The Little Imp’s Pale Ale

Take a look at this picture. I’m really moving up in the world of brewing, at least in terms of equipment. Santa Claus and the birthday version of Santa Claus (every once in a while being a Christmas Baby pays off) got me a fancy smancy Blichman Propane Burner. CostCo gave me a propane tank (after I gave them money). And I became a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois, and I used part of the company bonus to buy a Spike Brewing 15 gallon stainless steel brew kettle (the rest goes to the Wedding).

Last weekend I brewed my first full-scale partial mash batch. If I get a big enough mesh bag, next time I will brew my first BIAB all grain batch. One day I might even do the complete traditional all grain.

It has been a little while since my last brew, and I’ve been having the itch, so I hit the local homebrew shop on Saturday to get the ingredients for my first Belgian Pale Ale (so many firsts).

There are a few differences between Belgian Pale Ales and the English and American Versions. I used Pilsner Malt extract instead of extract made from regular 2-row. I used Czech Saaz for the aroma additions instead of a British or an American Hop. These differences are important, but the real star of the show is the Belgian yeast used. If you used your regular brew pub yeast, all you are making is an ale version of a Pilsner. The Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey Ale supposedly comes from the Chimay Brewery, monk makers of world glass Chimay line of Beers. It will produce cloves and other esters, and have a delicious spicy note.

Ingredients
7 lbs of Pilsner Based Extra Light DME
1/2 lb of Munich Malt
3/4 lb of CaraMunich Malt
0.8 oz East Kent Golding at 60 Minutes
0.5 oz Saaz at 40 Minutes
0.5 oz Saaz at 15 Minutes

I also used my electrical skills to wire up a my old college fridge to use as a temperature fermentation chamber. I bought an STC-1000 temperature controller. It is about 100 bucks cheaper than a Johnson Controls temperature controller. Of course, those 100 bucks do buy you a plug and play ability and a display in Fahrenheit. That is nothing that some wires, electrical tape, and Google’s ability to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius can’t fix. After the first test batch I’ll solder the connection and throw some heat shrink on it to make a more solid commercial.

The Wedding Beer

My wedding is coming up in a handful of months, so it’s time to pick the beer. The wedding package comes with the usual Bud and Miller on tap, but there is no way I’d let my wedding have only the yellow fizz. I have a reputation to maintain of course. Good thing the venue promised that they can bring in cases of any beer that they can get through a distributor.

Wedding_Beer

With over 2000 breweries in the country, I have quite a decision to make. To help narrow it down, I am limiting it to Midwest beers. I would probably limit it to Chicago itself, but there is no way I’m going to take 3 Floyds out of the running. I think I will go for two types of beer, a hoppy lighter beer and more maltier darker beer, but I haven’t decided specifically on the styles. Even though I will ultimately only choose 2, I need a bigger list since my choices will ultimately also depend both on the price and the availability.

This is my list so far:

3 Floyds Gumball Head
Two Brothers Side Kick Extra PA
3 Floyds Zombie Dust APA
Pipeworks Brewery Unicorn Vs Ninja American Double
Pipeworks Brewery Cash for Gold Belgian Strong
Revolution Brewery Repo Man Rye Stout

I want to include some Half Acre, but most of their beer are seasonal, so that may cause a problem with the slow-moving purchasing apparatus of the venue. It also looks like I am heavy on the hoppy beers. I need to keep looking, and sampling (I know, so tough). Any ideas?