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Advice on a Belgian Pale/IPA

I have everything set to brew a Belgian Pale on Friday morning but I am getting stuck on my hop additions/schedule. The recipe is based off of Jamil’s in Brewing Classic Styles: 8lbs Pilsner LME, 1lb Caramunich & 0.5lbs Biscuit Malt. I plan on using the Wyeast PC # 3725, Biere de Garde based on the recommendation of the owner of the LHBS (he told me the Wyeast strain that Jamil calls for, 3655 Belgian Schelde, is either a one time thing or a Private collection that hasn’t been around in a while). I have a small hop inventory and am wondering if I should stick to Jamil’s recipe using all Kent Golding or should I blow this baby out with some citrusy & dank American hops. Below is my inventory. Any recommendations are appreciated.

2oz Kent Golding
2oz Amarillo
1oz Sorachi Ace
1oz Cascade
1oz Warrior
1oz FF 7 C’s
1oz Simcoe
1oz Citra
1oz Northern Brewer
1oz US Golding

Thanks in advance for any input :cheers:

What do YOU want it to taste like? . Knowing what you want a beer to taste like before you brew it is key to improving rcipes. For example if im working on a malty amber ale recipe and end up with a light colered ipa, cool ill drink it but as far as creating good recipes i’d say i failed. If you aren’t sure what you want i’d stick with jamil’s.

This. However, I will say that I have found, sticking to a tried-and-true recipe, at least on the first brew of it, has served me really well. Its somewhat due to the fact that I love being creative, and my ‘miss’ with brew recipes, at least early on, was to “kitchen sink” them.

I don’t know much about that yeast (and can’t research b/c its blocked @ my employer), but biere de gardes are pretty mellow with esters/phenols (and they are made very often with lager yeasts). BPA’s should have some moderate pepper phenols and fruity esters, with LOW hop aroma/flavor.

Anyway, I’d brew it once clean as-is, then if you want to modify, modify.

+1 to keeping the hop character in check enough so the Belgian yeast character comes through.

Employer blocks BJCP? Time to find a new job. Hehe

Thanks Guys. Brewing it as is (with just the Kent Golding) was the direction I was leaning. I plan to wash/rinse the yeast so I can brew a second iteration, possibly blown out with the citrusy/dank hops.

Guy at the LHBS (who is one of those guys who know EVERY Wyeast strain by number) told me the Biere de Garde yeast is more peppery phenol and low on the fruity esters. Which is why he recommended it for the BPA. I can still get the Belgian “bite” but the moderate fruit character would let the citrus/fruit of the hops shine through.

My biggest concern is that every time I have brewed a single hop recipe I feel they are a little one dimensional. But I have also never brewed a belgian and feel the case may be different with a yeast that provides more character. Haha, as you can see I have been talking myself in circles on this one.

Tried & true it is…this time.

exactly. I happen to agree with you on single hop beers, but likely largely because I’ve used a very neutral yeast strain like Chico. When brewing saisons, kolsches, or other styles where yeast character is paramount (aka most Belgians), bittering hop only is fine, and you don’t need to vary those.

Are you trying to brew a Belgian pale ale (De Konnick,Special Palm,Fat Tire), or a Belgian IPA (Houblon Chouf, Urthel Hop It, Flying Dog Raging Bitch Ale?) They are two different styles. The BPA is a malty, biscuity, low hoped ale, with a dry lager like finish. De koninck uses Saaz, and Palm uses Fuggles and EKG. I don’t like Fat Tire, but it fits the style guidelines. You should use a clean yeast that does not have any of the typical Belgian profile. WLP 515 is the Antwerp strain and is the best yeast for this style. The Schelde yeast has some of that peppery, phenol that is not appropriate in this style. A low fruit, crisp yeast like European Ale would be my second choice. If you get peppery, phenolics in one of the commercial beers above, it is not fresh. When fresh, they are very malty and clean with a light hop character. It should have the malt character of an English pale ale and the hops and crispness of a Munich Helles.

A Belgian IPA is like a hopped up blond ale or trippel. I keep the bitterness to 35-40, but then add a lot of flavor and aroma hops. You can use strong, American hops for bittering, but I would use citrusy European hops like Styrian Goldings or Saaz for the flavor and aroma additions so the Belgian yeast character will come through. Wyeast 3787 and 3522 and their White lab equivalents are great yeasts for this style.

Bierre De Garde yeast is actually Phantom yeast according to my research. I am using for the first time, and have a saison in primary so I have not tasted it yet.

I’ve used wlp550 before with stellar results. It’s a bastardized recipe I hijacked from here using mostly citra, cascade, and Amarillo. The grain bill was 50/50 wheat and pale malt. That can be converted to extract very easily.

I personally don’t care much for the taste of Belgian Yeast and citrus hops. The Belgian Yeast esters and phenols just don’t go well with the grapefruit or citrus hops.
The best Belgian IPAs I have tried used spicy Noble hops or floral English hops.

[quote=“DUNNGOOD”]I personally don’t care much for the taste of Belgian Yeast and citrus hops. The Belgian Yeast esters and phenols just don’t go well with the grapefruit or citrus hops.
The best Belgian IPAs I have tried used spicy Noble hops or floral English hops.[/quote]
Agreed, although I suppose if you use a yeast that only kicks out a little pepper then a lemon pepper kind of thing isn’t bad. But its kind of tough to see it as a Beligian under those circumstances.

Never heard either of these hops described as citrusy. Floral maybe. Not trying to nitpick, but you seem to enjoy and have brewed this style before, so just trying to get your take.

[quote=“SA Brew”]Are you trying to brew a Belgian pale ale (De Konnick,Special Palm,Fat Tire), or a Belgian IPA (Houblon Chouf, Urthel Hop It, Flying Dog Raging Bitch Ale?) They are two different styles.
[/quote]

I plan on doing both at this point. I will do the BPA to style-ish using Jamil’s BCS recipe. Then when my fermenter relinquishes the yeast I will brew the BIPA. Both because I like the beers and as a hop experiment. Leave everything pretty much the same except use completely different hop schedules & styles and see what I get.

Lemon pepper is exactly the way I describe my favorite Belgian IPA. Pipeworks Brewing Co. - Glaucus. Absolutely phenomenal, and is what got me interested in brewing one of my own.

I love both styles and have brewed them several times with tweaks to the recipe each time. I checked out Jamil’s BPA recipe, and it looks ok. My best so far has been 45% Pils, 45% Vienna or Munich, 5% Biscuit, & 5% Cara-Vienne.

I agree Saaz are spicey, flowery, but I also get a hint of lemon from them. Styrian Goldings have a lot of citrus character. I use them in many English pale ales, Saisons, Blonds, and Tripels. They are just a bit milder than Cascade, Amarillo, and all those other C hops. I often find those C hops to be grassy like milk weed, and I don’t care for that character.

WLP 550 will make a great Belgian IPA, but it is not great for Belgian pale ale. It will make a delicious beer, but it will not resemble the classics of the style.

I have been fortunate to taste both styles when fresh, and I am disappointed with what we get in the states. I love Houblon Chouf, but hate that green bottle and the De Koninck is always phenolic. That is why I have worked on these recipes so much.

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