Monday, April 07, 2008

Racking the Belgian

So after two weeks of steady fermentation, I decided to rack the Belgian. A gravity reading yielded a gravity of 1018, almost to the final gravity of 1016. It tasted quite sweet, which surprised me. I suppose it'll be hard to get a good handle on it until it's done and carbonated... crazy Belgians.

I also took a gravity reading on the Pils, which clocked in at 1024, which is 75% towards its destination gravity of 1016. The sample I tasted came off as way sweet with nowhere near the hop bitterness I was shooting for. It could be I'm noticing the effects of overshooting my gravity (which resulted in a 1.59:1 gravity unit:bitterness unit ratio instead of the intended 1.38:1 ratio, which is the equivalent of a 32 IBU beer at the target gravity of 1051). It's also possible it's just the fact that WLP 830 is a malty yeast (as suggested on the White Labs page). There was also a slight off flavor that was either diacetyl or DMS (I'm hoping diacetyl since the rest should take care of that). Anyway, I think I'm probably reading too much into this. We'll see how it is once it reaches terminal gravity and lagers. I read somewhere that you can start the diacetyl rest when you're three quarters toward your final gravity, but I can't seem to find that source now and I've read several accounts where people did a 2-week primary with WLP 830 and then did their diacetyl rest. As such, I'll give it one more week and then jack up the temperature.

EDIT: So I've since done a little searching around and realized something... Since I'm now using the plate chiller, I don't want it to clog with pellet hops so I added the hops in a muslin bag. Apparently the rule of thumb is you lose 10% hop utilization when straining with a bag. This, plus the higher-than-planned final gravity, likely explains the sweetness of my Pils. Oh well, I'll just call it a Helles if necessary.


Blogger Meghan said...

Hello - I'm a student at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and, for a class, researching a business idea that involves one of my favorite things, beer. I'm trying to talk to one or two Chicagoans who brew their own beer and know a bit about the homebrew community (if there is one!). Would you be willing to chat with me for a few minutes or answer some questions via email? Thanks - I can be reached at

4:37 PM, May 21, 2008  

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