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Old 03-28-2012, 03:40 AM   #1
BobbyB029
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Trying to figure out a good (first) Tripel recipe. Can you take a look and leave some feedback? I have questions at the end!! I appreciate the help...

10 Gal; All Grain

Grain Bill:
25 lbs pilsner
3 lbs munich
3 lbs clear belgian candy sugar
0.5 lbs crystal 40

Hops:
2 oz sterling (60 min)
1 oz ahtanum (15)
1 oz citra (10)
1 oz citra (5)

Yeast:
Wyeast 1388 (Belgian Strong Ale)
Substantial Yeast Starter w/ Pilsner DME
.75 gal, stepped up once, no stir plate

Misc:
5.2 PH Stablizer
2 Whirfloc tablets
Yeast Nutrient

Mash:
Protein Rest (20 min)
Sac Rest (75 min) @ 148-150 degrees
No mash out (already pushing the limits of the mash vessel)
Fly Sparge

Boil:
60 min
Chill down to 70

Fermentation and Packaging:
Split into 2 fermenters
Inject Oxygen for 60 seconds for each
Pitch equal amounts of yeast
Primary start temp @ 68 and max at 72-75 for 2 weeks
Secondary @ room temp for 4 weeks
Bottle all 10 gallons after secondary (no cold crash before)

My Questions:
1. Can I substitute table sugar for Belgian Candy Sugar?
2. This should be about 33 IBU, is that too bitter for this style?
3. I added Citra Hops because I like the citrus/melon flavor, will this throw off my Belgian Tripel style aim?
4. Estimated ABV (Beersmith) is 9.6%. I overshot because my efficiency is going to suffer because of the VERY hard (still filtered and tastes good) water. Will this hard water be detrimental to this recipe?
5. Should I inject more oxygen 24 hours after pitching since this is such a strong beer? (saw it on BrewingTV)
6. Is 75 degrees too warm of a max for a primary fermentation?
7. Is my primary and secondary timing too short? This will likely be the strongest beer I've made...

Sorry for so many questions. Love those strong belgian beers... I want to make this a good experience!

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Old 03-28-2012, 03:59 AM   #2
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1. Yes - I never use that overpriced candi BS
2. Yes
3. Depends, that's not a crazy amount of hops so the yeast and malt should shine through - it will be definitely more hop forward for the classic style though
4. Possibly, I would look into acidifying the mash to ensure proper PH. Subbing out some acid malt (depending on how hard to water is) with some of the pilsner. Or you can just acidify it with lactic/phosphoric acid.
5. I would not. Give it a healthy dose of oxygen at pitching and be SURE to pitch the proper amount and you should be golden! Adding oxygen late in the lag phase like that risks creating the harsh/hot alcohol flavors (a bad thing).
6. Not sure, I doubt 75 F is too warm but I would look into similar recipes using the same yeast and compare.
7. Primary is probably way too long. I fermented a triple bigger than yours in about 5 days (used WLP530 mind you). Most ales, even the ones with a high OG like that shouldn't take more than a week to ferment out completely (especially with that large amount of simple sugars). As for secondary, there is really no point in this beer unless you can lager it (store around 40 F for a month or two), if that's the case I would secondary it.

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Old 03-28-2012, 05:13 AM   #3
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My opinion:

Overall, what makes a great tripel is dryness. Nothing ruins a tripel for me more for me than a sweet finish.

There's a few things in the recipe that will be making your tripel sweeter:

1. only ~10% sugar. I'd go with 20% to be more in line with the Trappist beers of Belgium. Bringing the malt down and the sugar up will fix this real good.

2. 10% munich malt. That's a lot--maybe tone it down a bit? That'll give some sweetness and maltiness that may clash with the other elements in the beer.

3. Crystal malt: adds sweetness and body, both of those make a Tripel more cloying.

As for Citra hops-- for me those are great for American beers and maybe good in a saison; but unless you like beers like Raging Bitch from flying dog, you may want to reconsider. I find that the Belgian yeast phenols clash with american hops. A more noble hop; anything english or like saaz, hallertau, tradition, crystal, mt hood, sterling, willamette, etc etc... will be a safe bet.

On temperature: 75F may be on the low end for 1388. If possible, try and finish at 80F with that. That way you get the dry goodness.

Dryness gets you ready for the next sip. These beers are always sweet up front, but your palate needs to be cleansed after each sip, with carbonation and high attenuation.

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Old 03-28-2012, 05:59 AM   #4
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buy granulaed sugar and make belgian candi sugar with it. it's not hard and it will invert the sugar.

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Old 03-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyB029 View Post
My Questions:
1. Can I substitute table sugar for Belgian Candy Sugar?
Yes. IMHO there's no reason you shouldn't. Cheaper and does the exact same thing in this case.
2. This should be about 33 IBU, is that too bitter for this style?
It depends on your taste. Some may think it's too bitter, others not enough. 33 falls into the BJCP guidelines (max 40 IBUs) so you're good on that front.
3. I added Citra Hops because I like the citrus/melon flavor, will this throw off my Belgian Tripel style aim?
I agree with above, they may (and probably will) work good in a saison, but will probably be out of place in a Tripel. Hops really aren't a dominating part of a Tripel's flavor.
4. Estimated ABV (Beersmith) is 9.6%. I overshot because my efficiency is going to suffer because of the VERY hard (still filtered and tastes good) water. Will this hard water be detrimental to this recipe?
Hard water should be remedied with either dilution with distilled water, sauermalz in the mash, or some kind of acid in the mash water.
5. Should I inject more oxygen 24 hours after pitching since this is such a strong beer? (saw it on BrewingTV)
Probably not necessary if you pitch a large enough starter and aerate well enough when you pitch.
6. Is 75 degrees too warm of a max for a primary fermentation?
At the very beginning of fermentation, maybe. I've never used that yeast so I can't say for sure. Starting out in the mid-high 60's and then letting the temp rise gradually to mid 70's will help ensure the yeast aren't throwing a lot of fusels to begin with. Letting the temp rise will help them finish the beer out dry though.
7. Is my primary and secondary timing too short? This will likely be the strongest beer I've made...
I'd say maybe. I don't even think about checking my Belgians' gravity until about 5-6 weeks in primary. Then I rack them to secondary to age even longer. Patience is one of the greatest virtues you can have when brewing Belgians, even after bottling. If you've never had a properly aged Tripel, doing so will probably change your opinion on what's "too long." I brewed a Tripel at the beginning of the year, and it's still sitting in secondary.

Sorry for so many questions. Love those strong belgian beers... I want to make this a good experience!
As for your grain bill, Tripels need not be complicated. Just Pilsner malt and 15-20% simple sugars will make a great Tripel. Well, if you take care of the yeast of course. If you want to keep the Munich in there that's fine, but if it were me I'd drop it down to 2 lbs max.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:40 AM   #6
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Lots of good comments so far.

I like my Tripels simple, so I would not use the C40 and cut back the Munich. Get the sugar to about 20% of the fermentables to help dry it out. Instead of focusing on the IBU's look instead at the BU:GU ratio. about .38 is good for a tripel. Also I would not use the Citra hops. But it is your recipe so do what you think YOU will like.

The advice of pitching in the low 60's and then letting the temp rise works well. As fermentation slows then get the temps up to the high end for the yeast. As was posted above, let it sit in the primary for 5-6 weeks. Something I read in Brew Like a Monk has stuck with me. "Let the fermentation finish, perhaps at a higher temperature. It can take as long to get the last few points of attenuation as it did for the first 80%"

Also, don't be afraid to set some aside to age. It always amazes me just how much Belgian beers can change with age.

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Old 03-28-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
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Beergolf is right about the set aside to age.

I made a Tripel as a baby beer- I tasted the beer at the 5 month point after bulk aging and at 8 months. The 8 month old stuff was deceptive, people would have it and everyone swore it was 5-6%. It was 9.2% and really smooth. Just do yourself a favor- don't bottle it in quarts as you don't realize how quick you go through it!

Dan

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Old 03-28-2012, 12:10 PM   #8
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The warmer you will ferment it the more you will get of esters and phenols. Pitch the yeast at lower temperature (68 F) and let it rise as high as you want. I've found that 72 F gives a nice yeast profile, with not too much esters. In the end it all comes to personal preference. I wouldn't however aim for 80 F, at least if it would ferment in lower temperature.

If you really like the character of classic belgian trippels I would not add extra hops at the end. The yeast will have an amazing flavour, and you do not want to spoil that by hops. When I made my first trippel, I was quite skeptical about the small amount of hops that I used. In the end I was really happy about it, since the lack of hops allowed the yeast character to shine through.

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Old 03-30-2012, 01:39 AM   #9
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Wow thank you all very much! I'm so glad I asked for your feedback! Very professional and helpful. I'm taking out the citra and replacing with a noble hop variety (and aim for about 25 IBUs), increase my simple sugars to 20% (and decrease my malt bill to compensate), and eliminate the Munich malt. I can also certainly give it at least a month in the primary to let the yeast finish it's thing.

I can control my fermentation temp in the beginning with my keezer. When the primary fermentation slows I can switch the temp controller to control a small space heater or even a hair dryer inside the unplugged keezer to sustain a temp in the upper 70s to finish at a higher temp (I haven't done this before... good/safe idea?).

When it comes to aging after bottling. I have the room to keep it refrigerated but I heard that storing at room temp can accelerate the aging process. What would you guys recommend?

Thanks Again!

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