Brewing Up Black Gold

Gross Ale

Written by Dee Gross for

My husband, the mad scientist…

Diving head-first into the world of craft brewing..


The long awaited brewing return has finally come, and husband came back with a bang.  He chose to make his triumphant return with a grand experiment. You may recall, in So…A Change in Plans 
this new creation is a combination of a Black Belgian Ale and a Tripel. It could very well be his greatest brew yet.

I will spare you the pain and torment of the cleaning, scrubbing, and scouring that goes into the preparation.  No time for that, let’s skip straight to the good parts.

First, you have to fill up the 10 gallon pot.


Careful though.  Don’t fill it up too much, or you will be cleaning wort off your brewing floor.  Usually, he only puts 8 gallons of water to allow room for boiling and, of course, the wort chiller.
Since our stove is acrylic, we use a our fantastic propane burner to heat the water in minutes as opposed to hours.  I always get a bit nervous every time he lights it, but the time saved it definitely worth it the stress.
Those pretty flames get our brew cauldron bubbling so quickly.
The water has to reach a steamy160-170 degrees before it is ready to put into the mash tun.
Add a dash of stabilizer to the mix to ensure the best flavor.
The grains are all prepped for the mash-in.  For this masterpiece, Husband is using a blend of pilsner malt and de-bittered black malt.  The pilsner is typical of a Tripel, where as the de-bittered black malt is used in a Belgian Black Ale.
Next it was time to make a giant vat of oatmeal.
Mmm…Grainy goodness.
After he mixed in the grains to the hot water, we swaddled our precious brew and let it steep for one hour.
Then we cleaned even more. (Sorry, I don’t know how this cleaning photo got past me.  They’re a tricky bunch.  Perhaps part of me secretly enjoys the sight of Husband elbow-deep in suds.  Bwah ha ha) After the cleaning, we cleared a few shows off our DVR, and then it was time for the sparging.
Wrenching open the faucet, Husband unleashed a raging torrent of jet-black wort.  This is by far the darkest beer we have made.  It looked like we had struck oil.  We filled the pitchers to the brim, dumped them back in the mash tun, and repeated ad nauseum.
After sparging the wort until nearly all the grains were caught by the filter, we added hot water.
The hot water made sure we got every bit of the delicious sugars off the grain.
If you look closely enough, you can see the mash alternatively spewing out rainbow bubbles or creating grain sinkholes.
After we drained every drop from the mash tun, we add a dash of hops to the wort.


Then it was time to boil the wort and add the sugars.  Basically, Husband was  in for a lot of standing around in a sweaty garage stirring. All the while, I tried to escape into the coolness of the living room.
First, Husband added a little extra light dry malt extract. Then came the beet sugar,
and because you can never have enough sugar, a little dextrose.  You see, the more sugar, the stronger the beer.  Yummy! After the sugar is added, he finished it off with Irish Malt, yeast nutrition, and two types of hops. Styrian Golding Hops and Hallertau Mittelfruh Hops to be specific.  Then we added the wort chiller to cool the liquid down to a yeast-friendly 75 degrees.
After cooling down to 80 degrees, we transferred the wort into the primary fermenter and drained off the lovely trub, pictured above.  You definitely do not want this delight-fulness flavoring the beer.
Once the wort was cooled to the right temperature,
Husband add the yeast starter that has been going since Saturday.  The little microorganisms were awake and hungry; ready to eat sugar and poop out greatness.


Now the blow-off valve has been set, and I am definitely in for some sleepless nights listening to the bloops.  Hopefully, that will all be a small price to pay for a true beer-acle.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: