Are these the correct malts for a Belgian Abbey Ale?

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Jmio

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Hey guys!

We're planning to brew the 'Very Good Abbey Ale' from Brew Better Beer this weekend, but we have some doubts with the grains we bought for this recipe.

Firstly, we have the Weyermann Abbey Malt (EBC 50) from TMM which we are not sure if is the Pilsner malt required by the recipe. The description of the Abbey malt in the TMM website mentions that the recommended rate is up to 50%, while the recipe asks for a 78%

The same happens with the second malt in the recipe, a 22% of CaraMunich malt. We bought the Weyermann CaraMunich Type 2 (EBC 120), which the TMM recommends to use at a rate of 5-10% for dark beers and 1-5% for lighter beers.

The yeast we have for this recipe is LALBREW Abbaye (dried)

Would you recommend us to go with these grains as in the recipe, or to try something else?

This will be our 3rd brew, BIAB no sparge, ~8 litre bottled batch, and our first Belgian ale. We are trying to learn the basics before start experimenting, so if with our ingredients we won't get a 'regular' Belgian ale, we will put it on hold until we get the correct ingredients or other recipe.

We also have Maris Otter and Crystal Extra Light 100 malts at home if needed.

Cheers
 
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You don't want to use the Abbey malt as your base malt. It seems like it's more like an aromatic or dark Munich type of malt. I would go with the MO you have for 80% and keep the other two malts more like 10% of your total grain bill at most. 22% of caramunich would be too much for my taste.
 

Sadfield

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Weyermann Abbaye malt is a Amber/Honey malt to be used more as a colour malt rather than a base malt. As @Pennine says, use your Maris Otter instead of Pilsner.

As for Caramunich, it's a trademark name of Weyermann's so what you have is what the recipe uses, so 22% will be OK. What TMM gives are guides not absolutes. You could however swap some of that 22% Caramunich for your Abbey Malt. It'll take out some of the caramel, dried fruit flavour of the Caramunich out and replace it with a rich and sweet malty, toast, bready flavour.
 
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Agentgonzo

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.

Firstly, we have the Weyermann Abbey Malt (EBC 50) from TMM which we are not sure if is the Pilsner malt required by the recipe. The description of the Abbey malt in the TMM website mentions that the recommended rate is up to 50%, while the recipe asks for a 78%
Abbey malt (also known as biscuit malt by the looks of it) is different to pilsner malt. It is kilned higher/longer than pilsner malt which gives you a different set of flavours listed on the product page.

As a result of this higher kilning, a lot of the enzymes present in the barley get denatured. The brewing process needs the enzymes to break the starch in the malt down into sugars (this is called the diastatic power of the malt). Base malts like pale and pilsner malt (which are kilned lower and so have a higher diastatic power) are required to provide enough enzymes to break down the starch in your mash. That's why the manufacturer recommends using up to 50% of the grist.
 

Jmio

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Thank you for your comments, guys. Really appreciate it.

We only have 1.7kg of MO, so I have adjusted the recipe like this (for a 10L batch):

- 1.7 kg Maris Otter (68%)
- 400 g Abbey Malt (16%)
- 400 g CaraMunich II (16%)

- 14g East Kent Goldings (5.5%AA) 60m
- 5g East Kent Goldings (5.5%AA) 20m
- 21g Saaz (2.6%AA) 0m

- 1/4 Protafloc 15m

- Half package LalBrew Abbaye Belgian

The calculator returns:
- ABV 5.9%
- OG 1.054
- FG 1.009
- EBC 30
- IBU 23
- BU/GU 0.43

What do you think about it? The ratio is still low for the base malt (68%). Would you reduce the batch size, keeping the 1.7 kg of MO and reducing the amount of the other grains, to increase its ratio?

Also, the Saaz hopes have to be added at 0 min before cooling down the wort. Should they be kept there while it's cooling down, usually about 30 minutes, and then be removed? We are using a sieve to remove the hops when transferring the wort from the kettle to the fermenter.
 

Agentgonzo

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I think that recipe will be fine. The sightly larger proportions of abbey/caramunich may give you a richer/more intense result, but I'm sure it'll still make a tasty brew. You'll then be able to know what that recipe tastes like in the final product and take that knowledge forward into your next brew.

If you do want to reduce the amount of other grains, I would keep the batch size the same, but then top it up with table sugar (throw it in for the last 5/10 minutes of the boil) to keep the OG at your target. A lot of Belgian breweries use plain sugar in their beer.

Keep all the hops in the wort whilst cooling. No need to remove them.
 

Jmio

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You'll then be able to know what that recipe tastes like in the final product and take that knowledge forward into your next brew.
I really like this approach.

Keep all the hops in the wort whilst cooling. No need to remove them.
But all of them have to be removed when transferring the wort to the fermenter, after cooling, right?
I don't remember seeing any mention to it in the books I have read, and I had my doubts during our first brew. It just didn't make sense to me that all the hops will remain in the wort during fermentation.
 

Agentgonzo

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Sorry for not being clear. Yes, you leave all the hops in the wort as it it cooling (typically still in the kettle). Then once the wort is cooled, transfer the wort only into the fermenter, leaving the hops behind (the same for all kettle hops)
 

Jmio

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We brewed this last Sunday, following the recipe I posted above.

After a lot of activity in the first three days, where the room temperature was around 21°C, yesterday it almost stopped. The room temp also dropped to 19 ish.

OG was 13.6%brix at 20°C (1.052, corrected (1.04)) and since Wednesday it is stable at 7%brix (1.012 also corrected and also after applying the alcohol correction with the Brewers Friend refractometer calculator)

Is it ready for bottling on Sunday, or is better to wait another week to give time to the protafloc I added 10 minutes before boil-out to work?
Are the gravity calculations correct?
 

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