason I prefer NB is the cool descriptions of the beers. Here's #4's; Literally, "white beer," this wheat beer originated near Louvain and got its name from its extremely pale, cloudy haze. Witbier was originally made by blending hopped wort with unhopped, bacterially infected wort, which gave it a tart, acidic taste. Fortunately, the Wyeast culture in this kit gives you all of the tartness with none of the bacteria. Light in color and extremely quenching, Witbier's unique flavor is also enhanced by coriander and bitter orange peel.
Now on to the nitty gritty...

Unnamed Ale #4
Wyeast #3944 Belgian Witbier
1.) 2 oz french strisselspalt hops
2.) 1.5 lbs wheat malt syrup
1.) 1.5 lbs wheat malt syrup
1.) 1.5 lbs wheat malt syrup
1.) 1.5 lbs wheat malt syrup
1.) 1 oz coriander seed
1.) 1 oz bitter orange peel

I used a similar division of fermentables for my Old Man Winter Ale and was pleased with the result. In slightly less than 3 hours I had boiled the wort, cooled the wort, and pitched the yeast. I've been getting slightly less than 24 hour lag times on my first three ales and the finished product has reflected that efficiency. I'll update the fermentation process as it progresses and give you a bubble by bubble account of all the yeasty action.

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