Batch 52: Kombi

Brew date: February 3, 2019
Bottling date: March 11, 2019

This is one of those rare brews where I try to emulate a BJCP style properly. Well, at least with half of the batch: the other half will be conditioned for an extended period with a blend of brettanomyces. The style is 24B, Belgian pale ale. I’ve built out a blank page recipe based on some reading as well as the BJCP guidelines. As usual, I am going with Weyermann Bohemian pilsner malt for the base, and added in a healthy dose of Weyermann Munich II (9L) malt as well. I am not adding sugar, but instead targeting a very fermentable wort for a dry finish. I hope that the oats will allow the body to remain medium to medium-low with the dry finish.

For water profile, I went light on the salts using Brewer’s Friend ‘Light and malty’ profile as a starting point. My additions below should provide about 60 ppm Ca, 42 ppm SO4, and 75 ppm Cl.

Target OG: 1.050 Target FG: 1.009
Actual OG: 1.047 Actual FG: 1.012
IBU: 28 ABV: 4.7%

Batch size: 19L (into fermentor)
BHE: 73%

Water Adjustments (add to mash):
4g CaCl
2g gypsum
2.5g 88% lactic acid to each mash & sparge waters

Mash steps:
131F dough in with 16L water
148F for 45 min
152F for 25 min
161F for 20 min
170F mash out, sparge 13.5L of 170F water

Boil 90 minutes

3.00 kg Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) [69.4%]
0.80 kg Munich II Dark (Weyermann) [18.5%]
0.20 kg Flaked oats [4.6%]
0.16 kg Victory malt (Briess) [3.7%]
0.16 kg Caramunich II (Weyermann) [3.7%]

18.3 AAU Hallertau Tradition @ 60 min [28g]
7.6 AAU Czech Saaz @ 15 min [28g]

1/2 tablet Whirfloc @ 15 min
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient @ 15 min

Imperial Yeast B53 – Precious
Pitch @ 57F
First 48 hrs at 66F
Next 48 hrs 68F
Next 48 hrs 72F
Condition 50F for 2 weeks

Bottle condition to 3.0 vols

Above: Kombi Deluxe, the dry-hopped, brett conditioned version.

Brew Day Notes:

Mashed in @ 3:55 pm, much later brew day than usual. Held 131F until 4:10 then increased to 148F and headed out for groceries. Raised to 152F at 4:50, started heating sparge water. Added 1/2 tsp CaCl and 1/4 tsp gypsum to mash water, half those volumes to sparge water. 2.5ml 88% L.A. into mash water, none in sparge water. 161F setpoint at 5:25, 170F at 5:45. Mashed out with 13.5L of 170F water, drained pretty quick – sparge took about 15 mins. Collected just a hair under 27L of 1.042 wort. After 1h 20m volume was still a tad high at 24L so let go an extra 10 minutes.

Bottling Notes:

Despite being a few points shy of my target OG, it still finished 3 points high on my target FG. I attribute much of this to the unfamiliar yeast, as my mash schedule should have produced a pretty fermentable wort. If I go with this yeast again, I’ll likely add a small amount of clear sugar along with a longer rest in the 146-148F range.

Bottled March 11 after a couple weeks in secondary with 85g table sugar for 10.5L (about 3 vols CO2). Instead of my usual technique of pouring the boiled/cooled sugar water into the bottling bucket then racking the beer on top, I bottled direct from the secondary vessel and poured the boiled/cooled sugar water into it (letting sit for 10-15 min). We’ll see how that pans out in terms of even mixing of the priming sugar – I’m a little nervous. [Note: it did not pan out well at all. About 60% of the batch was flat or near flat, while the other half was spot on – surprisingly, no gushers / overcarb]

Tasting Notes / Competitions:

Due to uneven carb, I only entered the clean version in one competition, Vanbrewers Awards 2019. It placed first in the Belgian Ale category, with scores of 36 and 35.