Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cloning a Golden Dragon - Part 4 - The Brewing

In the first three posts in this series, I talked about how I'm attempting to brew a clone of the famous Gulden Draak ale from Belgium.  I captured the yeast from four bottles of the actual beer and fed it to three separate starter worts, each time noting that the yeast got more and more active.  Finally it is time to brew.

I also talked about my planned recipe, but I realized I was looking at a different clone recipe than the one I'd intended to follow.  I made a trek to the Winemaker's Shop in Clintonville to get the ingredients I needed for this one.  Fortunately there was some overlap with the original recipe I'd planned to use, so I didn't have to buy a completely new set of ingredients.

I'm going to brew a 2.5 gallon batch, in part because I want to know how it turns out without wasting all $70+ of ingredients and in part because I don't have a kettle large enough yet to do a 5-gallon boil or my wort chiller to get it down to temp yet.

So here's the recipe I actually did brew with:
  • 8 oz. Special B Malt, crushed
  • 4 oz. Caramunich Type III Malt, crushed
  • 2 oz. Crystal Malt 60L Malt, crushed
  • 1 oz. Acid Malt, crushed
  • 4 pounds Dry Light Malt Extract (DME)
  • 0.5 pounds Dry Wheat Malt Extract (DME)
  • 0.5 pounds Rice Syrup Solids
  • 16 oz. D-180 Dark Candi Syrup
  • 0.4 ounces German Northern Brewer Hops (11.4% alpha acid)
  • 0.5 ounces Styrian Goldings Hops (1.4% alpha acid)
  • 0.5 tsp Irish Moss
  • Gulden Draak yeast cultivated from bottles and starter solution
The above recipe is a derivative of the 5-gallon Gulden Draak recipe in the book CloneBrews, 2nd Edition: Recipes for 200 Commercial Beers by Tess and Mark Szamatulski.  I replaced some of the Crystal Malt with Caramunich and Special B, and added D-180 syrup in place of some of the dry light malt extract to make it a bit darker and add the Candi sugar flavors.

Below are the ingredients, awaiting steeping temperature to be reached for the water on the stove (note that the fruit and squash pictured were not included).

Below you see the grains steeping.  I got the water up to 160 then set it off the heat with the lid on, which kept it in the 150-160 range for 10 minutes or so.  I had to return it to low heat for the next 25 minutes, which kept it in the 150-160 range.

I used the boil in a bag (BIAB) method to steep the grains.  After 35 minutes in the water, I sparged them with enough 160 degree water to get the boil volume up to about 1.25 gallons.

The finished initial mash:

This was brought to a boil, then the addition of 11.4% German Northern Brewers Hops in a muslin bag:

After 15 minutes, Styrian Goldings hops, yeast nutrient, and Irish moss were added per the recipe, also in a muslin bag.

At the 15 minutes left mark, I began gradually adding the rice syrup solids, D-180 Candi Syrup, wheat DME, and light DME until it was all in there.  Because the boil volume was so low, I had to add another 5-10 minutes to the boil to dissolve all the DME clumps.

Once this was complete, I chilled it down to yeast-pitching temperatures in the pot by covering it and placing it outside in the 40-degree weather.  This took about 3 hours.  Not ideal, but since I don't have a wort chiller (and had to leave the house at the time) it was the best I could manage.

This mixture was poured into my 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter.  I added in enough chilled and previously boiled water to get the quantity up to 2.5 gallons and the temp down to pitching level (about 76 degrees in this case).  Then, I drained the spent wort off the Gulden Draak yeast culture and tossed that into the fermenter.  I stirred the mixture with a sanitized steel spoon to ensure that the yeast, water, and concentrated wort were distributed well within the fermenter.  Finally, I sanitized and inserted my oxygenator and pumped oxygen into it for about 45 seconds.  The lid was snapped on the fermenter and an airlock placed in the lid.

For those who like to see the numbers, here's what Clone Brews has for their Gulden Draak recipe, plus what Beer Tools Pro estimates for my variant, and my actual readings.

Clone Brews Book
Beer Tools Pro Estimate
for my variant
My Actual Readings
Original Gravity
1.108 (refractometer)
SRM (Color)
Final Gravity

Per the Clone Brews recipe, this will ferment in the primary fermenter for 7 days or until fermentation slows.  Then it needs to be racked off to the secondary fermenter.  It will remain in the secondary for at least another two weeks.  It would be ready to bottle at that point, and ready to drink about two months after it's carbonated.  It's flavor is expected to peak at 3-10 months and will keep at cellar temperatures for as long as 18 months.

On to Part 5, the Fermenting...

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