Author Topic: Belgian Tripel  (Read 9115 times)

Offline uintafly

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Belgian Tripel
« on: January 18, 2011, 10:02:43 PM »
I haven't sampled too many Belgian brews but just finished off a couple Westmalle Trappist Ale Tripel's and they were delicious. How hard is this style to brew? I obviously couldn't match that exact flavor but could a newb brew something similar? I am still doing extract only.

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 10:09:10 PM »
You should be able to get very close - most traditional tripels are very simple recipes. 100% pilsner extract, Belgian if you can get it, maybe 10-15% simple table sugar, and the Westmalle yeast (Wyeast 3787 or WLP530). Make sure you make a large starter, or pitch about three packs.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 05:08:52 AM »
It can be a farily easy style to brew  The hard part is getting the proper attenuation. That might be harder with extract since you can't control the mash. You want to approach 90% apparent attenuation. In your case I would try and find pilsner extract or use the lightest extract you can find - preferably DME - and use 20% sugar for around 1.075 - 1.080 beer. Don't give into the urge to add any crystal malts, they would be inappropriate. Pitch in the high 60s and warm into the low to mid 70s near the end of fermentation to insure attenuation.

For more info on this style (and others) check Stan Heironymous' great book "Brew Like A Monk".
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 05:48:53 AM »
It can be a farily easy style to brew  The hard part is getting the proper attenuation. That might be harder with extract since you can't control the mash. You want to approach 90% apparent attenuation. In your case I would try and find pilsner extract or use the lightest extract you can find - preferably DME - and use 20% sugar for around 1.075 - 1.080 beer. Don't give into the urge to add any crystal malts, they would be inappropriate. Pitch in the high 60s and warm into the low to mid 70s near the end of fermentation to insure attenuation.

For more info on this style (and others) check Stan Heironymous' great book "Brew Like A Monk".

Another point would be to add the simple sugar (I'm using cane sugar from the grocery store) into the fermenter after a few days, while the yeast is the strongest.  This should promote good attenuation.
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Offline uthristy

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 06:19:15 AM »

Another point would be to add the simple sugar (I'm using cane sugar from the grocery store) into the fermenter after a few days, while the yeast is the strongest.  This should promote good attenuation.

< EDIT  I just noticed he's using extract  :-[ )


I hate reading that, maybe when using extract but with all-grain theres no good reason to HAVE to add to fermentor. Add to boil at whatever time and with a proper yeast pitch there should be no problems getting the beer dry enough.


-- example --
WLP550 -wy3522 does these numbers everytime like clockwork. 1.5L >1.8L starter

Houblon clone
sg 1.078
fg1.006

Attenuation
91.84% ADF
76.05% RDF

84.3% Pilsner
15.7% Beet Sugar

Offline jeffy

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 06:54:29 AM »

Another point would be to add the simple sugar (I'm using cane sugar from the grocery store) into the fermenter after a few days, while the yeast is the strongest.  This should promote good attenuation.

< EDIT  I just noticed he's using extract  :-[ )


I hate reading that, maybe when using extract but with all-grain theres no good reason to HAVE to add to fermentor. Add to boil at whatever time and with a proper yeast pitch there should be no problems getting the beer dry enough.


-- example --
WLP550 -wy3522 does these numbers everytime like clockwork. 1.5L >1.8L starter

Houblon clone
sg 1.078
fg1.006

Attenuation
91.84% ADF
76.05% RDF

84.3% Pilsner
15.7% Beet Sugar

Agreed that the appropriate amount of Belgian yeast is always a great way to go, but I thought the later sugar addition was a pretty smart idea.  I got it from Timothy's Tripel recipe in Homebrewopedia.  My all pilsner malt triple was made to a gravity of 1.075 and then added sugar to reach 1.085 after four days of fermenting.  It shows 1.010 after another week.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline uintafly

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 07:26:42 AM »
Make sure you make a large starter, or pitch about three packs.

After spending a couple months on this site I think I was given bad advice from my lhbs. After my first batch I asked about doing starters and was told that today's yeast strains were so good that it was no longer necessary. He said the only people who use starters are old school brewers who have just always done it that way. After not being able to get any of my fg's below 1.018, I want to use starters from here on out, and it seems with this style it is even more important.

Thanks for the info guys.

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 07:46:54 AM »
Starters, or multiple packs.....yeast cell count is the bottom line.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 07:55:57 AM »
Ironically it's often pubs who are not in possession of the most up to date or accurate information. A smack pack/vial has enough cells to "properly" ferment about a 1.040 ale by industry standards. However, your attenuation woes are probably due more in part by the extract you are using. Try and find the lightest extract possible and mash or steep specialtygrains for color and flavor. Also consider subbing sugar in for some of your extract if the problem persists. Eventually you may want to move onto all grain to have more control over flavor, mouthfeel and attenuation. Not to mention saving money.
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Offline denny

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 08:42:16 AM »
Agreed that the appropriate amount of Belgian yeast is always a great way to go, but I thought the later sugar addition was a pretty smart idea.  I got it from Timothy's Tripel recipe in Homebrewopedia.  My all pilsner malt triple was made to a gravity of 1.075 and then added sugar to reach 1.085 after four days of fermenting.  It shows 1.010 after another week.

While it can't hurt, I certainly haven't found any benefit from adding the sugar to the fermenter rather than the kettle.  In beers even in the 1.085-90 range, as long as you're pitching an adequate amount of healthy yeast, the sugar works just fine (for me) in the kettle.  It also means there's one less thing to deal to deal with down the road.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 09:35:04 AM »
I've been brewing this recipe from BYO for a couple years now and it's one of my stand-bys: http://www.byo.com/stories/recipeindex/article/recipes/92-belgian-and-french-ale/1776-westmalle-tripel

I've not done a side by side comparison with Westmalle, but my kegs go quickly with this batch.

The recommendation to use the lightest possible extract is spot on and I would say for all beers, not just Belgians.  I typically do a partial mash and use Breiss extract and vary between Pilsen and Golden Promise depending on style and what is available when I'm buying.

I've also tried adding sugar to the fermenter and have not seen any appreciable difference in FG.  No harm in trying it though, as your experience may be different.
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Offline denny

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2011, 10:18:45 AM »
I came up with a recipe that's remarkably similar to Westmalle.  Although I'm nearly positive Westmalle doesn't FWH, doing it makes this beer nearly spot on for Westmalle.  For extract, just replace the pils malt with an equal number of gravity units of the lightest extract you can find.  My recipe is in the recipe wiki here...

http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Westcoastmalle
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Offline bearcat

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 11:15:25 AM »
I came up with a recipe that's remarkably similar to Westmalle.  Although I'm nearly positive Westmalle doesn't FWH, doing it makes this beer nearly spot on for Westmalle.  For extract, just replace the pils malt with an equal number of gravity units of the lightest extract you can find.  My recipe is in the recipe wiki here...

http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Westcoastmalle

Hey Denny,

What are your setting for promash - I am trying to match up your IBU's on the Tripel.   I am set at -30% mash hopping, -65% FWH, Rager,  and 2% increase for Plug and 9% increase for pellet.   Thanks.

Offline denny

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2011, 11:16:04 AM »
Pretty much the same as yours, but I use Tinseth.
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Offline bearcat

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Re: Belgian Tripel
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2011, 11:30:00 AM »
Pretty much the same as yours, but I use Tinseth.

Thanks --concenration factor must be off  to then.  I will play with the numbers.