Sticking with the Belgian style, today we are going to talk about the Belgian blond ale. The Belgian blond is a golden ale with a spicy yeast character and a malty flavor with a soft, dry finish. While the yeast character is noticeable, it is slightly less than other Belgian styles. The style guidelines are below.
- Original Gravity: 1.062 – 1.075
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.018
- Alcohol by Volume: 6.0% – 7.5%
- Bitterness: 15 – 30 IBU
- Color (SRM): 4 – 6
Belgian Blond Ingredients
Similarly to the Belgian single, the flavor profile of the Belgian blond is bready and grainy. The biggest difference between the two is that the malt profile plays a greater role in the Belgian blond, so for this beer, in addition to floor-malted pilsner, we will also use Vienna and Munich to build up the grainy sweetness. You can also add a biscuit malt or victory malt to further build up that biscuit flavor, but stay away from crystal and roasted malts. They will add too much sweetness, flavor, and color.
The Belgian blond has a light bitterness with a soft, dry finish. I would use a German noble hop to achieve this. Earthy, spicy flavor and aroma are optional but can be added with 15-minute and 5-minute additions respectively. I would use the same hop for all additions.
For the Belgian blond, the following are good choices.
- Belgian Abbey Style Ale – 1214 (Wyeast)
- Belgian Strong Ale – 1388 (Wyeast)
- Belgian Ale Yeast – WLP550 (White Labs)
Last but not least, the water. For all beers I brew, I use a reverse osmosis filtration system and build up my water profile from scratch. My water profile looked like this:
- Calcium: 50 ppm
- Sodium: 5 ppm
- Sulfates: 75 ppm
- Chloride: 60 ppm
The following is a 5-gallon version of a Belgian blond. The numbers for this beer are listed below.
- Original Gravity: 1.060
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.018
- Alcohol by Volume: 6.5%
- Bitterness: 25.1 IBU
- Color (SRM): 5.4
- Floor-Malted Pilsner – 7 lbs (66.7%)
- Munich Malt – 1 lb (9.5%)
- Vienna Malt – 1 lb (9.5%)
- Biscuit Malt – 8 oz (4.8%)
- 1.75 oz of Mittelfruh at 60 minutes (24.2 IBU)
- 1 lb cane sugar at 15 minutes
- 1 oz of Mittelfruh at 5 minutes (6.4 IBU)
Belgian Ale Yeast – WLP550 (White Labs)
Add your salts and pH adjustment, if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 152 degrees Fahrenheit. For me, the strike water was 3 gallons at 163 degrees Fahrenheit. After 60 minutes, raise your mash temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. After mashing out, begin to sparge until you reach a pre-boil gravity of around 1.053. For me, it was 5 gallons.
Boil the wort for 90 minutes and add the hops at 60 minutes. Add the sugar at 15 minutes, and the hops at 5 minutes. At 10 minutes, I added a yeast nutrient, and at 5 minutes I also added whirlfloc tablets as my clarifying agent. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.
Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 64 degrees and measure the gravity/pitch the yeast. Initial gravity should be around 1.060. I let this free rise to 67 degrees as fermentation starts. Hold the temperature at 67 degrees for 5-7 days until the primary fermentation starts to slow down, and then let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees. Hold it here for a day or two to make sure fermentation completely finishes. Once fermentation is complete, cold crash to 33 degrees, hold it for at least a day, and then transfer to the brite tank to carbonate it to 2.6 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, keg it, and enjoy!
If you decide to try this recipe, or another Belgian blond recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!