Ramble On

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Brewing La Petite Orange

After steeping the specialty grains.
This is a recipe kit I bought last year: it's a Belgian Dubbel style, and I decided to postpone brewing it because it wouldn't be ready until the summer.  With March already here, it seemed that I'd best go ahead and brew it now for a May release, before the full heat of summer is upon us.  Here's the beer's description from the recipe kit:

Back by popular demand! A Belgian Dubbel without the deep dark chocolate maltiness, the Orange is rich with caramel sweetness and a full body that hides the 6.1% ABV very well.  Lueven ale yeast contributes rich esters - cherry, strawberry, lychee fruit, even hints of tropical breezes.  A simple sipper that evokes warm summery memories with every sip, yet fits perfectly into the colder months; standard brewing repertoire.

By now I know my way around the brew kitchen well enough to take some liberties, so I went off recipe for some elements of this one.  First of all, I used a dry ale yeast instead of the Lueven ale yeast suggested - I don't even remember receiving that one in the kit, to be honest.  Goodbye, lychee fruit esters!
Making the coriander/bitter orange tincture.

I also decided to use some bitter orange peel and coriander in the recipe, which suggests this addition at the end of the boil.  That was part one of the approach...also from the recipe:

Brewer's note:  You may wish to add up to 1/2 ounce crushed coriander and the zest of two oranges at flameout for a "La Petite Orange Blanche."

I took this suggestion a step further - I added the "blanche" ingredients, as suggested.  I decided I wanted these flavors to be a little stronger, though, so I also started a tincture with half the ingredients.  I had success with this method before - a Honey Lavender Kolsch from last spring, just check the "Lavender Tincture" label at the end of the post.

Coriander and orange peels floating around.
I'll let those ingredients steep a week or so, then strain them off in the hopes of not being too strong when I add them back at bottling time.

After I finished the boil and gave the beer its ice bath, I moved it into the carboy.  I've upgraded my approach, so I took a hydrometer reading after that.  O.G. is 1.052 at 70 degrees - right on target for the recipe, so fingers crossed this comes out at 6.1%.

I'm planning one week in primary, then two weeks in secondary.  I'll also strain the tincture after the first week, and keep it refrigerated until I am ready to bottle.

Speaking of bottling, I'll be putting up the Cascade IPA soon.  And next on the brew calendar is a repeat of the honey lavender kolsch!

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