Monday, September 27, 2010

Homebrew Journal: Kyle's Belgian Warriors

After homebrewing from kits for a while, Mark and I both decided to design our own recipes and try them out. I was going to write my notes about the recipe and the brewing in my brewing notebook, but since this is a new beer that has never been made before, I thought I would share. I'll write a little bit about mine here and I'll let Mark write his own entry about his if he wants. I have not tasted the beer yet so this isn't a review, but I will write a review in a few months when it is done.

I will go the whole thing here, but you can find more details about my recipe here. That is a great website and I highly reccomend it for designing your own recipes. This is an extract recipe.

Malts (all liquid):
6 lbs of Northern Brewer Light Pilsen Extract (75)
6 lbs of Northern Brewer Golden Extract (75)
1 lb. 3 oz. of Munton's Light Extract (60)

If you are a homebrewer you can probably tell that I decided to really go for it with my first recipe. I put in more than 12 pounds of malt, which ended up giving me an OG of 1.085. That is huge. If it drops nicely I should end up with about 9% ABV. Also you might notice that I decided to boil for 75 minutes. This is the first time I have done that and I will explain why in the Hops section. The malts I chose are common in Belgian style dubbels and tripels (even the Muntons which I just threw in cause Mark had it left over) and I wanted to stick to a Belgian style with malts and yeast, but really add a lot of kick with the hops.

1 oz. Warrior Hops, 17.2% Alpha (75)
1 oz. Warrior Hops, 17.2% Alpha (60)
1 oz. Cascade Hops, 5% Alpha (15)
1 oz. Czech Saaz Hops, 4% Alpha (15)
1 oz. Cascade Hops, 5% Alpha (5)
1 oz. Czech Saaz Hops, 4% Alpha (5)


The Warriors have a very high Alpha percentage which is basically a measure of how bitter they are. However, the amount of bitterness that actually comes out of the Lupulin is a factor of how long you boil it. I want the Warriors to really be the center point so I started an ounce of them at 75 to maximize their bitterness and also added an ounce at 60 where they should be very bitter as well. The massive amounts of maltose in this beer will downplay the bitterness and hopefully strike a nice balance. I don't expect the Terminal Gravity to be much lower than 1.025 so there will still be a good amount of sugar in the final product. It is a lot of both sugars and bittering hops so I don't know if one will dominate, but I hope the warriors only slightly win out over the sweetness. The Cascade-Czech Saaz 15-5 finishing combo is lifted straight from the Northern Brewer Houblonmonstre (Gewurztramonstre) kit that I loved so much. I thought for a long time that I was going to save an ounce of Warriors for either dry hopping or hop bursting (adding to boil at 0 minutes), but Mark and I decided that they might get lost among the Cascades and Saaz so it would be better to just use them for bittering.

Wyeast Belgian Ardennes 3522

I decided on the yeast because it works well against high gravities and it is described as having a complex spicy character and mild fruitiness. I hope that some of that comes through and it is not overpowered to much by the other flavors. Otherwise it won't be very much like a Belgian anything. A yeast starter was made from the smack pack 3 days prior to brewing.
I had originally called this a Belgian Tripel, but according to hopville, it has way too much of everything to be considered for that label. I think Imperial IPA might be a better label, but for now let's just stick with "Kyle's Belgian Warriors!"

The brew is taking off nicely, it is bubbling over like crazy after 24 hours and is making a mess for Mark in his closet.

Questions and comments welcome...


  1. Errata: Don't forget... you steeped 16 oz of Carapils grains before you started the boil.

  2. ahh yes, thank you. The carapils grains also chosen for their presence in Belgian style ales.

  3. Whoa that blow off is intense. Hopefully Mark has nothing of value in that closet.

  4. Racked to Secondary on 10/10/10, gravity at 1.018 giving it 8.9% ABV. smelled sweet and malty, tasted bitter and hoppy, I'll try to give it at least a month in secondary.