Author Topic: Belgian Tripel Advice  (Read 2341 times)

Offline SonnyK

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Belgian Tripel Advice
« on: June 30, 2016, 05:28:36 PM »
Hey everyone,

Going to be attempting my first Belgian Tripel in the near future.  I'm using Jamil's recipe (from Brewing Classic Styles book) and swapping Candi Syrup for Corn Sugar.  His recipe states: Lager for 1 month at 45-50F.

I currently use a 7.9gal Speidel Fermenter and am unsure what to do after Secondary Fermentation (I'll keep the beer in the fermenter for 2 weeks).. 
Is it ideal to rack the beer to a Secondary Fermenter to allow for lagering prior to carbing?  I don't have access to a kegging system so I'm worried about introducing O2..

Any tips/tricks would be greatly appreciated :)

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2016, 05:53:28 PM »
Hey everyone,

Going to be attempting my first Belgian Tripel in the near future.  I'm using Jamil's recipe (from Brewing Classic Styles book) and swapping Candi Syrup for Corn Sugar.  His recipe states: Lager for 1 month at 45-50F.

I currently use a 7.9gal Speidel Fermenter and am unsure what to do after Secondary Fermentation (I'll keep the beer in the fermenter for 2 weeks).. 
Is it ideal to rack the beer to a Secondary Fermenter to allow for lagering prior to carbing?  I don't have access to a kegging system so I'm worried about introducing O2..

Any tips/tricks would be greatly appreciated :)


A good way to avoid extra O2 exposure is to not rack to secondary at all. Also, racking too soon (as in racking to secondary) has a potential to stall fermentation and leave off flavors and aromas in the beer. Leave it in primary for a month and you'll be at FG and the beer will be clear.
Jon H.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2016, 07:02:47 PM »
A good way to avoid extra O2 exposure is to not rack to secondary at all. Also, racking too soon (as in racking to secondary) has a potential to stall fermentation and leave off flavors and aromas in the beer. Leave it in primary for a month and you'll be at FG and the beer will be clear.

Bingo!  We have a winner!  Give this man a prize.  :)
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Offline SonnyK

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2016, 07:18:47 PM »
I completely understand that.. But I was assuming Jamil meant he lagers for a Month in addition to the 2-week Fermentation time.  In an effort to "clean up" the beer, I would like to rack the beer off the trub at the end of secondary fermentation prior to Lagering..

If it's completely OK to let the beer sit on the Trub for 6 weeks then I'll go that route if it means avoiding introduction of O2..  I was just hoping for a "cleaner" final product. 

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2016, 08:03:34 PM »
You can 'lager' after packaging as well. It's what I typically do. Tripel is obviously a big beer which takes a while to hit FG and a little while longer for the yeast to clean up after itself. A month in primary is a good guideline IME - the beer is completely done, pretty clear, and ready to package at that point. I say leave it in primary for a month, then package. If you're bottling, carb in the warmest room in the house until carbed and then you can cold condition until you like it. If kegging, try it every week until you're happy. Rough job.  :)


Edit -  Not trying to pass this off as the only way to do it. But I've brewed a lot of beer and this works. Just my $0.02  .
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 08:07:14 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2016, 09:49:52 PM »
I would bottle after 2 weeks but age for 90 days min to about 6mos.  This comes from advice I got from an experienced belgian brewer who swears that aging is the key (and also bottle conditioning).  Honestly, a properly brewed triple is pretty good fresh but I think it improves/gets more smooth and fruity (what I prefer) whereas fresher tends to be more spicy and bitter.  Last one I did, I bottled a dozen or so and kegged the rest.  I cracked one now and then and it indeed got better.  Best thing you can do is get something else brewing right after so you drink it and not the tripel or "stay out of the beer" as he put it. 
Sam
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2016, 09:51:46 PM »
Depending on the yeast style used, consider an open fermentation - not totally open, but with a piece of loose foil covering the grommet/airlock hole. Some Belgian strains seem to finish up better and not stall out when the pressure of an airlock isn't used.  Just a thought in terms of "tips"....otherwise I agree with all that has been said above - don't rack too early!
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2016, 09:59:22 PM »
I think it improves/gets more smooth and fruity (what I prefer) whereas fresher tends to be more spicy and bitter. "stay out of the beer" as he put it. 


I agree. Well made tripel is easy to drink early but always gets better. I can't believe I haven't brewed one in 3 years. Used to brew one every year. Easily remedied though.  ;)
Jon H.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2016, 11:05:28 PM »
hahaha.  Same for me/been awhile.  I am long overdue to cave for champagne bottles and go for it.  So many styles, so little time...
Sam
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2016, 12:13:36 PM »
If you purge all the o2 out of your secondary with co2 then using a secondary may be a better option. If not then it probably will cause the beer to oxidize somewhat. I consider a stainless corny to be a great "secondary".

Also, the "lagering at 45 degrees" is kinda silly. After fermentation is over a lagering period of a few weeks at 32 degrees is a better option IMO. The thought that the yeast are "magically working" at 45 degrees is a myth.

Offline SonnyK

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2016, 02:30:35 PM »
You can 'lager' after packaging as well. It's what I typically do. Tripel is obviously a big beer which takes a while to hit FG and a little while longer for the yeast to clean up after itself. A month in primary is a good guideline IME - the beer is completely done, pretty clear, and ready to package at that point. I say leave it in primary for a month, then package. If you're bottling, carb in the warmest room in the house until carbed and then you can cold condition until you like it. If kegging, try it every week until you're happy. Rough job.  :)


Edit -  Not trying to pass this off as the only way to do it. But I've brewed a lot of beer and this works. Just my $0.02  .

Want to say a big thanks to everyone who has pitched in!

My buddy and I are pretty new to homebrewing (so far have done 3 batches) and my wife loves Belgian Tripel's.  So the help is greatly appreciated!

My hope initially was exactly what you recommended above..  Let the beer sit in Primary --> Package (we are going to bottle condition with DME) --> "Lager."  I really appreciate the tip on Fermentation time (all prior brews were out of the Fermenter in 2 weeks).  I do not want to overpitch this beer in the hopes that I get more of the Fruity Esters than the Spicy Phenols.. :)

Does it really make a big difference what temp the final Lagering step takes place at?  I was planning to Pitch ~1.5 packets of WLP530 with a 1.5L starter (24 hours prior to pitching) and in theory this yeast shouldn't be active at 45-50F.  It seems to me the "Lagering" taking place in this recipe is simply to allow more "stuff" to fall to bottom of Bottle while the beer is conditioning.

Offline SonnyK

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2016, 02:35:48 PM »
I would bottle after 2 weeks but age for 90 days min to about 6mos.  This comes from advice I got from an experienced belgian brewer who swears that aging is the key (and also bottle conditioning).  Honestly, a properly brewed triple is pretty good fresh but I think it improves/gets more smooth and fruity (what I prefer) whereas fresher tends to be more spicy and bitter.  Last one I did, I bottled a dozen or so and kegged the rest.  I cracked one now and then and it indeed got better.  Best thing you can do is get something else brewing right after so you drink it and not the tripel or "stay out of the beer" as he put it.

Do you know how aggressively that experienced brewer pitches?  We are throwing 5gal into the Fermenter with the plan to package 4gal (auto siphon beer off of Trub into bottling bucket).  As mentioned in prior Post.. My plan was a 24-hour starter with WLP530 (10% DME solution, 1.5L, 1.5 packets).

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2016, 02:50:13 PM »
Does it really make a big difference what temp the final Lagering step takes place at?  It seems to me the "Lagering" taking place in this recipe is simply to allow more "stuff" to fall to bottom of Bottle while the beer is conditioning.
Colder temps will help it clear quicker. After that it's about aging, to soften the hop character, alcohol presence and meld the flavors.



Jon H.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2016, 04:06:31 PM »
You are certainly asking some good questions at 3 brews in.  ;D Most of what you are asking is debatable amongst us.  There are no clear answers…  That said, I will give you my thoughts.  First off, I believe pH trumps yeast ranching/obsessing about cell counts.  The best starter in the world will not fix a beer made without regard to pH.  I aim low for Belgians.  I mash and sparge @ 5.2.  All this being said, tripels are large beers (means >1.060 but <1.080) and need more yeast.  I would advise you to just pitch 2 packets and forgo a starter or go ahead and do one with one packet.  I like to pitch cool and ramp up right as krausen begins to fall.  I aim high 70’s.  I think esterification occurs faster at warmer temps and would advise you to store at basement/cellar type temps and not cold/fridge temps and that was inline with the Belgian dude’s thoughts.  From here, wait as long as you can.  Basically, I was told the bigger the beer the longer to age and anything above 1.080 would be 1YR min.  If you do not own it already you need Brew Like a Monk. 
Sam
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Offline SonnyK

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Re: Belgian Tripel Advice
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2016, 08:52:21 PM »
You are certainly asking some good questions at 3 brews in.  ;D Most of what you are asking is debatable amongst us.  There are no clear answers…  That said, I will give you my thoughts.  First off, I believe pH trumps yeast ranching/obsessing about cell counts.  The best starter in the world will not fix a beer made without regard to pH.  I aim low for Belgians.  I mash and sparge @ 5.2.  All this being said, tripels are large beers (means >1.060 but <1.080) and need more yeast.  I would advise you to just pitch 2 packets and forgo a starter or go ahead and do one with one packet.  I like to pitch cool and ramp up right as krausen begins to fall.  I aim high 70’s.  I think esterification occurs faster at warmer temps and would advise you to store at basement/cellar type temps and not cold/fridge temps and that was inline with the Belgian dude’s thoughts.  From here, wait as long as you can.  Basically, I was told the bigger the beer the longer to age and anything above 1.080 would be 1YR min.  If you do not own it already you need Brew Like a Monk.

Really appreciate the info!  I think I'll definitely buy the book.

Hopefully one last question for you.. We are currently using two Rubbermaid 10gal coolers to mash + sparge.  Sparge vessel is only water draining into Mash, and Mash vessel empties into what will become the Boil Kettel.  How could I get a sparge pH of 5.2 if it's just water in the vessel which will rinse the grains.. 

Or do you just check a pre-boil pH and then adjust with Salts from there?