White Chai Ale

I’m not sure if I want to call this a White Chai Ale or a Chai White Ale or something else way more clever than that. Whatever it ends up being called, it better be F-ing good because I just spent all god damn day making it.

A photo of my assistant brewmaster Sarge taking a break before we even get started
A photo of my assistant brewmaster Sarge taking a break before we even get started

I’m still trying to get everything dialed in with my current set up. I’ve been using it for a while now but for whatever reason on the last few batches I haven’t been able to get the numbers right. I had my equipment profile set up in Beersmith but then re-installed my OS and didn’t have a backup. I thought I remembered what all the numbers were but I must be off somewhere because I keep ending up using too much water. I was planning on doing a 90 minute boil on this one anyway, so I figured the pre-boil volume would be higher than usual. Beersmith put it right around 7 gallons. But I ended up with 7.5 and that was after stopping the sparge before the mash tun was fully drained because it just looked like too much volume and I didn’t think to measure it during the sparge.

Draining the mash tun

One of the things that’s still pretty annoying to me is dealing with volumes. Maybe I just need some better equipment or a new way of measuring or something, but I always feel like I spend so much time trying to measure the right amount of water or figure out how much wort I have. A kettle with a sight gauge would probably make things a lot easier. And if I marked my carboys maybe I would be able to figure out what my final batch volume actually is. Or is there something else I’m missing? Does someone sell a 10 gallon measuring cup?

After boiling for 30 minutes I still wasn’t down to my normal pre-boil volume so I let it go for another 10. I’m not sure how much went into the carboy but I’m guessing I should have let it go even longer because the gravity came in a little low. I think it’ll still be a good beer. The gravity in the recipe was actually a little on the high side for a witbier anyway. I just want to be able to hit the OG more consistently.

White Chai Ale

Batch Size: 5.25 gal
Grains: 10 lbs
Original Gravity: 1.046
IBU: 17
ABV (estimated): 4.7%

5 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)
3 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)
2 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) 

1.0 pkg Belgian Wit Ale (White Labs #WLP400) in 1.2 L starter

Mash at 152F for 60 minutes
100 minute boil
1.00 oz Crystal [3.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min
0.30 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 15.0 min
0.30 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min

Chai spices:
10 green cardamom pods
3 tsp white peppercorns
5 cloves
2 segments star anise
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp darjeeling tea

Added chai spices at flameout and let steep for 5 minutes.

I looked at a few other chai beer recipes and the spice amounts were all over the place so I just kind of made up my own. I may also add some Chai tea in the keg, depending on how much flavor it has post-fermentation. In case you were wondering.