Collaborative Brewday: Soyoung’s Apple Pie Ale and Graf, and my Belgian Dubbel

The other day, our friend Soyoung came up the hill to brew with me.

She’s had the idea in mind to brew up an apple-pie-like beer for a while, so we talked it over, considered her options, and working out a kind of recipe. But I also have to get some brewing done in the next few weeks, so I did a little calculating and figured out that we could probably brew a double-batch, together, which could then be split not in half, but three ways.

Well, kind of.

The real split is down the middle: (basically) half the wort went into my boil pot, and (basically) half the wort got split between her two brewpots.

We went with a base mostly of Pilsner malt, since that’s the base malt we both have a lot of. We added to that three quarters of a kilogram each of Caramunich II and and Carapils. (I would perhaps have been happier without it, since I’m brewing a Dubbel and going for something very dry, but compromises are sometimes necessary, and anyway, as you’ll see below, mine should end up pretty dry anyway.) The color was perfect for Soyoung’s beer, in any case — it had a kind of apple-juice coloration that was just what I’d hoped for.

Soyoung’s brew got split again — most of it would be boiled without any adjunct, but a little more than five liters got bumped out to a third second boil pot, where we steeped some Carafa II. Unfortunately, the Carafa II was over-crushed, so a lot of grain-bits escaped the steeping bag, something we didn’t realize until too late.

(There are disadvantages to boiling out on the porch, in the dark, at night.)

One of the best pics ever of the place where I boil most of my beers. Soyoung snapped it just as the boils were about to begin.

In any case, I added two packs of dark candi syrup to my boil about 20 minutes before the end. I did a long boil, to add some caramelization and bring the volume down — boiled it for an hour and a bit, left it uncovered, then boiled something else, then boiled it for forty minutes so I could do a hop addition and add the syrup.

The hopping was simple: I used some post-dry-hop Citra, assuming most of the bittering capacity remained intact, supplemented with a little Saphir; Soyoung’s beers were hopped exclusively with Saphir. We both kept everything to a minimal level, <20 IBUs.

Then we did no-chill: since these beers aren’t supposed to be hoppy, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do. In fact, they’re still in the brewpots on the balcony, with the lids tightly shut. I’ll be racking them into fermenters later today, after I get some other stuff done.

The apple pie flavoring will come from a mix of a small addition of apple juice to the main beer (much more in the graf) and an addition of caramelized apples (and a cinnamon stick or two) to the secondary. Soyoung lives in the neighborhood, so we figure in a week or so she can drop in and check out how it’s coming along.

Recipes are available here:

I’ll update when I can. I have a huge pile of snaps of different beers, tasting comments, and more… I just haven’t had time to update.

However, I will say that I like collaborative brewing: it was cool to have another brewer around to strategize, talk recipes,and so on… and then her boyfriend dropped by and it was nice to hang out, even though I was a little busy trying to get some other stuff done. The social aspect of brewing itself (as opposed to sharing the results)  is something I’ve only really discovered in the past year, in part due to some big brewing sessions at a local place in Seoul called Magpie, in preparation for Brewfests. I like it, and would like to continue with it, though for the rest of November, I have a bunch of brewing to get done for a big event coming in January, which I’ll be announcing soon!

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