Belgian pale ale is a great entry-level Belgian beer for those who are a little overwhelmed by the more common Dubbels and Tripels out there, and it’s the style I recommend when people tell me they “don’t like Belgians.”
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 l)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
6 lb (2.7 kg) Pilsner malt
6 lb (2.7 kg) Munich malt
4 oz (113 g) British Dark Crystal malt (85L, or Crystal 80)
4 oz (113 g) Biscuit malt
4 oz (113 g) Caramunich malt
0.5 oz (28 g) [14% AA] Glacier at 30 minutes
0.5 oz (28 g) [4% AA] Fuggles at 30 minutes
Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) or White Labs WLP550 Belgian Ale
Mill the grains and mix with 4 gallons (15.4 l) of 163°F (73°C) strike water to reach a mash temperature of 152°F (67°C). Hold this temperature for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until your runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge the grains with 3.2 gallons (12 l) and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 l) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, following the hops schedule.
After the boil, chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 67°F (20°C). Aerate the wort with pure oxygen or filtered air and pitch the yeast.
Ferment at 68°F (20°C) until the completion of primary fermentation, then allow temperature to rise at will. Crash the beer to 35°F (2°C), then bottle or keg the beer and carbonate to approximately 2.5 volumes.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
If you like a bit more hoppy character in your Belgian pale ales, reserve a small portion of your hops (a few grams of each) and toss them in at flame-out. It will add just a touch of dark fruit and earth in the nose, which accentuates the light citrus esters from the yeast and the biscuit from the malts!