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Belgian Golden Strong Ale

Hello Everyone,

I’m getting ready to bottle a Belgian Golden Strong Ale that I brewed back in July, and am trying to decide how much priming sugar to add.

The temperatures evolved as follows:

Yeast was pitched at 64 (WY 1388)

Primary fermentation ran from 64 up to 82 over the course of 1 week

The beer was then racked and lagered at 33 for 3 weeks

The beer is now sitting at basement temperature, which is ~66

All this being said, which temperature would you use to determine the amount of priming sugar to add?

This is something I always struggled with when I was bottling regularly (I’m only bottling the occasional bigger beer now), and am considering using the 66 temp to measure the sugar.

I believe you should use the temp you will be conditioning at.

^^^^This… :cheers:

That’s a tuffy. BGS needs to be HIGHLY carbonated. For example, in BJCP comps, it is rare for a BGS to be carbed enough, according to several I have judged at / had my BGS’s judged at.

That being said, I think you would want as much sugar as you can put in your bottling bucket, without creating bottle bombs. I don’t know how much that would be for you (depends on your FG, yeast health, etc).

That’s why I like to keg my BGS’s then bottle from keg. Much more controllable.

Use 82F, the highest temp that the beer reached during primary fermentation - no CO2 was produced after that so the later temps don’t matter when determining how much CO2 is in solution. As beerme said, BGS are often under-carbed when bottle-conditioned so I would also go a little heavier on the priming sugar and I would add some fresh yeast to ensure proper carbonation given the higher ABV.

Thanks, guys.

Beavis - strange as it may sound, I somehow never considered bottling from the keg, even though I’ll routinely bottle off the last several pints to free up space. For this batch, I think I’d like to stick with more traditional methods, but will keep that in mind for future brews. In the end, I think I’m going to go with Shadetree and use the 82* mark - I’d forgotten about the “highest temperature reached during fermentation” rule.

Brewing Classic Styles suggests carbonating to 4 volumes – will standard beer bottles stand up to that kind of pressure? I know those Duvel bottles are built like tanks, but have to wonder about a Sam Adams bottle.

Probably blow the caps. Use Belgian or champagne corked bottles. I’m not sure but you may loose something if not bottle conditioned with yeast and sugar.

You should enter in the highest temperature the beer reached AFTER fermentation is done to the carbonation calculators. That is the temperature that is important in figuring out how much CO2 is left in the beer, as any amount above the saturation level for that temperature will have been driven out of suspension within a day or so of reaching that temperature - unless the yeast is still active and generating more CO2.

If the fermentation ended at 82F, that is the temperature I’d use.

When it comes to high pressure in bottles, I wouldn’t worry about the caps - the glass will go first. I’ve done a fair bit of sparkling wine, with calculated pressures up to 6 barr, and the crown caps almost never fail. The few times they have, I’m pretty sure was due to poor crimping on my part. Get thick-walled bottles if you plan to carbonate it high.

I’ve noted a number of differences between bottle conditioned and keg bottled beers. The most obvious one is the sediment or lack thereof. Less obvious, but seen is that bottle conditioned beers seem to stay fresh longer. I speculate that this is due to the yeast scavenging the oxygen from the headspace of the bottle, but can’t prove it. The thing I haven’t noticed being different is the taste of the beer (at least when fresh).

Thanks for clarifying, Rebuilt. 82 it shall be.

Brewcat, I’ve realized that, at least for the time being, I am too cheap to invest in Belgian bottles, so I think I’m going to try to get away with 3.5 volumes in the standard bottles I’ve accumulated (maybe 3.3 if I get nervous!). I’ll just have to live with an under-carbed BGS.

Has anyone carbed this high in standard bottles and lived to tell the tale?

I know I’ve read somewhere (probably on the NB site somewhere) that regular bottles are ok up to around 3 vols, and I know from the bottles I use that some just seem heavier than others, so I would just be really careful approaching 3 vols.

And +1 to RBC about blowing the bottle before the cap. Had a bomb with one of my early batches and it exploded about an inch below the cap, which was still firmly affixed. And yes, thicker walled bottles would be much better, like green flash or grolsch types.

Be careful and best of luck,

Ron

From NB’s documentation:

BOTTLE TYPES AND PRESSURE
Most of the bottles you will use will be the standard 12oz bottle. These are suitable for the vast majority of styles but we don’t suggest you use them for beers with over 3 volumes of CO2. Below is a chart based on CO2 volume and suggested bottle usage. These are approximate guidelines and demand that the bottles be free of cracks or chips.
BOTTLE:VOLUME CHART
Bottle type
Max. CO2 Volume
12oz 3 33cl Belgian 3.5 500ml European 3.5
Swing top 4 Champagne 7 PET 10
Kegs can be used in the place of bottles and should be treated exactly like a large bottle. A lot of commercial brewers prime in bulk and then counter pressure fill at bottling.

Cheers,

Ron

I have never been able to achieve a truly highly carbonated beer via bottling from the keg. For standard (2.5 vols) carbonation, I can dial it in fairly closely, but they are never over-, and sometimes under-carbed. Unless you have your CP/Beergun process down, I’d go with priming sugar as you originally planned. Maybe with a 20’ bottling line, you might be able to get it to 3.2 vols in the keg and get it into the bottles without excessive foaming.

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