– Greg Hackenberg
Belgian Pale Ale
First a note about the style. A response to spread of pilsner and other lager beers after WWI, BPA drew on the British pale ale tradition to create a more drinkable, lighter colored, dryer beer than other Belgian styles. They emphasize the malt profile, with toasty and biscuit flavors common from Belgian malts, and Pilsner malts. Moderate phenols and esters from Belgian yeast strains, typically spicy and fruity notes, but far more restrained than other Belgian styles. Hops are typically noble.
This is a beer that is in my regular rotation and was scaled up for a Brew Off in 2017. A good crowd pleaser. Use a simple single infusion mash at around 148 degrees. About a 1.052 O.G. and around 25 IBU’s.
- 6 lbs. Belgian Pilsner malt
- 2 lbs. Vienna malt
- 1 lb. CaraRed
- 8 oz. Belgian Biscuit malt
- 4 oz. Aromatic malt
- 2 oz. Chocolate malt
- 8 oz. Toasted rolled oats (optional; not to style but amps up the toasty notes)
Water: N.O. tap filtered & add 3gm Calcium Chloride (heaping ½ tsp.)
1 oz (or so) Northern Brewer or other not overly dominant hops for about 20 IBU’s
.75 oz Saaz Boil 20 min.
1 oz Saaz Boil 5 min.
Yeast…Okay the best and ultimate is, well, not available: WLP515 Antwerp Ale. Currently in the vault. This is the yeast from the De Koninck Brewery, which makes one of the best examples of the style.
My second favorite is probably WLP550 Belgian Ale Yeast which is from the Achouffe brewery (excellent beer, look for the gnome). You want some Belgian character, but a bit more subdued.
The Abby yeasts, IMHO, are too strong. Maybe a blend? Have at it.