A few weeks ago when trying the Westvleteren 8 & 12, the sugary tingling got me to thinking: I have a tin of LME and a bag of corn sugar that have been sitting unloved since I started homebrewing – maybe I should use them with some cultured Leffe yeast to try to make a sugary tingly Belgian.

I shelved the idea on account of not having any Leffe. And it probably being a crap idea anyway.

But on Saturday morning when my Sakeland order didn’t turn up – my fault for ordering too late Friday – I thought: What the hell? Let’s try it. All the ingredients are things I don’t really want to use in other beers anyway:

The S-33 seems to be a bit of an unknown – Fermentis claim it’s good for Trappist beers, other sites saying it’s Edme dry yeast and more of a general purpose yeast. With that “unknown” factor, I’m unlikely to use it for something a beer I care about – far too much uncertainty about how the taste will be affected.

Similar for the hops. The Saaz had been sitting under my desk for weeks – don’t know what condition it’s in (though it smelt OK). The Hallertauer – how close it will be to German Hallertauer, I have no ide (AA is 7% which is fairly high). Again the unpredictability makes it difficult to use these in beers I care about.

I hummed and ha’d about whether to make a Leffe Blond – which doesn’t include crystal – or whether to add crystal and make a Brown. In the end the decision was made for me – I completely forgot to add the crystal. I should know by now it’s not good to brew with a hangover.

The Sugary Tingly Belgian (Maybe)

11L filtered tap water
1.5kg tin of Black Rock LME
(approx 12L boil)

28g Organic New Zealand Hallertauer Leaf AA 7% – FWH from 70degrees + boiling 45m
8g Saaz Leaf AA 3.5% – 15m
8g Saaz Leaf AA 3.5% – 1m

500g corn sugar (added at flameout)

Ice added to cool and bring the volume to around 12L.

I decided to transfer everything into the primary – including the hops. Let’s Drinking with enjoy Our IPA was fermented that way and it came out very good – with the uncertainty around how much flavour I’ll get from the Saaz, I decided to try leaving it in there.

FG: 1.057-8 at 25
IBU: 41 + FWH – but that’s assuming the Saaz is healthy. I’m probably looking at around 40IBU altogether.

It will probably come out a bit hoppy for a Belgian – but hoppy is good! (Especially if the yeast turns out not to have much character!)

After adding the ice, the temperature was around 34. I put the bucket into the fermentation chamber to cool down, intending to add the yeast later – but the S-33 that I rehydrated in a little wort was going crazy and threatening to spill out the cup, so I just pitched it. It’s been in the fermentation chamber at 19 for 2 days now – I may take it out of there after a few days to give a final fermentation blast at higher temperatures… depends on whether I need the space!

I’m not particularly expecting this brew to come out stunning – it’s LME, corn sugar (I didn’t have citric acid to make candi sugar), a yeast which may or may not have Belgian influences, and unpredictable hops. But what the hell, at least I don’t have the ingredients cluttering up the house anymore! And actually, I’m quite excited to see how this will turn out – whether it will have a good or bad sweetness, whether it will taste Belgian at all, and how the hops will turn out.

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