Messed up Belium Ale?

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Messed up Belium Ale?

Post by bhdail » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:44 pm

I'm a new home brewer and today brewed my first batch using my own ingredients, not a kit. I looked around at recipes for Belgium ales and used what I learned from that to put together my own. I'm extract brewing and used 6lbs of Briess gold unhopped LME and steeped 1lb of cara 20L and 1/2 lb of Cara 45L grains. I don't know how to calculate OG so I'm not sure if I'm where I want to be. I noticed some of the recipes I've seen are very similar but they add some corn sugar, usually around 1lb. I didn't do that and now I'm worried I won't have enough fermentables for the yeast to do their thing. Did I mess up my brew? If I did, any way to fix it?

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Post by slothrob » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:51 pm

Liquid Malt extract usually adds about 34 points per pound, so 6 pounds would add 6# x 34 points/# = 204 points. 204 points ÷ 5 gallons would be 40.8 points per gallon, or 1.041.

The grain will add a variable amount depending on the particular grain and the efficiency of extraction. Most grain adds about 36 points per pound at 100% efficiency. If we assume at least 60% efficiency, then 0.60 efficiency x 36 points/# x 1.5# = 32.4 points added.

All together, (204 points + 32.4 points) ÷ 5 gallons = 1.047 OG.

Belgian beer styles are widely variable. A beer like that might be very similar to a Belgian Pale Ale. Other styles, like Dubble or Triple or Golden Strong, have much higher gravities, but Belgian Table Beer can have a lower OG.

If you want, you can still add sugar. My buddy, who makes a number of Belgian beer styles, adds the sugar as the primary fermentation is beginning to slow down. Each pound of sugar would add 46 points ÷ 5 gallons = 9.2 points to the OG. One rule of thumb is to add no more than 20% of the total gravity as sugar. In this case, 20% would be 11.75 points per gallon (bringing the beer to ~1.059 OG), or 58.75 total points. 58.75 points ÷ 46 points/# = 1.28 # sugar.

So, you could add as much as 1 1/4 # sugar, if you wanted, but the beer might be quite good as it is. My buddy makes a Belgian Pale Ale at around 1.050 that is one of my favorite beers that he brews.
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