Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Belgian Blondes, and more....

It has been a while since I last posted, and thought I would catch up a little bit.  I have not been brewing too much this year, in fact I think I have only made three batches in 2011:
  • Honey Porter (using some local honey from my friend Wayne)
  • Wit (a summer favorite that didn't last the summer)
  • Belgian Blonde
The Blonde was quite an adventure in fermentation, as I brewed it on July 7th.  Since I live in Boston, summertime brewing is a risky thing, unless you have pretty good temperature control for your fermentation.  I really don't, nor do I have a conveniently cool basement (I live in an apartment), so I have to do without or brew Saisons.  Not that I don't like Saisons (I do), but I brewed them the past two summers, so I wanted something different.  I ended up with the Blond, as I have a fair amount of Pilsner malt, and not so much Maris Otter (pale ale malt), and the Blonde is a nice light style.

My original intent was to make a fermentation chamber out of rigid foam insulation, as was described in a BYO magazine article.  Finding the materials wasn't as easy as I hoped, and I bailed out on that for lack of time before my brew day.  Instead, I improvised a fermentation chamber with a large cardboard box, an air conditioner, and a temperature controller--and a sleeping bag.  It worked as well as I could have hoped, and the temp of the wort stayed on target through the fermentation, and there were no off flavors when I kegged the beer.  Hooray!

Next up, is an experiment with locally grown malt from Valley Malt, located in Western Massachusetts. I joined the Malt of the Month Club with another BFD member, and got my first shipment a while ago.  I now have 25 lbs of 2-row pale ale malt to work with, and I'm dying to try it out--but I'm waiting for the cooler weather first! Next post: the results!

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