A few weeks ago I had what likely will be my last brew day of the year, a double batch brew day of two different styles of Belgians, the Golden and Dark Strong Ale. I love both styles and needed some beers that would do well with some extending aging as I work through my existing backlog of beers. I was also thinking about the versatility of the Belgian Styles and how it would be cool to have two different style beers that were similar yet completely different.
I decided that the similarities would include the same yeast strain, Wyeast Farmhouse Ale, which is described as producing complex esters balanced with earthy/spicy notes with a slightly tart, dry and peppery finish and final gravities in the range of 1.075 to 1.085. The differences in the two beers would include the color, hop assertiveness and flavor profiles, grain bills, and mouthfeel of the final beers.
I kept the Golden Ale recipe extremely simple using only Pislner Malt with a touch of Turbinado sugar to help dry it out. For this beer I wanted to emphasis the hops and the interplay between them and the Belgian yeast flavors. This is in contrast to the large amounts of specialty grains I used in the Dark Strong which I intend to be a more of a malt focused beer.
I also really wanted to use some of the new hop strains I got from HopDirects 2013 harvest. One of which was Challenger, which I have used sparingly in the past with good results. I wanted to use a decent amount of them to get acquainted with their smooth floral and subtle spice flavors, these hops are known for. I thought any mild citrus flavors from the Challengers could be bolstered with some Citra and Cascade late addition hops.
Im looking forward to seeing how this beer as long as the Dark Strong Ale, which I will be posting the recipe for shortly, turn out over time. Both styles should age gracefully however Ill be watching the hoppier Golden Strong Ale closely to make sure and drink it before the subtle hop flavors begin to fade. Having two Belgians, one that emphasizes the hop and yeast dynamics and another that focuses on the malt and yeast interplay should provide for some interesting drinking in the upcoming months.
Batch Size: 10.5 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.084
Est. Final Gravity: 1.014
Color: 5.4 SRM
Boil Time: 60 Min
93.1% Pilsner Malt
6.9% Turbinado Sugar
2 Oz Challenger (6.3% AA) at 60 min
1 Oz Challenger (6.3% AA) at 20 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
1 Oz Cascade (8.5% AA) at 5 min
1 Oz Citra (12.9% AA) at 0 min
3 L Starter Wyeast 3726 PC Farmhouse Ale
60 minutes at 151F (Saccharification Rest)